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Most Diverse Cities in America

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by on October 1, 2013

American history is a story of immigration and diversity.  As of June 2012, people of color constituted 36% of the workforce, and the Census has predicted that by 2050, there will be no racial or ethnic majority in the United States.  Our nation’s diversity is often a point of pride among residents, as well as an appealing aspect of the United States for newcomers and visitors. In honor of Diversity Day, NerdWallet took a closer look at which cities contribute the most diversity to this melting pot.

The overall scores were calculated by measuring how near the population was to an equal distribution of residents across the four most common ethnic groups: Hispanic/Latino, White (non-Hispanic), Black (non-Hispanic), and Asian/Pacific Islander (non-Hispanic).

Most Diverse Cities

1.    Vallejo, CA
2.    Jersey City, NJ
3.    Suisun City, CA
4.    Oakland, CA
5.    San Leandro, CA
6.    Germantown CDP, MD
7.    Lincolnia CDP, VA
8.    Atlantic City, NJ
9.    New York, NY
10.  Florin CDP, CA

 

Rank City/CDP Hispanic or Latino White (non-Hispanic) Black (non-Hispanic) Asian or Pacific Islander Overall diversity score
1 Vallejo, California 23.70% 24.10% 21.00% 24.50% 96.9
2 Jersey City, New Jersey 27.80% 21.60% 23.80% 23.80% 95.3
3 Suisun City, California 25.70% 26.60% 19.70% 20.20% 91.7
4 Oakland, California 24.90% 26.30% 27.00% 17.50% 91.4
5 San Leandro, California 29.90% 24.80% 12.50% 28.90% 84.6
6 Germantown, Maryland 19.50% 35.80% 21.40% 19.20% 84.2
7 Lincolnia, Virginia 28.00% 32.80% 22.90% 14.20% 84.2
8 Atlantic City, New Jersey 24.20% 20.80% 37.40% 15.20% 82.7
9 New York, New York 28.60% 33.30% 22.90% 12.70% 82.5
10 Florin, California 30.20% 20.80% 12.60% 30.20% 82
11 Springfield, Virginia 24.70% 37.40% 10.90% 25.10% 81.8
12 Sacramento, California 26.60% 34.90% 13.40% 19.70% 81.1
13 Eastvale, California 38.60% 24.20% 9.70% 25.30% 80
14 Fairfield, California 25.90% 36.10% 15.10% 16.80% 79.9
15 SeaTac, Washington 21.20% 39.00% 21.80% 11.60% 79.2
16 Richmond, California 38.70% 17.80% 25.40% 14.80% 79
17 Dale City, Virginia 24.70% 31.50% 30.60% 7.70% 78.8
18 Gaithersburg, Maryland 23.50% 40.40% 14.60% 17.40% 78.1
19 Aspen Hill, Maryland 20.90% 40.70% 24.20% 10.90% 77.9
20 Montgomery Village, Maryland 26.00% 39.20% 22.30% 9.70% 77.9

 

Least Diverse Cities

1.    Huntington Park, CA
2.    East Los Angeles, CA
3.    Lancaster, OH
4.    Rocky River, OH
5.    Forest Hills, MI
6.    Laredo, TX
7.    South Gate, CA
8.    Green, OH
9.    Mentor, OH
10. West Seneca, NY

Rank City/CDP Hispanic or Latino White (non-Hispanic) Black (non-Hispanic) Asian or Pacific Islander Overall diversity score
1 Huntington Park, California 97.90% 1.10% 0.10% 0.90% 2.8
2 East Los Angeles, California 97.70% 1.30% 0.30% 0.70% 3.1
3 Lancaster, Ohio 0.90% 96.30% 0.80% 0.80% 4.5
4 Rocky River, Ohio 0.40% 95.90% 0.90% 2.30% 5.3
5 Forest Hills, Michigan 1.00% 95.20% 0.50% 2.40% 6.1
6 Laredo, Texas 95.40% 3.60% 0.20% 0.70% 6.1
7 South Gate, California 95.10% 3.10% 0.40% 1.00% 6.4
8 Green, Ohio 0.70% 94.90% 0.90% 2.70% 6.5
9 Mentor, Ohio 1.70% 94.80% 1.90% 1.40% 6.9
10 West Seneca, New York 2.60% 94.40% 1.00% 0.60% 7
11 Hialeah, Florida 94.70% 4.40% 0.60% 0.30% 7.1
12 Parkersburg, West Virginia 1.20% 94.10% 1.90% 0.40% 7.1
13 Ashland, Ohio 1.50% 94.30% 1.60% 1.60% 7.3
14 Bethel Park, Pennsylvania 0.70% 94.30% 2.40% 1.70% 7.3
15 Bristol, Tennessee 1.40% 94.10% 3.10% 0.60% 7.6
16 Lewiston, Idaho 2.50% 93.80% 0.40% 1.50% 7.7
17 Brunswick, Ohio 3.20% 93.90% 1.20% 0.30% 7.7
18 Keene, New Hampshire 1.50% 94.00% 1.00% 2.60% 7.7
19 Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio 1.10% 93.90% 3.20% 0.70% 7.8
20 Winona, Minnesota 0.60% 93.80% 1.70% 2.60% 7.8

Over 1900 places were included in this analysis.  Data was obtained from the U.S. Census.

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  • Laura Monteros

    #1–East Los Angeles is not a city. It is a regional designation and comprises portions of several cities.

    #2–Using only these four macro-groups is misleading, because within each one is a great diversity of cultures and languages. For example, the Latino worship at my church is only about 70 strong, but there are people from 11 different countries, each with its own culture, who attend.

    #3–Equal distribution does not necessarily mean diversity. In Los Angeles County, mixed-race people are very common. If someone checks that she is white, black, and Asian, that would translate as three equally distributed groups. But it’s one person.

    • NWDivya

      Hi Laura,

      Thanks for your feedback. To address your comments:
      1. We included cities and Census-designated places (CDP’s) in our analysis, and East Los Angeles is a CDP.
      2. Although there is plenty of diversity within larger ethnic groups, it makes more sense to aggregate the data according to larger ethnic groups than to include every single country in the world. Even within countries, there is plenty of diversity–India has 22 official languages, for example.
      3. Residents generally check one race on the Census, the race they identify with the most strongly. The Census does not count individuals multiple times.

      Thanks,
      Divya

      • Laura Monteros

        Actually, mixed-race people strongly advocated to be allowed to check more than one designation on the census form. I believe the first time this was allowed was 2000. If you live in an area with hundreds of young people of mixed race, as I do, you understand that they do NOT want to choose one over the other.

  • Ogechi Ibeanusi

    Diversity by definition is equal distribution of races, classes, perspectives, etc.