The population of Northwest Arkansas was nearly 28% diverse in 2019 and is expected to become 31% diverse by 2024, according to a new report on the area’s diversity.
The Northwest Arkansas Council released Thursday (March 12) the report, Engage the Future: A Look at the Growing Diversity in Northwest Arkansas. It shows the diverse population growth over the past 10 years, provides comparative analysis with several peer regions and highlights the racial and ethnic diversity in area school districts. The findings were presented at an event with stakeholders from across the region.
Between 1990 and 2010, the racially and ethnically diverse populations in Northwest Arkansas rose from less than 5% to nearly 24%. The population diversity increased 4 percentage points over the past nine years. The Hispanic population is the fastest growing, accounting for nearly 17% of the population in 2019, and it is expected to grow to more than 18% by 2024.
Other highlights in the report include Northwest Arkansas schools have more than 90 countries represented and 87 languages spoken; two out of the area’s five largest school districts are majority students of color — Rogers and Springdale; Springdale is the most diverse city in Northwest Arkansas, at 51.6% diverse; Rogers has the second-largest diverse population in the area, at 42% diverse.
The population of Springdale comprises 38% Hispanic and 7% Pacific Islander. The school district in Springdale is 52% diverse, with 48% Hispanic and 13% Pacific Islander. In Rogers, students of color account for 56% of students, and 47% of those students are Hispanic.
The Northwest Arkansas Council, through its project EngageNWA, is working to promote an inclusive environment to bolster the economic and social impact of diversity in the region, according to a news release.
“The growth of diverse communities in Northwest Arkansas is great news for the region,” said Nelson Peacock, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council. “People of diverse backgrounds enrich communities with unique experiences and perspectives, and strengthen the talent pool of workforce available to our companies.”
EngageNWA works to bring together diverse audiences and perspectives to strengthen the economy and to see that Northwest Arkansas becomes an area with “engaged global talent,” the release shows.
“While the growth is encouraging, engaging this diversity across all levels, sectors and communities is how the region will secure its place as one of the nation’s best places to live and work,” said Margot Lemaster, executive director of EngageNWA.
Link here for a PDF of the report.
The population of Northwest Arkansas, or the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers metro, increased 2% to 549,128, between July 1, 2017, and July 1, 2018. The metro is the 27th fastest growing area in the United States and added 10,716 people, the 43rd most in the country. The area has grown to become the 102nd most populous metro area, from 104th in 2017.