NYC is now More Diverse Than LA
May 5, 2011 10:59 AM   Subscribe

New York City Wrests Title of "Most Diverse US City" from Los Angeles
posted by cell divide (56 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I <3 NY
posted by yeoz at 11:01 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


“Some of the residents here were so concerned about blacks moving in, they didn’t even notice the influx of Asians,” said Nick Venezia, 33, manager of Ben Bay Realty Co. in Brooklyn.

...
posted by mykescipark at 11:02 AM on May 5, 2011


I'm surprised Los Angeles ever had the title. New York is the entire world in five boroughs. LA is 1/2 Latino, 1/2 pan-Pacific melange.* Not that there's anything wrong with that.

*NB: gross oversimplification acknowledged
posted by norm at 11:04 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sheesh, we're diversifying our claim, is all.
posted by ShutterBun at 11:04 AM on May 5, 2011


What is considered "Los Angeles'? The San Gabriel Valley is home to a huge pan=Asian population, but probably isn't considered part of Los Angeles.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:07 AM on May 5, 2011


"Our mayor's city more diverse than your mayor's city, per the analysis done by mayor's newspaper staff" says mayor's newspaper.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:08 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


New York is the entire world in five boroughs.

Maybe figuratively because the entire world seems to me to be crammed into that little town in the the Thames valley. New York is still nothing like London.
posted by three blind mice at 11:14 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


And what other cities would contend for this title worldwide? London and Toronto, obviously, but what am I not thinking of?
posted by Navelgazer at 11:16 AM on May 5, 2011


There is some really sloppy writing/editing going on here. Apparently, new York has both 8 million and also 500,000 residents, and Dyker Heights has both 42,000 and 1,400 people.
posted by Jon_Evil at 11:20 AM on May 5, 2011


Dyker Heights exists in a quantum state.
posted by The Whelk at 11:22 AM on May 5, 2011


One of my favorite things about New York is that if you get off at every stop the on R train from one end to the other, you can eat a sandwich made from the cuisine of every single nation in the world.
posted by Jon_Evil at 11:22 AM on May 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Dyker Heights has both 42,000 and 1,400 people.

Some of them are just curious about the neighborhood.
posted by ShutterBun at 11:23 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Woooooo.

My sister lived in Dyker Heights for a while. It was a trip getting out there, but it was pretty chill. It felt like the suburbs, really. I forget the street, but a block or three away from her, there were three Italian delis, side-by-side, that served the most amazing sandwiches. I swore that episode of 30 Rock was referencing them.
posted by defenestration at 11:24 AM on May 5, 2011


London and Toronto, obviously, but what am I not thinking of?

London represent. Slowly it turns into Ankh-Morpork. I can only assume that Boris Johnson is one of the more inbred kings.

Aside from that, Lagos is surprisingly diverse on the African scale (and now also has quite a few Asians).
posted by jaduncan at 11:24 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Slowly it turns into Ankh-Morpork

"turns" ?
posted by The Whelk at 11:30 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


you can eat a sandwich made from the cuisine of every single nation in the world.

That's gotta be a big sandwich.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:30 AM on May 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


What is considered "Los Angeles'? The San Gabriel Valley is home to a huge pan=Asian population, but probably isn't considered part of Los Angeles.

Well, the metropolitan area of LA-Long Beach-Santa Ana includes the San Gabriel Valley, and in fact technically most if not all of LA County. Most Gabrielenos are loath to admit that they're part of LA in any way, but most Angelenos think that Pasadena is a quaint suburb that you can get to on the Gold Line.
posted by blucevalo at 11:31 AM on May 5, 2011


you can eat a sandwich made from the cuisine of every single nation in the world.

That's gotta be a big sandwich.



Paging Adam Richman, Brooklyn native.
posted by defenestration at 11:33 AM on May 5, 2011


Oh, you just moved in? Which area of finance do you work in?
posted by incessant at 11:36 AM on May 5, 2011


Yeah, I'm not sure I understand the rivalry between NYC and LA, but I'm happy that claims of diversity are considered positive things.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:36 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


We're just smack talking until we can team up and push Chicago into the mud and take its lunch money.
posted by The Whelk at 11:40 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


There are areas in Queens where, within a six-block radius, there are stores doing business in six different languages.
posted by Trurl at 11:40 AM on May 5, 2011


Sacramento is just biding its time until it can hit the 500,000 mark.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:47 AM on May 5, 2011


As even the numbers in that article prove, it's pretty silly to have a NY-LA diversity contest. Both are incredibly diverse, especially compared to the average American city.

(and note that the "diversity index" they talk about is really about non-segregation -- it measures the diversity per census track -- which is pretty neat, since a city with tons of different races completely isolated in their own neighborhoods isnt really diverse)
posted by wildcrdj at 11:47 AM on May 5, 2011


gross oversimplification acknowledged

Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia and a whole lot of Persians thank you.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:48 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh and some Russians in West Hollywood who you really really don't want to mess with.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:49 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


They make great jalapeno vodka tho.
posted by The Whelk at 11:52 AM on May 5, 2011


The official city of Los Angeles only includes the white area (ha!) shown on this map. The Los Angeles that exists in people's minds and in day to day reality extends through much of the areas south and east of the official city limits. This is why the city's population is only 3.5 million and the entire county's population is 9.5 million. I don't think that there is any doubt that if those surrounding areas are included, then that area would be considered the most diverse location on the planet. And that doesn't even count Orange County.
posted by euphorb at 11:53 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


a whole lot of Persians

Tehrangeles!
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:53 AM on May 5, 2011


I question their measurement of diversity in this day and age, and considering the fact that they should be able to cull much more specific data than generic "Asian" vs. generic "Hispanic."

Anybody that's lived close to a Russian community can attest that "Caucasian" is not necessarily just "Caucasian," and this is a legitimate element of diversity. For instance, Glendale is a city in LA County that is something like 65% white, but half of that is Armenian.

When it comes to Asians, how can you put Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Pakistani, and Sinhalese people all in the same general category? The category is so diverse in and of itself, it merits breaking down the category a little more.

I'm not trying to get in the middle of a debate as to whether LA or NYC is more diverse; even if you take into account my additional data, it probably doesn't weigh one way or the other. I just think that the current formula that weighs only race (with the exception of Hispanics, which is also counted separately) is borked.
posted by jabberjaw at 12:00 PM on May 5, 2011


Don't step, the Whelk. Chicago will cut you. Chicago-style*.

* celery salt and sport peppers
posted by jtron at 12:07 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


alternately, into squares rather than wedges
posted by jtron at 12:08 PM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe figuratively because the entire world seems to me to be crammed into that little town in the the Thames valley. New York is still nothing like London.

It may seem to be that way to you but the demographics don't really back you up. NYC is definitely more diverse than London. Hell, even on a gross level without getting into the nitty gritty London is 70% white while NYC is only 35% white. They don't even compare.
posted by Justinian at 12:08 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


My favorite Los Angeles diversity story is from my time living in Koreatown (an area that holds onto that name more out of habit than anything else at this point). I entered a local boba shop to get a drink.

The owner was Korean, and spoke no Spanish. The staff were all Mexican, and spoke no Korean. Neither party, as near as I could determine, spoke any English, which is the only language that I can speak with any degree of skill.

There was this kid, probably around 13 or 14 years old, hanging out in the storefront. I don't think he worked there; I suspect that he was the owner's child or nephew or something. He oversaw the entire transaction, letting the staff know what I wanted and letting me know how much to pay, all while keeping the owner out of everyone's way. He spoke all three languages with enough fluency to keep everything moving smoothly.

That kid is the future.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 12:09 PM on May 5, 2011 [20 favorites]


And what other cities would contend for this title worldwide? London and Toronto, obviously, but what am I not thinking of?

Toronto is possibly the most diverse city in the world; London probably makes the top 10 but it isn't comparable to NYC.
posted by Justinian at 12:11 PM on May 5, 2011


NYC, now with seals.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:15 PM on May 5, 2011


I <3 NYC, and it is definitely the most diverse US city I've experienced (and I've experienced a lot, for a foreigner). But it's still more ghettoised than London. So there. That said, I like living in NYC better than I like living in London. Oh hell, I love 'em both. Greatest cities in the world. Probably.

Shit, I'm drunk. This is what happens when you have nine days off the booze. You get drunk on a mere bottle-and-a-half of wine. Weak.

The moral is, don't have nine days off the booze. I'm going to NYC next Wednesday. For three whole weeks! Is there a MeFi meet-up during that period? My God... there is!
posted by Decani at 12:21 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just got back from Kuala Lumpur and was amazed at the racial diversity there. It's got to factor into the top ten I'd wager.
posted by Keith Talent at 12:34 PM on May 5, 2011


The NY stats aren't really that impressive given the small sample size, and needs a breakdown of the monolithic "asian" entry. There are much more diverse areas in Northern California.

For example, Milpitas’ population is 60.3% Asian, an increase from 51.8% in the 2000 Census. Milpitas has a very diverse Asian population (Filipinos, 30.6% of all Asians; Chinese, 22.9%; Vietnamese, 20.7%; Indian, 18.4%). That's in a population of 70,817 people; Caucasians were 14%; Hispanic 27% and African-American were 13%. I guess the percentages don't add up because Hispanic can also be part of white or black.
posted by aninom at 1:12 PM on May 5, 2011


Maybe figuratively because the entire world seems to me to be crammed into that little town in the the Thames valley. New York is still nothing like London.

It may seem to be that way to you but the demographics don't really back you up. NYC is definitely more diverse than London. Hell, even on a gross level without getting into the nitty gritty London is 70% white while NYC is only 35% white. They don't even compare.
posted by Justinian at 3:08 PM on May 5 [+] [!]


Non-white=! diverse. Tokyo is by far a majority-non-white, but no one is looking to it as a bastion of diversity. (Though I'm sure it is, by Japanese standards).

I have lived in what some have called a "diverse" American city - there were three main cultures: Italian-American, African-American, and Mexican/Central-American. The majority of people in the city were non-white, but it was not a culturally diverse place.

Cultural diversity is about diversity by language, cuisine, life-outlook - you know, culture. Because race can (sometimes) be a proxy for region, it's part of diversity: a city with a large number of people from Africa, Asia and Europe will be more diverse than a city just from a large number of people from Europe (though they may speak different languages). But a city with large number of people from just one or two ethnic groups, even if they are non-white, is not a diverse place.

London and NYC are both very diverse places and both have large numbers of immigrants from all over the world. That said, NYC has many fewer foreign born people than Toronto, so if "American" is a culture (and I think it is), NYC is more dominated by that culture (with its people of all colours) than Toronto is by Canadian culture. Don't know what the foreign-born rate is for London.
posted by jb at 1:38 PM on May 5, 2011


When I say that the American city I lived in was not culturally diverse, I'm not trying to be insulting. Just pointing out that there were only two-three languages spoken locally (English, Spanish and (maybe) some Italian), you could only get ingrediants for Italian, Mexican or Southern/American cooking in most stores; there were East Asian ingrediants in 2 specialty shops, but no South Asian spices to be had anywhere in city limits, and no African ingredients either.
posted by jb at 1:44 PM on May 5, 2011


Non-white=! diverse.

Did I say otherwise? But if only 30% of your city is non-white, it's hard to argue for being the most diverse city in the world. Having a lot of different racial and ethnic groups which make up a large fraction of your population is kind of the definition of diverse.

jb: Like I said earlier in the thread, I think Toronto has a good case as the most diverse city in the world.


The NY stats aren't really that impressive given the small sample size


Sample size: the hogoblin of people who aren't huge on statistics!
posted by Justinian at 1:44 PM on May 5, 2011


It depends what you mean by "diverse."

% of foreign-born seems to be the criterion here that puts Toronto at #1. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Toronto.

# of nationalities represented IIRC also puts Toronto at #1, but I can't find a cite.

OTOH, if you mean "smallest racial majority," Toronto's 53.1% "Not a visible minority (including Aboriginal peoples)" would definitely put it behind places like New York and Kuala Lumpur (and maybe LA but I haven't been there) that aren't dominated by any one race, numerically.

on preview, I've probably repeated what others have just said.
posted by skwt at 1:49 PM on May 5, 2011


That said, NYC has many fewer foreign born people than Toronto, so if "American" is a culture (and I think it is), NYC is more dominated by that culture

By that definition a city can only be "Diverse" for one generation. It doesn't really make much sense.
posted by delmoi at 1:50 PM on May 5, 2011


(well, either one generation of generations of massive growth from foreign countries)
posted by delmoi at 1:50 PM on May 5, 2011


A more interesting question than "which is more diverse?" is "which is less segregated?"

It's entirely beside the point to be in a diverse city, if you only see Asians in one neighborhood, only blacks in another, only whites in another, and only Hispanics in another.

(Even further beside the point -- this only includes racial diversity, although, class- and wealth-diversity is just as if not more important.)

I know demographers do have a statistic for measuring the segregation of a city. Anyone know which city is more or less segregated?
posted by lewedswiver at 1:51 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


By that definition a city can only be "Diverse" for one generation. It doesn't really make much sense.

There's no reason this couldn't be the case if your definition of diversity hinged on culture and not race.
posted by skwt at 1:52 PM on May 5, 2011


A more interesting question than "which is more diverse?" is "which is less segregated?"

Look in the article. "The diversity gauge illustrates the extent to which neighborhoods are integrated by race and ethnicity, as opposed to being concentrated in pockets across a city"

Specifically it's measure the diversity of census tracts, which are about 4000 people each. So it's saying LA and NYC have a very diverse set of tracts (and obviously both cities would be made up of many, many, many such tracts).
posted by wildcrdj at 1:54 PM on May 5, 2011


I've heard people claim that Oakland is the most diverse US city. This seems believable.

I kind of want to check their calculations but it's not clear to me how they did them.
posted by madcaptenor at 2:05 PM on May 5, 2011


A more interesting question than "which is more diverse?" is "which is less segregated?"

Yes. This was my first thought. I've lived in two midwestern cities and currently live in the South, and I've never lived in a more segregated place than Los Angeles. I've only been to New York a few times, but it has much more of a "melting pot" feel; LA neighborhoods are extremely ethnically distinct. I didn't really even notice this until moving to North Carolina, where everybody lives all mixed up together. I like it much better here.
posted by something something at 2:08 PM on May 5, 2011


The diversity gauge illustrates the extent to which neighborhoods are integrated by race and ethnicity, as opposed to being concentrated in pockets across a city.

For what it's worth, Salon recently had an article listing the ten most segregated cities. I'm not sure, wildcrdj, how the "diversity gauge" from this article works, but the "dissimilarity index" Salon used is described as follows:

"It reflects the number of people from one race -- in this case black or white -- who would have to move for races to be evenly distributed across a certain area. A score of 1 indicates perfect integration while 100 signals complete segregation."

With that measurement, Greater New York is the second most segregated city in America (after Milwaukee); Greater LA is the 7th most segregated city. (Original data here, .xls)
posted by lewedswiver at 2:42 PM on May 5, 2011


and most of that diversity is in Queens and the Bronx. Manhattan is an offshore upscale boutique and Brooklyn is rapidly becoming a summer art camp.
posted by jonmc at 5:10 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia and a whole lot of Persians thank you.

It was my memory that most of the Armenians live in or around Glendale. Are we counting the whole metro area?
posted by norm at 7:04 AM on May 6, 2011


Well my little town has 6 billion residents and they come from every nation on Earth!

Actually, when I say "come from" I mean "live in", and by "my little town" I mean planet Earth.
posted by kcds at 7:22 AM on May 6, 2011


It now has 1,042 whites, 83 Asians, five blacks and three multiracials

Wow....5 blacks!!!!!!
posted by The1andonly at 8:03 AM on May 6, 2011


Ah, I see that by moving back I pushed it over the top.
posted by Eideteker at 9:42 AM on May 6, 2011


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