Whites Are Underrepresented at Google

Whites Are Underrepresented at Google

Last week Google released some numbers on its employees' diversity, and there's been a lot of criticism. To hear the media tell it, the company's workforce is "predominantly white and male," "mostly white, mostly male," and "overwhelmingly white and male," raising questions about antidiscrimination law, racial gaps in the various qualifications, and so on.

The male skew is undeniable (about 70 percent of employees worldwide are male, and 83 percent of the tech employees are). But while most American Google employees are indeed white, there's no actual disproportion there, because so are most Americans in general. In fact, Google's American employees are a little less white than the general population.

Here's a pie chart Google provides about its U.S. employees:

Meanwhile, here's a chart I created using Census data for the U.S. population age 18-64 (roughly working age). All categories are limited to non-Hispanics except, obviously, "Hispanic" (people identify their race and their Hispanic origin separately):

(The numbers are almost exactly the same if you use the general population instead of the working-age population: 63 percent non-Hispanic white, 13 percent black, 17 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Asian.)

As you can see, whites are actually slightly underrepresented at Google, 61 percent vs. 63 percent. The real racial skew here is away from blacks and Hispanics and toward Asians. A randomly selected Google employee is five times as likely as a randomly selected American to be Asian -- but (as pointed out to me on Twitter last week) you don't really hear all that much about Asians in discussions of the new report.

An increasingly important caution for those analyzing racial statistics: The underrepresentation of a minority group doesn't imply the overrepresentation of whites.

Robert VerBruggen is editor of RealClearPolicy. Twitter:@RAVerBruggen

Show commentsHide Comments

Related Articles