We're No. 1

Houston again anointed the most diverse city in the U.S. by new report

Houston is once again the most diverse city in America, says a new report. Photo by Zview/Getty Images

Diversity is currently at the forefront of the U.S. conversation, as anti-Asian hate crimes have spiked nearly 150 percent in 2021 and the Derek Chauvin trial currently broils in Minneapolis.

But now, a new study sheds some good news on the Bayou City, as Houston has once again claimed its title as the most diverse city in America. Finance website WalletHub released its report on 2021's Most Diverse Cities in America, and Houston tops out not only as the most diverse city, but also as the most diverse big city in the U.S.

To crown the diversity champion, WalletHub compared the profiles of more than 500 of the largest cities across five major diversity categories: socioeconomic, cultural, economic, household, and religious.

The annual report drills down into metrics and creates a point system on items such as industry diversity, income, age, religious affiliation, education, language, worker class, and marital status.

Towards that end, here's a breakdown of Houston's rankings (with 1 equaling most diverse and 250 equaling "average"):

  • 49th – educational-attainment diversity
  • 40th – racial and ethnic diversity
  • 26th – linguistic diversity
  • 246th – birthplace diversity
  • 15th – industry diversity
  • 173rd – occupational diversity
  • 228th – marital-status diversity

While not standing out in any one particular measurable, Houston narrowly edged out Jersey City, New Jersey with an overall diversity score of 71.87; Jersey City scored a 71.7. The next major city behind Houston is New York City at No. 3 (71.59).

Dallas follows closely behind at No. 4 overall and a ranking of 71.52. Dallas scored best in religious diversity (43rd overall) and cultural diversity (43rd overall), followed by socioeconomic diversity (68th), household diversity (159), and economic diversity (190).

Elsewhere in Texas, Arlington follows at No. 8 overall and a score of 71.19. The city scored best in cultural diversity (38) and religious diversity (90), followed by socioeconomic diversity (111), economic diversity (117), and household diversity (237).

Fort Worth comes in at No. 25 and a score of 70.12. It scored best in cultural diversity (60), followed by socioeconomic diversity (95), economic diversity (119), religious diversity (161), and household diversity (245).

Meanwhile, Austin ranked 38th overall with a score of 69.67. The Capital City scored an impressive No. 3 overall in socioeconomic diversity, followed by cultural diversity (74), household diversity (192), economic diversity (205), and religious diversity (253).

Further down the list is San Antonio at No. 66 overall and a 68.6 score. San Antonio scored best in household diversity (92), followed by religious diversity (102), cultural diversity (137), economic diversity (143), and socioeconomic diversity (205).

Houston's top ranking should come to no surprise to locals. The city topped WalletHub's diversity ranking in 2019.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

This UH engineer is hoping to make his mark on cancer detection. Photo via UH.edu

Early stage cancer is hard to detect, mostly because traditional diagnostic imaging cannot detect tumors smaller than a certain size. One Houston innovator is looking to change that.

Wei-Chuan Shih, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering, recently published his findings in IEEE Sensors journal. According to a news release from UH, the cells around cancer tumors are small — ~30-150nm in diameter — and complex, and the precise detection of these exosome-carried biomarkers with molecular specificity has been elusive, until now.

"This work demonstrates, for the first time, that the strong synergy of arrayed radiative coupling and substrate undercut can enable high-performance biosensing in the visible light spectrum where high-quality, low-cost silicon detectors are readily available for point-of-care application," says Shih in the release. "The result is a remarkable sensitivity improvement, with a refractive index sensitivity increase from 207 nm/RIU to 578 nm/RIU."

Wei-Chuan Shih is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering. Photo via UH.edu

What Shih has done is essentially restored the electric field around nanodisks, providing accessibility to an otherwise buried enhanced electric field. Nanodisks are antibody-functionalized artificial nanostructures which help capture exosomes with molecular specificity.

"We report radiatively coupled arrayed gold nanodisks on invisible substrate (AGNIS) as a label-free (no need for fluorescent labels), cost-effective, and high-performance platform for molecularly specific exosome biosensing. The AGNIS substrate has been fabricated by wafer-scale nanosphere lithography without the need for costly lithography," says Shih in the release.

This process speeds up screening of the surface proteins of exosomes for diagnostics and biomarker discovery. Current exosome profiling — which relies primarily on DNA sequencing technology, fluorescent techniques such as flow cytometry, or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) — is labor-intensive and costly. Shih's goal is to amplify the signal by developing the label-free technique, lowering the cost and making diagnosis easier and equitable.

"By decorating the gold nanodisks surface with different antibodies (e.g., CD9, CD63, and CD81), label-free exosome profiling has shown increased expression of all three surface proteins in cancer-derived exosomes," said Shih. "The sensitivity for detecting exosomes is within 112-600 (exosomes/μL), which would be sufficient in many clinical applications."

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