We're No. 1

Houston crowned most diverse city in America by new report

The Bayou City has staked its claim as most diverse city in the nation. Photo by Tim Leviston/Getty Images

Last year, many locals cried foul when Houston was named the No. 2 most diverse city in the nation, behind — gasp! — Jersey City, New Jersey. But a new report confirms what we here already know: Houston is, indeed, the most diverse city in the country.

The new ranking comes courtesy of personal finance website WalletHub, which, in 2018, placed Houston in a dubious second place. "Yes, Jersey City may be listed as more ethnically diverse," Dr. Stephen Klineberg, noted local demographic expert, told CultureMap last year. "But it's much smaller." (Some consolation: Last year's WalletHub report found Houston was the most diverse big city in America.)

To crown the diversity champion, WalletHub compared 501 of the most populated cities in America across five key dimensions: socioeconomic diversity, cultural diversity, economic diversity, household diversity, and religious diversity. The report drills down into metrics such as industry diversity, income, age, religious affiliation, education, language, worker class, and marital status.

While not standing out in any one category, Houston toppled Jersey City by achieving an overall diversity score of 71.6; Jersey City scored a 71.52. Houston scored best in industry diversity (No. 16) and racial and ethnic diversity (No. 33), while scoring lowest in marital status diversity (No. 226).

Elsewhere in Texas, Dallas comes in at No. 5 overall, with an overall ranking of 71.12. Arlington follows at No. 9, with an overall ranking of 70.87. Fort Worth comes in at No. 25, with an overall score of 69.88. Further down the list is Austin at No. 42, with an overall score of 69.2. Plano comes in at No. 57, with an overall score of 68.55, while San Antonio follows at No. 62 with an overall score of 68.42.

The least diverse city in America? The scenery apparently doesn't change much in Provo, Utah, which comes in last on WalletHub's list.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.



2019's Most Diverse Cities in the U.S. www.youtube.com

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Building Houston

 
 

For over a year now, scientists have been testing wastewater for COVID-19. Now, the public can access that information. Photo via Getty Images

In 2020, a group of researchers began testing Houston's wastewater to collect data to help identify trends at the community level. Now, the team's work has been rounded up to use as an online resource.

The Houston Health Department and Rice University launched the dashboard on September 22. The information comes from samples collected from the city's 39 wastewater treatment plants and many HISD schools.

"This new dashboard is another tool Houstonians can use to gauge the situation and make informed decisions to protect their families," says Dr. Loren Hopkins, chief environmental science officer for the health department and professor in the practice of statistics at Rice University, in a news release. "A high level of virus in your neighborhood's wastewater means virus is spreading locally and you should be even more stringent about masking up when visiting public places."

The health department, Houston Water, Rice University, and Baylor College of Medicine originally collaborated on the wastewater testing. Baylor microbiologist Dr. Anthony Maresso, director of BCM TAILOR Labs, led a part of the research.

"This is not Houston's first infectious disease crisis," Maresso says in an earlier news release. "Wastewater sampling was pioneered by Joseph Melnick, the first chair of Baylor's Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, to get ahead of polio outbreaks in Houston in the 1960s. This work essentially ushered in the field of environmental virology, and it began here at Baylor. TAILOR Labs is just continuing that tradition by providing advanced science measures to support local public health intervention."

It's an affordable way to track the virus, says experts. People with COVID-19 shed viral particles in their feces, according to the release, and by testing the wastewater, the health department can measure important infection rate changes.

The dashboard, which is accessible online now, is color-coded by the level of viral load in wastewater samples, as well as labeled with any recent trend changes. Houstonians can find the interactive COVID-19 wastewater monitoring dashboard, vaccination sites, testing sites, and more information at houstonemergency.org/covid19.

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