Ingham remains one of the most diverse counties in Michigan

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Over the course of 16 years, many things tend to change. Ingham County has felt some of those changes, but fortunately for the county, its strong diversity within the state has stayed consistent.

“The diversity is crazy, theres kids that are from India, China, Korea, Africa, Mexico, everywhere and that is one of the best parts … learning so much about different cultures,” said Nathan Bigham, an Ingham County resident who grew up in Lansing.

As of 2016, the census shows in Ingham County whites make up 76.4 percent of the population. In comparison to 2000, there is a 3.1 percent decrease in whites, a 1.3 percent increase in African Americans, a 3 percent increase in Asians, and a 1.9 percent increase in Hispanics or Latinos.

The number of minorities has been a part of what sets Ingham County apart from the other parts of the state. Based on the 2016 data, Ingham County ranks high in terms of minority percentages. There are only seven other counties with higher percentages of African-Americans. There are only two other larger Asian communities in other Michigan counties, and for Hispanics or Latinos, there are only six other counties with larger percentages.

In comparison to the state of Michigan as a whole, the county has only a slightly smaller percentage of whites and African Americans, and a slightly larger percentage of Asians and Hispanics or Latinos.

Bigham expressed that the rest of Michigan is not as diverse as Ingham County: “I’ve been to some parts of Michigan and I walk into a store and everyone stares at me.”

Veteran Affairs Director Natrenah Blackstock said that one of her favorite things about working in Ingham County is the diversity that comes with it.

The mid-Michigan county has events in places for the purpose of bringing people together and raise awareness throughout the community. On Feb. 22, Ingham County hosted their 19th annual cultural diversity luncheon, which is an event celebrating cultural traditions and values within the county.

For Bigham, a recent high school graduate of an Ingham County school system, he noted that some of the inner-city schools in Lansing aren’t that diverse, but when he switched over to East Lansing schools, that diversity was something he greatly appreciated.

“When I switched over to East Lansing, I could just tell there from the start, there’s kids there that grew up in the ‘hood, and then there’s kids whose parents are lawyers and doctors … combining both of them in the same environment at a young age so they don’t have stereotypical views on another person, it’s really cool,” Bigham said.

He noted that he is not the only one of his peers to have this experience in switching schools.

”People when they transfer to schools to East Lansing, Okemos, or other schools outside the city, the environment is ten times better,“ said Bigham.