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Local Diversity
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To provide context for the State of Equity report, we created a map of the racial and ethnic persity across the state so we could better understand how persity varies by geography within Oregon.

Dispersity Index

(Oregon's Map)

The persity Index* (DI) is used as a statistic measuring the probability that two randomly selected inpiduals from a given geography would be of different racial/ethnic backgrounds. If all people of a given area are of the same racial/ethnic background, the persity index is zero. Indices closer to 1 indicate a highly perse racial/ethnic geography. The DI for Oregon by census block is shown on this map. The index ranges from 0.03 to 0.75.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

As one can see in the map above, Oregon's persity is primarily located in the Portland Metropolitan Area: Washington and Multnomah Counties have the highest number of people of color, respectively. However, Morrow, Malheur, Jefferson, Hood River, and Umatilla Counties also show substantial persity despite their smaller populations. Klamath, Lincoln, Marion, Wasco, Polk, Yamhill, Douglas, and Clatsop Counties also have notable pockets of persity within their populations.

* Gibbs & Martin, 1962

Federal poverty level

The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is defined as the minimum amount of gross income that a family needs for basic necessities, such as food and shelter. The Department of Health and Human Services calculates FPL each year, which varies according to family size. For example, the FPL for a family of three (3) in 2010 was $17,374. Click here for a detailed table on poverty thresholds for 2010. Many public assistance programs in the United States use a percentage of FPL in their eligibility requirements.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Click here for more information on how the Census Bureau measures poverty.

County-level persity, population, and poverty

The following are maps of selected counties in Oregon. They display the persity of the county with their population density, and indicate areas where more than 25% of the population is at or below 100% FPL. persity refers to the persity index as defined in the map above. Detailed breakdowns of each racial/ethnic category are here. Below is the legend to clarify the map display:

Levels of persity (color)

Population Density (shading)

At or below 100% FPL



Diagonal lines






Trends over time

A New York Times interactive website shows changes in immigration patterns in the U.S. from 1880 to 2000. From 1880 to 1980, the majority of immigrants to Oregon came from Europe, particularly Western Europe. That pattern has been changing for the past few decades. Oregon has experienced an increase in the proportion of immigrants from Canada, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. For example:

  • In 2000, 28 of the 36 counties listed had their largest immigrant populations originating from Latin America. From 1970 to 2000, the majority of Malheur county's immigrants came from Latin America. This was also true for Jefferson, Marion, Hood River, Morrow, Gilliam and Umatilla Counties from 1980 to 2000.
  • In 1980, many counties showed large immigrant populations coming from Asia and the Middle East; the majority of immigrant populations for Lane, Benton and Multnomah counties came from this geographic area during this period.
  • Large Canadian immigrant populations are in several counties from 1980 to 2000.

To view a map of the immigration history of Oregon and throughout the United States, please visit the Immigration Explorer map created by the New York Times.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

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