As is often the case, this started with some work I was doing anyway regarding a question someone asked me about different states and public universities and how the composition of the student body mirrored or varied from the population in general. That will probably come about later, but for now, a look at just the population.
With a few exceptions, most of the enrollment at your institution is driven by geography; the majority of your enrollment will come from within 500 miles of your campus. (The exception might be states like Texas, where I once looked at data for a private university and told them that--from a geodemographic standpoint, their top three markets were Texas, Texas, and Texas.)
In addition, though, age is a confounding factor. In the US, as you look at older populations, you get more white people; as you look at younger populations, you see more diversity. Thus, it's not just the makeup of the state; it's the makeup of the people in the state who are mostly likely to go to college we might want to look at. So, here we go.
This is pretty easy: It starts with the makeup of the entire US population; the five bars on the left show breakouts by age. The sixth bar shows the overall composition of the selection you've made, and the seventh shows the entire US as a comparison. It does not change.
Choose a state, or choose a region to change the six bars on the left. Some suggestions to see how regions vary, and how they vary over time: West Virginia, California, Minnesota, and Florida.) Once I get a reasonable set of flagships and land grants in all the states, I may do some comparisons.
A note about the data: This is from the Census Bureau's table creator, using 2018 American Community Survey data. It' notoriously hard to use, and the data are extraordinarily hard to visualize given the formats of the output. But some spot checks suggest this is correct. The extraction process requires you to export Hispanic and non-Hispanic populations separately in order to keep your sanity. For the Hispanic populations, I rolled all the races into just the "Hispanic" category to follow the convention of higher education reporting. As we know, race and ethnicity in America are complicated; the link above can get you what you want. Have at it.
As always, let me know what you see here that looks interesting, compelling (or wrong).