We’ve all heard the “best mid-sized city in America” mantra so many times now that everyone is saying it in their sleep, right?
Put that aside for a moment and let’s brag about something Jersey City has already achieved: Of all the bazillion cities in the U.S., which one ranks among the top 10 most diverse? Yep, that’s right, Jersey City. Here’s the bigger surprise: Jersey City ranks second on the list, beating out places like Los Angeles and Houston – which didn’t make the top 10 at all – and next door neighbor New York City, which ranked ninth.
Vallejo, Calif., ranked first on the list.
This is according to the nonprofit consumer advocacy group NerdWallet, which looked at U.S. Census data to determine which cities had near equal distributions of white, black, Latino, and Asian populations, the four major races in the nation.
“Our methodology looked at how close a city was to having an even distribution across the four main races.” – Divya Raghavan
Of the top 10 most diverse cities, half of them are located in California and only two are in the South. Not a single city in the Midwest made the list.
The top 10 most diverse cities were: Vallejo, Calif.; Jersey City; Suisun City, Calif.; Oakland, Calif.; San Leandro, Calif.; Germantown, Md.; Lincolnia, Va.; Atlantic City; New York, and Florin, Calif.
“On a day-to-day, quality of life basis, diverse cities have more options like a greater variety of restaurants and cultural events,” said Raghavan. “So more diverse cities will have an Asian American parade and they’ll celebrate Juneteenth. You have more opportunities to learn about other people and other cultures than you would in less diverse cities.”
Anytime lists are drawn, questions come up regarding why certain entries made the list and others did not.
Where’s Atlanta, Ga.? Los Angeles? San Francisco?
“Remember, our methodology looked at how close a city was to having an even distribution across the four main races,” Raghavan said. “Some people were surprised by the list because they expected places like Hawaii to be on it. Just having a large nonwhite population was not enough to put you on the list.”
Another surprise was the list of the 10 least diverse cities. Interestingly that list included a number of cities that aren’t predominantly white, but are overwhelmingly Latino.
The least diverse cities included Huntington Park, Calif.; East Los Angeles, Calif.; Lancaster, Ohio; Rocky River, Ohilo; Forest Hills, Mich.; Laredo, Tex.; South Gate, Calif.; Green, Ohio; Mentor, Ohio, and West Seneca, N.Y.
Raghavan said migration patterns might be among the biggest reasons why these cities haven’t diversified their populations as successfully as some other places.
The NerdWallet website actually lists the top 20 most and least diverse cities in the country. To see the complete lists, visit NerdWallet.com.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at email@example.com.