Chris Rock once said, in his (in)famous "Niggas vs. Black People" routine, that all the black people in the United States of America live in about ten cities. "Ain't no black people in Minnesota! The only black people in Minnesota are Prince and Kirby Puckett!"

Anyway, as part of my personal political research, I've been looking at the most recent national census to come up with conclusions about how this country's population is distributed. One question that comes to mind is, "Where, exactly, are the whitest cities in America?" I'm not exactly looking for white enclaves, mind you, but entire metropolitan areas where the white population is overwhelmingly dominant.

The Office of Management and Budget, which keeps many statistics for the U.S. federal government, has defined 280 "metropolitan statistical areas" in the United States, each representing an urban area of at least 100,000 people and made up of at least one city with a minimum population of 50,000. MSA's are drawn along county lines to incorporate all the counties that make up the periphery of a given city. In the cases of the largest megalopoli (over 1m population), several MSA's can be combined to form a "consolidated metropolitan area."

First, we'll look at the CMSA's, to see which of the largest American cities are the whitest. Here are the numbers:

  1. Cincinnati, Ohio (85.3%, 1.98m)
  2. Boston, Massachusetts (85.1%, 5.81m)
  3. Portland, Oregon (84.3%, 2.27m)
  4. Denver, Colorado (80.6%, 2.58m)
  5. Seattle, Washington (79.3%, 3.55m)
  6. Cleveland, Ohio (79.0%, 2.95m)
  7. San Juan, Puerto Rico (78.2%, 2.45m)
  8. Milwaukee, Wisconsin (77.8%, 1.69m)
  9. Detroit, Michigan (73.1%, 5.46m)
  10. Miami, Florida (70.1%, 3.88m)
"Waitwaitwait," you're saying. "Miami? San Juan? White?" This brings up an important point in census data: Hispanics and Latinos are not considered to be a separate race, but rather an "origin," in effect a common subset of whites and blacks. Therefore, the definition of "white" is a fuzzy one by governmental standards. It is tempting to simply subtract the Hispanic figures from the white figures, but this only serves to make the data even more erroneous, since there's a Sammy Sosa for every Ricky Martin.

So let's go down the MSA's that are more than 95% white, noting their Hispanic and Latino populations alongside their white populations:

  1. Altoona, Pennsylvania (97.6%, 0.5%)
  2. Dubuque, Iowa (97.1%, 1.2%)
  3. Lewiston, Maine (96.8%, 1.0%)
    Scranton, Pennsylvania (96.8%, 1.2%)
  4. Portsmouth, New Hampshire (96.5%, 1.0%)
  5. Johnstown, Pennsylvania (96.3%, 0.8%)
  6. Glens Falls, New York (96.2%, 1.5%)
    Huntington, West Virginia (96.2%, 0.7%)
    Johnson City, Tennessee (96.2%, 0.9%)
  7. Eau Claire, Wisconsin (96.0%, 0.8%)
    St. Cloud, Minnesota (96.0%, 1.3%) (there ya go, Chris Rock)
  8. Portland, Maine (95.8%, 0.9%)
  9. Bangor, Maine (95.6%, 0.7%)
    Wheeling, West Virginia (95.6%, 0.5%)
  10. Bismarck, North Dakota (95.2%, 0.7%)
    Burlington, Vermont (95.2%, 1.0%)
A quick glance at these percentages will tell you that these are, by any definition, the whitest metropolitan areas in the United States. Most are fairly small: Scranton is the largest at 650,000, followed by Johnson City at 400,000. Lewiston, Bangor, and Dubuque are among the smallest MSA's in the country, with populations of less than 100,000.

Incidentally, there are only two MSA's in the country that are not majority white, and they happen to be big ones: Los Angeles, California and Honolulu, Hawaii.

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