Answer Man: Rochester’s grown more diverse but lags behind U.S. average

January 8, 2019

Editor’s note: This classic Answer Man column first ran March 1, 2014.

Dear Answer Man, I heard it said at a meeting this week that the black and Latino population of Rochester grew by 115 percent from 2000 to 2010, and the white population grew by 27 percent during that time. Is this accurate?

Very interesting question, but the numbers aren’t quite accurate. Here are the facts — please pay close attention, and I’ll add online links for more details.

In the 2010 census, Rochester’s population was 106,769, about 19 percent higher than 10 years earlier. That’s pretty dynamic growth.

In 2010, census respondents described as white were 81.9 percent of the city’s population, compared with 87.7 percent in 2000. That’s a decrease of 11.2 percent.

But the total number of whites in Rochester was 87,500 in 2010, compared with 78,600 in 2000 — about 11 percent growth.

About 6,700 respondents were described as black or African American, 6.2 percent of the population in 2010. That compares with 3,154 in 2000, when blacks or African Americans were 3.5 percent of the city’s population. That’s an increase of 112 percent.

About 5,500 respondents were described as Hispanic or Latino in 2010, 5.1 percent of the city’s total. That compares with 2.9 percent in 2000, which means a 109 percent increase.

About 7,246 respondents were described in 2010 as Asian, about 6.79 percent of the population. That compares with 4,869 in 2000, so the Asian population in Rochester grew by about 48.8 percent during that time.

How does this compare to the national numbers?

The national population grew by 9.6 percent from 2000 to 2010. Rochester grew at twice that rate.

About 63 percent of the U.S. population is white; even though Rochester has grown more ethnically diverse, it’s still a lot less diverse than the U.S. as a whole.

The Hispanic or Latino population grew by 43 percent during that time and now accounts for about 16 percent of the total population.

The black or African American population grew by 12 percent from 2000 to 2010 and is also about 12 percent of the U.S. total.

The Asian population grew by 43 percent from 2000 to 2010 and is about 3.6 percent of the U.S. total.

Dizzy from numbers? Me, too. Let’s move on to an easier topic.

Dear Answer Man, I was at Treasure Island casino this week and discovered they now have continuous shuffling “shoes” at some of the blackjack tables. This makes the odds even more in the house’s favor, correct?

I think this question is from my boss’ wife, by the way.

The short answer is no. If you’re a card shark and have the ability to count cards (keep track of all the cards that have been played and figure out what’s left), continuous shoes make your job that much tougher, though not impossible. For the rest of us, continuous shoes may, in fact, give the player a very, very, very slightly improved edge.

There’s another school of thought that says the continuous shuffling machines speed up the game, you can play more hands, and thus the average player will lose money faster. There’s definitely a house edge in most blackjack games, though that edge is generally less than many other games, such as Pai Gow, or slot machines.

And now, before I pack my tent and go winter camping near International Falls for the weekend, here’s the grand finale for today.

Highly esteemed Answer Man of all scientific knowledge, with all the water pipes freezing in many communities in southeast Minnesota, I’ve heard several people say that when it begins to warm or the ground near the surface begins to thaw, that the frost goes deeper into the ground. Is that true? What’s the scientific basis for this if it’s true? — The Drake

I’m never one to duck a question from the Drake, so here goes.

The warm weather doesn’t cause the frost to go deeper — there’s a momentum to frost that keeps it moving deeper until a genuine seasonal warming, known as spring, arrives. As I noted recently, a few days of mild weather won’t be enough to keep the frost from sinking farther and causing damage to water pipes. It’ll take a change in the seasons, and as we all know, that won’t happen until August.

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