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The Community Explorer: Using County-Level Data on US Diversity Effectively to Inform Policy

Diversity awareness is becoming an essential element of many policy efforts, from access to health care and financial inclusion to initiatives addressing systemic racism and inequities. Yet most of these discussions and initiatives overlook the complexity of diversity in the United States. Instead, they focus on a few essential dimensions, such as race and ethnicity, gender, and age.

With the Community Explorer, we synthesize the information related to the different dimensions of US diversity into a few communities. Using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey data, we apply machine-learning techniques to identify population-characteristic patterns across the 3,142 counties in the US. The county location is not part of the dimensions considered, which allows for identifying similarities across counties, regardless of their proximity. As a result, each community has a distinctive profile that combines demographic, economic, and many other determinants while not being geographically bounded.

Read one-pager about the Community Explorer.