As the culmination to our series on diversity studies, this final installment combines our previous reports on economic class diversity, ethno-racial and linguistic diversity, and diversified economies with household diversity to paint the clearest image of America’s cities today. Recognizing that economic opportunity follows diversity, where in the U.S. would you rather live? Better yet, where would your unique background be most valuable to society?
To help you answer those questions, WalletHub once again examined the demographic profiles of the 230 most populated U.S. cities. In order to construct our final rankings, we tallied each city’s scores in the four major diversity categories we analyzed in this series.
Los Angeles leads the way at #1 and Chicago is at #32 overall. For the record, Naperville ranks 125 in income diversity, 336 in educational diversity, 265 in racial & ethnic diversity, 170 in language diversity, 149 in region of birth, and 183 in industry diversity. Naperville is also listed as one of the five lowest in marital status diversity as well as in household type diversity.
The commentary on the rankings suggests that economic opportunity is linked to higher levels of diversity. This may be the case but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the economic opportunities are equitably spread across cities. Perhaps having opportunities nearby is better than no opportunities at all – though I’m reminded of some of the earliest American sociological neighborhood studies like The Gold Coast and the Slum that noted how closely the rich and poor could live near each other with no interaction. Even if Naperville is not diverse in many of these areas, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be wealthier or that it won’t be viewed as a desirable place to live (ask Money or other magazines). Indeed, some might see the lack of diversity as highly desirable for both defensible (wanting a higher quality of life – isn’t that what the suburbs are supposed to be about?) and indefensible (trying to avoid members of a different racial/ethnic groups or certain social classes).