Collegebound students who believe that studying with people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds is important will want to consider student body diversity when choosing a school. To identify colleges where students are most likely to encounter undergraduates from racial or ethnic groups different from their own, U.S. News factors in the total proportion of minority students—leaving out international students—and the overall mix of groups. The enrollment data are drawn from each institution's 2007-2008 student body as reported to U.S. News. The categories we use in our calculations are American Indians and Native Alaskans, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, African-Americans who are non-Hispanic, whites who are non-Hispanic, and Hispanics. Students who did not identify themselves as members of any demographic group were classified as whites who are non-Hispanic for the purpose of this calculation. Our formula produces a diversity index that ranges from 0 to 1. The closer a school's number is to 1, the more diverse is the student population.
This methodology was created by Philip Meyer and Shawn McIntosh and published in 1992 in the International Journal of Public Opinion Research.