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Policy: Technology

White people are underrepresented at Apple

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Timothy P. Carney,Apple,Technology,Race and Diversity,iPads

Apple released its diversity report today. Here are some headlines about it:

"Apple Diversity Stats: A Lot of White Men" (PC Mag)

"Apple's workforce is mostly white, Asian and male" (USA Today)

"Apple Is Mostly White and Male, According to Its First Diversity Report" (Time)

"Apple: mostly men, mostly white" (CNNMoney)

On the male thing, yeah, there seems to be something about the tech sector that leaves women underrepresented. Only 30 percent of Apple employees are women, compared to 47 percent of the U.S. workforce.

But when you tell me an American company is "mostly white," it reminds me of something else that is "mostly white" — the United States of America.

The U.S. is 62.6 percent white (non-Hispanic), according to the Census Bureau, and the U.S. workforce is about 66 percent non-Hispanic white, according to my rough math. White people make up 55 percent of Apple. This means Apple is significantly less white than the rest of the country.

Blacks and Hispanics are even more underrepresented at Apple than whites. Asians are overrepresented.

I'm not making any point about Apple or race here, really. I'm making a math point: If you're drawing from a very uneven sample, don't be surprised by uneven results.

Should reporters have looked at the 2012 election results and concluded that Romney's support was mostly in California, because he got more votes there than in any other state?

(Speaking of Romney, journalists having trouble with math is not rare, as witnessed by the weird phenomenon in 2012 GOP primary of Rick Santorum overperforming among women voters, and thus being pegged as having a "woman problem.")

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