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Concrete wall, one half mile long, Detroit, Michigan. This wall was erected in August 1941 to separate the Negro section from a new suburban housing development for whites. Photo: Library of Congress/U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information

When it comes to diversity of four types – among social class, ethno-racial, economic and household diversity – the least and second to least diverse cities in the nation are Livonia (ranked 312) and Detroit (rank 313).

Detroit and Metro Detroit has a very long history of racial segregation – first within city neighborhoods, and then among suburbs as the population sprawled far beyond the city borders. 

The survey was published by Wallethub, and here’s how they talked about their methodology:

In order to identify the most diverse cities in America, WalletHub’s analysts compared 313 of the most populated cities — limiting each state to no more than 10 cities each — across four key dimensions: 1) Social Class Diversity, 2) Ethno-Racial Diversity, 3) Economic Diversity and 4) Household Diversity. We conducted our analysis using the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index method, which is a commonly accepted measure of market concentration that also works effectively as a general-purpose measure of diversity (e.g., race/ethnicity, occupations, languages, nationalities).

Among the most diverse on Metro Detroit among the four categories was Troy, Michigan, ranking at 204 in their list but still not in the top half – in fact, Troy was the most diverse city in Michigan – mostly because of placing fourth in the nation for social class diversity (having high levels of educational attainment diversity as well as income diversity).

Detroit as a region hasn’t added a significant amount of population in the last 50 years compared to the rest of the country. Not only did the city of Detroit’s growth stop in the 1950s, but Metro Detroit also hasn’t grown in population as a region significantly (9%) since 1960 in comparison to the rest of the country that has grown nearly 59% in that time period. 

Some notable lowlights also included that both Flint and Detroit are in the bottom five for income diversity; Livonia is the third least diverse racially or ethnically city in the nation as well as third least diverse for region of birth (meaning very few immigrants).

The nine Michigan cities on the list were:

  • Troy (204)
  • Grand Rapids (256)
  • Dearborn (259)
  • Ann Arbor (264)
  • Sterling Heights (265)
  • Lansing (271)
  • Flint (275)
  • Livonia (312)
  • Detroit (313)

The most diverse cities in the nation included New York, NY; Germantown, MD; Silver Springs, MD; Oakland, CA; Jersey City, NJ and the most diverse rated was Gaithersburg, MD.