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The Melting Pot

Fri Dec 11 2009
Robert Groves
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One of the interesting phenomena in several of our big cities is the dynamic nature of the ethnic composition of neighborhoods. In Philadelphia and New York, I recently visited areas that were Italian last decade and are now Hispanic; Hispanic last decade, and Russian now.

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We are both a diverse society and a changing one.

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The Census Bureau has good data on languages used in neighborhoods in the year 2000, and we used that data to target special non-English assistance (through translated forms and assistance guides – 59 different languages). But a real challenge is getting the language assignment correct for neighborhoods undergoing change.

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The most interesting examples are urban blocks in transition, where one house may be occupied by East European immigrants and the next by Hispanic immigrants.

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It is truly amazing and never fails to remind me that we are a nation of immigrants.

Director Robert Groves

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