Four Montgomery County cities — Silver Spring, Rockville, Germantown, and Gaithersburg — count among the top 10 most ethnically diverse in the nation, a new survey revealed.
With a population of nearly 262,000, Jersey City, N.J., topped the most ethnically diverse cities in America list.
With a population of about 68,000, Gaithersburg is second, and Germantown, with a population of nearly 91,000, is third.
Silver Spring and Rockville finished at fifth and seventh respectively, with New York City sandwiched between the two Maryland cities.
In light of discussions of racial and ethnic equality that have been prominent in the past year, personal-finance website WalletHub said it took a snapshot of America’s current cultural profile.
Researchers compared more than 500 of the largest U.S. cities across three key indicators of diversity — ethnicity and race, language, and birthplace.
The District ranked 102 overall. Its highest score was 31st in the category of birthplace diversity.
Parkersburg, W.Va., Hialeah, Fla., Clarksburg, W.Va., Barre, Vt., and Watertown, S.D., were the country’s five least ethnically diverse cities.
Jackson, Miss., has the highest concentration of African Americans (82 percent), while Green River, Wyo., has the lowest (0.01 percent).
Saco, Maine, has the highest white American concentration (95 percent), while Hialeah, Fla., had the lowest (2.68 percent).
Hialeah also has the highest concentration of Latinos (96 percent), while Greenville, Miss., has the lowest (0.58 percent).
“Diverse cities provide residents with a fuller array of Americana,” stated Rodney D. Coates, a WalletHub expert and professor of global and intercultural studies and the coordinator of Black world studies at Miami University in Ohio.
“It allows them to learn how to cope with and deal with the future when we as a Nation are more diverse. It helps us to realize that we are not a monolith but a mosaic,” Coates remarked.
He added that diversity and difference are hard because it requires everyone to learn to set aside prejudices and stereotypes.
Ethnic diversity is not typically just about culture. Still, other variables, particularly economics, are often made more complicated, stated Jennifer Hamer, a WalletHub expert, and professor in the Department of African American Studies at Pennsylvania State University.
“The challenges of living in an ethnically diverse city are not natural but socially constructed. Ethnic diversity does not mean that there is ethnic equity among the different demographic groups,” Hamer insisted.
When ethnic diversity is coupled with economic inequity, and this inequity tends to be structured along ethnic lines, groups may compete for resources rather than recognize their shared interests in cooperation and collaboration, Hamer added.
“Negative stereotypes — new or old — often guide interactions and can be used to justify how those of low income are treated by those of means or to justify policies that protect the space of middle and upper income from those of lesser means, et cetera,” she said.