It's generally thought that a diverse student body enhances the education of every pupil, and U.S. News provides a way to find schools that are most ethnically mixed. A diverse campus means that you have a high probability of meeting, going to classes, participating in activities, and living with students from a different racial or ethnic background from your own. A school is truly diverse if there are many different ethnic groups enrolled on campus and those groups have close to the same percentage of students enrolled. So, if a school has one ethnic group that makes up a large percentage of its student body, it's not very diverse, even though there may be other ethnic groups on campus.
Our formula produces a diversity index that ranges from 0.0 (entire enrollment is of one racial/ethnic group) to 1.0 (school's enrollment is equally distributed over all racial/ethnic groups). The closer a school's number is to 1.0, the highest possible value, the more diverse is the student population. Using this approach, U.S. News found that the most diverse school in the country is Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey-Newark with a diversity index of 0.73. That means that nearly 3 out of every 4 people you run into there will be from a different ethnic group. Many schools have diversity indexes of around 0.10, which means that 9 out of 10 people you meet will be from the same race. How does U.S. News figure something like this out?
To identify colleges where students are most likely to meet people from different backgrounds, U.S. News factors in the total proportion of minority students—leaving out international students—and the overall mix of groups. The data are drawn from each institution's 2006-2007 student body. 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 do not identify themselves as members of any demographic group are classified as whites who are non-Hispanic.
U.S. News has published the lists of which schools are the most and least ethnically diverse, and that information is all on the free section of our website. You can go to these links to see the schools.