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Houston Is the Nation’s Most Diverse City: Report

A report from WalletHub ranked the diversity of 501 cities using 13 different metrics. Houston, Texas, was the most diverse while Provo, Utah, was the least.

Silhouette profile group of men and women of diverse culture.
America has been struggling with racial justice for the last year. The country has had to confront the police killing of George Floyd and other Black Americans, the migrant families that have been stalled and separated at the nation’s Southern border and the sharp increase in anti-Asian hate crimes.

These struggles have put a spotlight on the importance of diversity, which encourages cities to interact with different perspectives, skills and technologies that often result in stronger economies, something that can be especially significant as cities emerge from pandemic closures.

A new report from WalletHub ranked 501 of the most and least diverse cities, based on their cultural, economic, household, religious and socioeconomic diversities. The report used data from the U.S. Census Bureau and ARDA to evaluate the cities on 13 total metrics. The metrics included a broad range of diversity factors: household-income, education-attainment, race and ethnicity, language, birthplace, work industry, occupation, worker-class, marital status, age, household type, household size and religion. They were graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 being the most-diverse. The report also classified the cities into three population categories and limited each state to no more than ten cities.

The report found that overall, the most diverse city was Houston, Texas, with a total score of 71.8; the least diverse was Provo, Utah, with only 55.38 points. The top ten most diverse cities overall were all located in just six states: Texas, New Jersey, New York, California, Maryland or Illinois. The 20 least diverse cities were located in seven states: Utah, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Idaho, Montana and West Virginia.

The cities were also ranked based upon three population categories: large cities had more than 300,000 residents, midsize cities had 100,000 to 300,000 residents, while small cities had populations with fewer than 100,000 residents. More than half of the 501 cities ranked fell into the small city category, while 144 were midsize and just 63 were large.

Houston topped the list for large cities, while Jersey City, N.J. was the most diverse midsize city and Gaithersburg, Md., was the most diverse of the small cities. Both Jersey City and Gaithersburg also ranked in the top 10 most diverse overall. While the least diverse cities for midsize and small cities, Provo, Utah and Brattleboro, Vt., also ranked within the ten least diverse overall, Detroit, Mich., ranked lowest of all large cities but placed at 444 overall.

Many of the most diverse cities were located near the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, where there is a higher density of people and job opportunities. While cities tend to be more Democratic, the diversity of cities is not clearly tied to a state’s political leaning.


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Zoe is the web producer and a writer for Governing.
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