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Probably the biggest things we've done to broaden the applicant pool are Hacker News, Startup School, and all the essays I've written about startups.

I don't think there's anything about our process or reputation that directly discourages people of any gender or race. But we do prefer founders who are hackers, which presumably thus causes fewer members of groups that are underrepresented among hackers to apply to YC.

It's definitely a complicated issue with no clear overriding cause. As a minority who did take apart his mothers computer at 13 and compressed the windows partition to install linux (woo hoo slackware) and has gone on to found a startup I think some of Paul's commentary is spot on. Though I was representative of some of the larger stats (single parent home, lower middle income specturm) I was also one of two kids on my block with access to a computer in the home, and my single parent was a teacher who made education a priority. If you looked at the cohort of kids I grew up with you'd find myself and 2 others out of 11 or so that are not either a. dead or b. in jail, or have been in jail. Why is that? I don't know and don't claim to know, but the road to changing it starts very young.

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