Census data reveals Middlesex County as New Jersey's most diverse

New data from the 2020 U.S. census reveals New Jersey has a new county that is considered the most diverse -- and it might not be one you expect.

News 12 Staff

Aug 27, 2021, 11:33 PM

Updated 968 days ago

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New data from the 2020 U.S. census reveals New Jersey has a new county that is considered the most diverse -- and it might not be one you expect.
When you think of the most racially and ethnically diverse counties in New Jersey, you probably think of the state's more urban counties like Hudson, Essex or Union.
Ten years ago, those were the top three, but now it's Middlesex County.
Data from the 2020 U.S. census released earlier this month show Middlesex has leapfrogged the previous top three because of something called the diversity index.
The diversity index gives the mathematical probability that two randomly selected people will be of different backgrounds. In Middlesex that's 72.2%, just barely edging out Essex by a tenth of a percentage point.
It's an indicator of how diverse many of New Jersey and America's suburbs have become in the past two decades.
News 12 New Jersey's Brian Donohue decided to put it to a rigorous test at what has been historically one of the least diverse places in America: the golf course.
He showed up at Raritan Landing golf course in Piscataway and just waited for the first three parties to come off the course.
During his day at the golf course, Donohue encountered Junji Ikishima and Shingi Yanagihara, two golf players of Asian descent who traveled from Bergen County to play 18 holes.
As they headed off to the back nine, Donohue met Spencer Holder, originally from Jamaica, who has lived in Piscataway for 14 years.
"My wife and I had thought about moving to other states because we retired, maybe to warmer places, but it was so difficult to find other locations in other states that had the level of diversity that we wanted. So, we decided to hold on and stay in Piscataway," Holder said.
Donohue then met two golf newbies from Sayreville, Dan and Eileen Teele who share ancestry from France, Germany and Ireland.
Dan Teele talked about his immigrant grandparents who came over from France and arrived at Ellis Island.
The census shows Middlesex County is 60% white, 25% Asian; 22% Latino and 12% Black, which adds up to more than 100% because some people check multiple categories.


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