We’re beholden to many false truisms. One is that our coasts are diverse places representative of the great mosaic of our country, while Middle America is boring and homogeneous. Not exactly. Echelon Insights crunched census data to come up with the twenty-five counties in the United States in which the mix of residents most precisely mirrors the country as a whole: race, political allegiance, income, educational level, religious affiliation, and age distribution. With the exception of two counties in Florida and one in Virginia that is home to an enormous naval base, they’re not ocean facing. Most are near mid-sized American cities, many in the Midwest. Douglas County, Nebraska, made the list. It’s where Omaha is located. I lived there for twenty years. One of the irritating features of fancy-pants places like New York is the ignorant assumption that people from Omaha live in an insular, white-bread bubble. The opposite is the case. New York County (the island of Manhattan) ranks among the least typical places in the United States. In truth, an Omaha resident has immediate, everyday experience with the actual diversity of the United States, not the paradoxical hyper-diverse homogeneity of places like New York.
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