What is the most multicultural city in the world?

by on February 15, 2017 at 2:41 am in Travel, Uncategorized | Permalink

Max Méndez Beck phrased it this way:

what do you think is the most multicultural (minimal segregation while having great ethnic diversity) city in the world?

Toronto springs to mind as a candidate, but it is increasingly expensive and perhaps more ethnically segregated than it used to be or at least more segregated by income and class.  Montreal is gaining on it by this metric.  Sydney is likely in the top ten, but too many parts are posh to be #1.  Sao Paulo has so many ethnicities, but when you get right down to it they are all Brazilians.  Don’t laugh, but Geneva might be in the running, both because of immigrants crowded near the center and the city’s international organizations.  But perhaps I will settle on Brooklyn, which if it were its own city would be the fourth largest in the United States.  (I love Queens, but have a harder time calling it a city.)  Brooklyn has recent arrivals from almost the entire world, and even the very nicest of neighborhoods are usually not so far from the poorer areas.  Still, if you refuse to count Brooklyn, it is striking that Montreal has a real chance of topping this list: wealthy enough to bring in foreigners, not so wealthy as to price them away.

1 Andre February 15, 2017 at 2:46 am

How I miss Montreal, its been a long time but I still don’t think I’ve had a better steak than Queue de Cheval. And the ladies, my god.

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2 danno755 February 15, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Best steak I ever had was in Santiago Chile.

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3 Andre February 15, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Strange, that’s where I had the best cock!

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4 Johnson February 15, 2017 at 3:07 am

Its often overlooked, as it is a mid size city even though it is bigger in population than Atlanta, Miami, Oakland and New Orleans. In addition to being Los angeles little brother. But I think Long Beach, CA is way up there as far as diversity at least when compared to US cities. It has all the ethnic diversity of Los Angeles but in a smaller area.

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5 Chinaman February 15, 2017 at 6:33 am

Yes. It has to be a “city” in the LA area, or perhaps Singapore.

God bless America our home sweet home and let’s keep Islam out so we can stay diverse and fun.

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6 anon February 15, 2017 at 10:58 am

One of the Los Angeles network news shows recommended a Syrian restaurant over the weekend. Quislings.

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7 anon February 15, 2017 at 10:51 am

Los Angeles and Orange County, as a region, seems to have everything. But sometimes people do tell me that the community I want to visit is “too far.”

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8 Roy LC February 15, 2017 at 2:35 pm

When I lived in the Bay Area, my friends would come up from wherever in LA they lived and would want to drive to every place they had heard of from Daly City (incredibly underrated) to Napa (overrated) to Oakland Chinatown (overrated in Oakland, underrated everywhere else) and out to Bolinas (overrated) or Pescadero Beach (incredibly overrated), and then when I would go to LA constantly we always drove two blocks and ate at the same place, while complaining that LA just didn’t have exciting food.

So I vote for LA as most cosmopolitan city on earth filled with the least cosmopolitan people on earth.

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9 Agra Brum February 15, 2017 at 5:46 pm

Someone complaining that LA has nothing to eat has something wrong with them.

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10 anon February 15, 2017 at 5:50 pm

That might be fair. My mom lives a few minutes from Roland Heights, but none of her friends are interested in exploring. She and I have some great lunches though.

https://www.yelp.com/c/rowland-heights-ca-us/restaurants

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11 Jackart February 15, 2017 at 3:14 am

London, surely, by a country mile. There may be cities with a bigger share of minorities or ‘minority majority’, but none where the minorities come from so diverse a range of countries.

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12 Axa February 15, 2017 at 5:52 am

London has minorities from a diverse range of countries that are properly ignored by polite gentlemen. Can I read http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk in German or Spanish? I can get a NY driver’s license in 6 languages besides English, Brooklyn has that je ne sais quoi… https://dmv.ny.gov/more-info/language-assistance

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13 brian February 15, 2017 at 5:52 pm

London is hugely diverse but it is segregated. Go to Kilburn and walk down the street. You will see Arabs and Somalis and Nigerians and Jamaicans and dozens more ethnicities. But peer into a pub and it is just white people.

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14 Roy LC February 15, 2017 at 2:57 pm

There are things you can eat in London that you will see in no other capital city on earth, not even in greater Finglas & Summerville. In that regard it has LA beat hands down.

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15 brad February 15, 2017 at 4:32 pm

I think NYC could give London a run for its money on that metric.

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16 Ritwik Priya February 16, 2017 at 8:59 am

Tyler is probably writing off London due to the so-wealthy-that-it-prices-them-away dynamic, though of course Bristih as well as foreign residents understand that the foreigners stay afloat/competitive and keep coming in by the droves, while a section of the ‘locals’ are the ones getting priced away.

Also perhaps too European and not enough East Asian/ Central American.

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17 Ritwik Priya February 16, 2017 at 9:02 am

Also, social housing ensures that there’s an element of de-segregation by fiat, even if limited.Not too ghetto-ised for a city so conscious of postcodes.

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18 Dan February 15, 2017 at 3:24 am

London has to be at the top of this list. Every continent and major immigrant group is represented in size somewhere in the city. Take a ride on a tube train and you’ll hear a cacophony of languages. In physical terms the diffusion of public housing means boroughs mix rich immigrant with poor immigrant. Middle class and working class britons moved to the suburbs over the past few decades leaving the city itself to foreigners and a smattering of rich or aristocratic locals.

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19 Brian W February 15, 2017 at 6:10 am

London: Where you can experience every culture of the world except the English.

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20 Sam Haysom February 15, 2017 at 6:32 am

And where you can be arrested for saying that out loud.

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21 T February 15, 2017 at 11:34 am

The comments on this site is a weird mix of insightful writing and cheap sound-bites.

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22 FG February 15, 2017 at 7:15 pm

@T +1

23 Thiago Ribeiro February 15, 2017 at 3:45 am

“Sao Paulo has so many ethnicities, but when you get right down to it they are all Brazilians.”

What is wrong with that? Some of my best friends are Brazilians.

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24 Thiago Ribeiro February 15, 2017 at 3:50 am

We Brasilians are all big happy cucks

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25 Thiago Ribeiro February 15, 2017 at 4:08 am

No, we are not. You are a pathetic impersonator.

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26 Hoosier February 15, 2017 at 4:23 am

What are all these ethnicities in São Paulo? Never heard this before.

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27 Thiago Ribeiro February 15, 2017 at 5:21 am

Asians of all kinds just to begin. São Paulo is the biggest Jpanese ciry outside Japan. There are lots of Koreans and Chinese, too. I don’t know how things re there nowadays – a former mayor had ordered the signs put down -, but in the old days one would wander through the Asian neighborhood (Freedom Neighborhood) and think one was in Japan because everytging was written in Japanese.

There also Bolivian workers (which means lots of Native Bolivia blood), Haitian refugees and studentsth, Africans especially from the former Portuguese colonies. Lots of people from Arab stock (president Temer was born in a smaller city of São Paulo state, but he is a typical example of a child of a Arab family which the Brazilian system allowed to rise as high as his talents allowed – only in Brazil…). Lots of Jews. There are Paraguayans, Argentinians, I have known many Mexican and Colombian students. There are also people descended from the proud Portuguese colonists (my family’s recorded history goes back to the 16th Century and the colonial enterprise). Also Pomeranias, lots of them in my home state, Espírito Santo, also in the Southern States and in Rondônia. They are mostly harmless. In conclusion, Brazil is a land of contrasts.

I say, “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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28 Axa February 15, 2017 at 6:03 am

Thiago, I known there’s F1 and Brazil gets some Olympic medals every 4 years. I’m a Senna fan and admire Massa’s skills and courage. But, what sports people watch on TV while drinking a beer? Organized leagues with regular weekly matches? Football and a very very distant Volleyball league. So, culture is very uniform.

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29 Thiago Ribeiro February 15, 2017 at 6:46 am

You mean culturw means watching guys rhrowing themselves ar other guys while carrying a ball (the shape of the ball is wrong, and football must played with the foot, it is right there in the name)? I don’t think so, Brazil has a very diverse culture. Dances, music, religion, literature, folktales, food and languages. Brazil probably has the richest culture manking has ever seen – it is much more important than drinking beer.

30 Pshrnk February 15, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Watching Tom Brady’s wife is sufficient.

31 Thiago Ribeiro February 15, 2017 at 3:07 pm

I would say that it is better than watching grown men playing ball, but Brazil is much more than awesomely beautiful women.

32 Hoosier February 15, 2017 at 7:36 am

Good post! Had forgotten about the Japanese. Didn’t know about the large Africans population either. Suppose someone from Colombia technically adds to diversity but all South American cultures outside of the guayanas are quire similar (same with canadiens in the US or Koreans in Japan) so I’m going to discount that a bit.

Strange for TC to make the comment about “them all just being Brazilians” though. Is he saying that because the ethnic groups in São Paulo were born there its different from places like NYC or Montreal with more recent arrivals?

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33 Thiago Ribeiro February 15, 2017 at 7:56 am

Well, I would say that the Chileans and Argentinians can be a lot different from say Bolivians of Native background.
“same with canadiens in the US or Koreans in Japan”
Tell that to the Japanese.
“Is he saying that because the ethnic groups in São Paulo were born there its different from places like NYC or Montreal with more recent arrivals?”
I guess so. We built the most haemonious diverse society manking has ever seen – Non-Whites have become the majority of the popularion recently and Protestants are predicted to become the majority in a few years -, but we get no credit. Sad.

34 carlospln February 15, 2017 at 3:59 am

“Sydney is likely in the top ten, but too many parts are posh to be #1”. [SNIP]

When China coughs up its Bad Debt Furball, have another look.

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35 carlospln February 15, 2017 at 4:00 am
36 Gary Taylor February 15, 2017 at 12:26 pm

Is that your best shot? In London, there are 30 Boroughs where more than 100 languages are spoken (London has 33 Boroughs in total).
Now *that’s* a lot of diversity in close proximity.

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37 carlospln February 16, 2017 at 9:35 pm

250 > 100

Is that YOUR best shot? 😉

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38 Misha February 15, 2017 at 4:09 am

Brooklyn or Queens.

Sydney + Melbourne definitely in top 10.

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39 right wing economist February 15, 2017 at 4:35 am

London.

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40 Stuart February 15, 2017 at 4:52 am

I *really* disagree with the Sydney one. Yes, there is a very large Asian component but my impression is that it is pretty overwhelmingly white (and Australian!).

Doubly wrong considering that Melbourne should spring to mind right away which seems more multicultural to me and has fewer posh parts.

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41 carlospln February 15, 2017 at 5:41 am

See link above to SMH interactive map

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42 Stuart February 15, 2017 at 7:37 am

OK. That is interesting.

But it doesn’t do much to shift my opinion after spending a month there as a tourist. It just doesn’t feel very multicultural in my opinion. It probably has something to do with how few black people there are there.

43 carlospln February 16, 2017 at 9:38 pm

The Africans have arrived!

Come back & see for yourself

btw, there’s huge Mediterranean populations in SYD & MELB, particularly the latter [post war migration]: Greeks, Italians, Serbs, Croats.

hmmm….did you really visit?

44 Joshua Masoud February 15, 2017 at 4:35 am

All the cities you named have a white majority. Why not mention Durban? or Kabul?
That is the European understanding of diversity. A white majority with exotic minorities to make the place exciting for the white hipster.

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45 Ricardo February 15, 2017 at 5:48 am

“All the cities you named have a white majority.”

Brooklyn certainly does not: it is roughly one-third white, one-third black and one-third other (mostly Asian and Latino).

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46 Sam Haysom February 15, 2017 at 6:04 am

So um this notion of majority-minority cities is entirely a Western epiphenom. Kabul isn’t diverse at all its full of Pashtuns and Tajiks and assorted other Eastern Iranian tribes. What is multicultural about that? Polyglot maybe, riven by ethnic enmity sure but multicutural no.

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47 dearieme February 15, 2017 at 4:45 am

This post seems to confuse ‘multicultural’ with questions of ethnicity.

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48 Axa February 15, 2017 at 5:33 am

dearieme, you’re right . people overrates skin color as an indicator of culture 😉

Since others already talked about language diversity let’s look at sports diversity, pro teams. People in Toronto pay for teams of ice hockey, baseball, basketball, football, american football. London: football, cricket and rugby. Sao Paulo: football & volleyball . Geneva: football, basketball, ice hockey. Sidney: football & rugby. Brooklyn: basketball, ice hockey, football, american football and they once had what today is the Mets (baseball).

So, from the sport pro clubs perspective Toronto and Brooklyn are more culturally diverse than others. If that Indian billionaire launches a cricket league in the US, that would make the US really culturally diverse.

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49 Ricardo February 15, 2017 at 6:07 am

“If that Indian billionaire launches a cricket league in the US, that would make the US really culturally diverse.”

Forget cricket. The other day, I saw footage from the U.S. national kabaddi team competing in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup. The guys on that team didn’t look to be of South Asian heritage and the whole thing left me wondering how the hell twenty-something Americans get into a sport like that in the first place. Tyler devoted a post to this rather unusual contact sport here: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2014/09/the-culture-that-is-india.html

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50 Anonymous February 15, 2017 at 10:42 am
51 Dan Hill February 15, 2017 at 10:36 am

@Axa – with respect to Australian sport, you don’t know what you are talking about.

“Sidney [sic]: football and rugby.”

They play a little cricket in Sydney, at a place called The Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). We love nothing more than to beat England there.

They also play Australian Rules football on the SCG. Google “Sydney Swans.” They’ve won the national championship a few times.

Then there’s rugby which you mention, but there’s actually two types played in Sydney. Rugby Union is the Waratahs. They won the Super Rugby competition a few years ago against the best provincial teams from NZ, South Africa and Australia. Rugby League is the other form, of which Sydney is probably the world capital.

Don’t forget netball just because it’s a women’s game. Huge participation rates and Australia are usually the world champions.

There’s also basketball and baseball. Not as popular as in the US, but good enough that some players end up in the pros in America. Same with soccer – especially popular among some ethnic groups but the good players end up in Europe.

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52 Miguel Madeira February 15, 2017 at 5:38 am

São Paulo was excluded, exactly, because its inhabitants, in spite of the different ethnic roots, have essentially the same culture today. And no references to the black population of USA (who have a different ethnicity but share the culture with with America).

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53 chip February 15, 2017 at 2:17 pm

So many people assume race and culture are one. You can have a single race with a diverse range of ideas and practises, just as you can have a multi-racial society that all thinks the same.

Much like Toronto, where despite different ethnicities the electoral results are all so drearily mono-ideological.

A better analysis of a city’s diversity would look at the mix of ideas, range of newspapers, clash of policy differences and swings from one political party to another. London fits the bill here more than Toronto.

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54 Axa February 16, 2017 at 6:26 am

Point for London with FT, the Globe and the Mail is boring.

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55 Jan February 15, 2017 at 5:10 am

Not Singapore?

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56 mk February 15, 2017 at 10:36 am

+1

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57 Larry Siegel February 15, 2017 at 5:43 am

Montreal is very pleasant as well as diverse, but unfortunately it has isolated itself from the rest of Canada, the rest of North America, and the rest of the world through language policy. A half century ago, Montreal was the business capital of Canada, and (as I remember it) New York financial executives went there more often than any other city except Chicago. Now it’s off the finance radar screen and even the Bank of Montreal is in Toronto.

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58 Sam Haysom February 15, 2017 at 6:14 am

This really just underscores how embarrassing the performance of Anglophone candians has been. When you sift out all the energy companies and banks the only real significant Canadian multinational company is Bombardier.

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59 Jan February 15, 2017 at 7:13 am

Yet Canada seems to have even surpassed the US, moving to the richest middle class in the world according to this study from 2014, which appears to take taxes and transfer payments into account.https://nyti.ms/1pnCf44

Perhaps it is built on natural resources mainly, but they seem to be doing well. BlackBerry is a joke, which is the only other big Canadian company I could think of.

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60 Potato February 15, 2017 at 7:41 am

Account for recent demographic changes? No. The study is useless. Every demographic group in American could be doing better (they’re not, but for the sake of argument), but you would have a fallacy of composition problem. If the demographics change, you can add poor immigrants and their descendants and, even if everyone is better off for them having come here, they will drag down stats like median income and PISA scores.

You need to follow people through life to see actual changes. Like I don’t know, using panel data.

For countries with stable demographics, fine. But for massive changes, either take it into account or leave the country out of the study.

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61 Potato February 15, 2017 at 7:51 am

It also leaves out VATs and sales taxes. They’re not included as taxes or factored into the price of goods and services when making PPP adjustments (it says this specifically in the study)

Canada, with a cursory google search, has a VAT of 5%, with a HST (harmonized sales tax) of 13-15%, excluding the western provinces.

This study either has an axe to grind or is deliberately obtuse. Or, equally likely, the study was taken out of context by journalists who couldn’t pass a college freshmen stats class, let alone basic econometrics.

62 Steve-O February 15, 2017 at 11:58 am

There are probably more exemptions from the state’s sales taxes, but the median taxable purchase made in the US is likely taxes at a rate above 8%. Most locations in CA, TX, NY, and IL are above that. PA, OH, and FL are 6-8%.

QC has a combined federal and provincial rate nearly 15%, ON is 13%, BC is 12%, and AB is 5%. The rest vary from 5%-15%. So I’m not sure how big of a factor excluding taxes is. I’m sure it’s more in Canada due to more taxes on services and somewhat higher rates, on average.

63 mgregoire February 15, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Alimentation Couche-Tard is also a major (French) Canadian multinational. 12000 stores around the world, $37.9B revenue in 2014. You may be shopping there already without knowing it.

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64 Sam Haysom February 15, 2017 at 6:07 am

Surely it’s whatever city Tyler lives in right? Revealed preferences and all that. Am I mistaken? Wouldn’t that be strange if Tyler lived in a lily white suburb? I can’t have more experience with diversity than Tyler can I?

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65 Ricardo February 15, 2017 at 8:14 am

Your mental image of “suburb” is 50 years out of date.

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66 DK February 16, 2017 at 2:35 pm

According to https://demographics.virginia.edu/DotMap Tyler lives in a sparsely populated area with overwhelming majority of whites and a small minority of Asians. Essentially, no blacks or Latinos. Diversity for you, not for me.

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67 Sam Haysom February 15, 2017 at 6:09 am

Seems like Brussels would beat all the cities mentioned. Two major ethnic with significant differences and ever growing, disgruntled Magrebien contingent, and a sprinkling (understatement) of African migrants.

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68 George February 15, 2017 at 6:23 am

Dubai strikes me as far more diverse than any North American city, whether measured by diversity of ethnicity, culture, or religion.

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69 Sam Haysom February 15, 2017 at 6:29 am

73% of Dubai is from the Indian subcontinent. There isn’t any major city in the southern United States that has that high of a percentage of one ethnic group.

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70 Ali Choudhury February 15, 2017 at 8:07 am

It would be a surprise to the inhabitants of the Indian sub-continent that they all count as one ethnic group.

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71 Between you and me February 15, 2017 at 7:47 pm

To your average American, they aren’t even one. Leftovers after “White, Black, Mexican, and Asian.”

But then race is parochial.

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72 Doug February 15, 2017 at 2:06 pm

If you’re just counting heads maybe. But the Indians are largely invisible and have a minor cultural impact. Walk though the Marina or Dubai Mall, and you’d never estimate anything close to 73%.

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73 Doug February 15, 2017 at 1:58 pm

+1

I think it’s the only city I could spend hours walking through and not know what part of the world it’s located in. Hong Kong may be close at certain parts, but outside Central, it’ll be apparent that you’re in Greater China.

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74 Yehuda Simon February 15, 2017 at 6:27 am

Haifa, Israel, is possibly the most multicultural city in the Middle East, with Jews, Muslims, Christian and Baha’i communities all living in co-existence with each other.

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75 Sam Haysom February 15, 2017 at 6:31 am

Every single American city can say the same thing. You guys need to get out more. What this entire comment section makes clear is a lot of people don’t realize who diverse America is. Which is probally why people don’t understand why open borders is political poison in the US. Jacksonville is more muliticutural than some of these cities listed.

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76 Chinaman February 15, 2017 at 7:34 am

+1.

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77 Doug February 15, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Jacksonville may be racially diverse, but it’s not “multicultural”. American blacks have lived in this country for 400 years, they’re not that fundamentally culturally removed from whites. Particularly the whites that live in high-black proportion areas. Black-Americans may look different than White-Americans, but French Belgians and the Flemish are more culturally dissimilar.

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78 Axa February 15, 2017 at 6:41 am

Another metric of multicultural is having a local TV channel with content in other language besides the main language. Satellite or cable TV allows to have foreign channels, but I’m talking specifically about local channels in foreign languages. This in influenced by government regulations or their absence. Either Toronto or Brooklyn are ahead of the rest. Multicultural is the Univision NY station being the most watched local newscast , it’s not about “I heard some brown people on the Tube speaking a weird language”……they could have been just tourists.

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79 Sam Haysom February 15, 2017 at 6:51 am

Multiculture is monoculture (as long as the monoculture isn’t native).

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80 Chinaman February 15, 2017 at 7:35 am

Indeed. True diversity is of thought not of looks.

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81 Sam the Sham February 15, 2017 at 9:01 am

That’s wacist!

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82 John February 15, 2017 at 7:13 am

This is the Marginal Revolution website. Surely we can be a little more precise?

In Melbourne, at least one parent born overseas in:
– China 6%, India 3%, Vietnam 2%, other Asia 3%
– UK 17%
– Italy 5%, Greece 3%, other Western Europe 6%
– Eastern Europe and Russia 3%
– Other (individually small) 11%

In Melbourne, 33% were born overseas, and another 5% not stated.
See http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2011/communityprofile/2GMEL?opendocument&navpos=220

This is very similar proportion to the proportion of the London population which is overseas born (see https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/diversity-london-report-data)

Sydney is very similar to Melbourne, but a few extra percent from Asia, and a few less from Western Europe

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83 jeffn February 15, 2017 at 9:59 am

According to that source 38.9% of London’s 2011 population was born outside of England, 36.7% born outside the UK. Similar metric for Toronto is around 49%. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Toronto

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84 The Other Jim February 15, 2017 at 7:47 am

Better questions are (1) Who the hell cares? and (2) Why is this question so difficult to answer?

Why didn’t 25 different candidates come instantly to mind, instead of barely coughing up 3, all of which only qualified with caveats?

Why is answering this question like trying to identify the best Somalian ice hockey player?

You could think about that, but I’m guessing you won’t.

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85 Victor F. February 15, 2017 at 1:20 pm

“Who the hell cares?” That’s exactly the point: some people want to have a foretaste of what it feels like to live in, well, Hell.

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86 Troll me February 15, 2017 at 10:07 pm

Either you’ve never been to Montreal or let off a little too much “ignorant and arrogant American” while there.

Do you, there is such a thing as place where even just a minor differnece in skin tone can mark you as an evil outsider? I can’t imagine having to deal with the sorts who live in such places.

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87 AndrewL February 15, 2017 at 8:23 am

Queens is the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world…. so says Wikipedia.

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88 AndrewL February 15, 2017 at 8:27 am

Guinness Book of World Records also says Queens is most diverse: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Queens

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89 Hoosier February 15, 2017 at 9:35 am

Funny how queens constantly gets overlooked (for a lot of things New York related) despite being right next to Brooklyn.

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90 Leeds February 15, 2017 at 3:59 pm

Yep.

Queens is the fourth-most densely populated county among New York City’s boroughs, as well as in the United States; and if each New York City borough were an independent city, Queens would also be the nation’s fourth most populous city, after Los Angeles, Chicago, and Brooklyn.

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91 Dick the Butcher February 15, 2017 at 4:44 pm

My house is in western Nassau County. It’s half a mile to the Queens/city line.

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92 JRuss February 15, 2017 at 12:27 pm

So sick of Brooklyn bias. So Brooklyn (according to Wikipedia) has a population of 2,636,735 and can therefore be taken into consideration as a city, but Queens, which according to Wikipedia, has a population of 2,339,150 somehow fails to make the cut? Please.

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93 Dick the Butcher February 15, 2017 at 4:50 pm

Until 1898, Brooklyn was a city separate from NYC. The completion of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 facilitated the union.

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94 JB February 15, 2017 at 8:25 pm

Brooklyn has a more of a traditional city orientation, with a defined downtown etc, than Queens. LIC/Astoria area doesn’t really do it. So from the ‘city’ aspect of the prompt, Brooklyn has better standing. Queens is less independently focused, is more Manhattan oriented. At least that is how I read TC’s take, with which I agree on reflection. As for multicultural diversity, Queens probably edges out ahead. But it is close. Even the gentrified areas of Brooklyn, like Park Slope, are home to sizable European communities which add cultural dimension.

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95 celestus February 15, 2017 at 8:29 am

My initial impression is London.

If you’re going to pick an American city, Houston.

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96 Lovey Howell February 15, 2017 at 9:32 am

+1

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97 brent February 16, 2017 at 8:17 am

Agree on Houston. Strong showing of:
1) Whitey
2) Latino
3) Black
4) Indian
5) UK (thanks BP)
6) Middle East, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE (thanks oil)
7) Korean
8) Vietnamese
9) Thai

There are other communities, too. As for high quality, low key ethnic dining, it really is tough to beat Houston.

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98 Rock Lobster February 15, 2017 at 8:59 am

Whenever I go to Brooklyn I feel like Martin Sheen stepping off the boat and meeting the whacked out hippie “photojournalist.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Usq-rdnk3l0

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99 Ed February 15, 2017 at 9:42 am

The other commentators got it right, its London, and so obviously London that this isn’t even that interesting a question. And London is really expensive, so evidently being expensive doesn’t have much to do with this.

Brooklyn is really a strange choice. I happen to be from Brooklyn. The borough is almost entirely residential neighborhoods (there is a small, not very impressive, business district), that themselves are pretty homogeneous, and since Brooklyn really isn’t a separate city, if people from separate neighborhoods mix, it will be in Manhattan. But even if you ignore this, there is no criteria where you can put Brooklyn or even New York as a whole ahead of Los Angeles, or just about every city in California, or Miami, or Houston for that matter. And that is just in the US.

Is this supposed to be a proxy for “cities in Europe and the US that have large numbers of non-white immigrants”? Or do having different native cultures within the same city count? Because by the second definition every city in South Africa, as well as Montreal (mentioned), Brussels, and Singapore, among others should be up there. Brussels gets lots of immigrants from non-white places too.

But in the US, yes New York gets immigrants, but California and Florida and maybe Texas score higher on that metric.

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100 Troll me February 15, 2017 at 10:12 pm

Consdiering his alternative choice of Montreal, it’s clearly not about skin colour.

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101 The Anti-Gnostic February 15, 2017 at 9:50 am

Why is it considered a good thing for every city to look like every other city?

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102 Steve-O February 15, 2017 at 12:02 pm

To use Tyler’s framing… an underrated question. I’m reminded of David Bernstein noting that diversity within institutions leads to homogeneous institutions when discussing (I think) Yeshiva University and whether it should maintain its strong Jewish identity.

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103 Troll me February 15, 2017 at 10:14 pm

Where on earth did such an idea come from? I’ve never heard of such a thing …

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104 Martin February 15, 2017 at 10:05 am

I have read that Amsterdam counts most nationalities

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105 Aretino February 15, 2017 at 10:07 am

Mecca is temporarily (during the hajj) the most culturally and ethnically diverse city in the world, as it is not unusual to have people from over 180 countries there.

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106 Steve-O February 15, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Wouldn’t this be true of NYC (and probably other cities) every day?

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107 Potato February 16, 2017 at 12:11 am

Considering it’s illegal for anyone but a member of one faith to even be in the city, I’d say massive diversity fail. Unless diversity just means ethnicity and skin color, and not values, language (the Quran is only in Arabic, and can only be in Arabic Anything else is not the holy Quran. And it is blasphemous to consider a translation of the Quran to be the Quran, as recited to the prophet Mohamed (pbuh) by the angel Gabril, but is a recitation since it is the unaltered words of Allah told through a messenger) and obviously legal structure.

Tyler is trolling you with the definition of multiculturalism. He threw the q out there to elicit responses. We all pay lip service to diversity and multiculturalism but what does it mean?

Prof Cowen is free to call me out for being off base. But I prefer the straussian interpretation.

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108 James February 15, 2017 at 11:01 am

What about remote places like Cayenne, French Guiana; Georgetown, Guyana; Paramaribo, Suriname; or any of the number of South African cities.

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109 Winand von Petersdorff February 15, 2017 at 11:43 am

Count Frankfurt in. In 2011 roughly 43 percent of the citizens were counted as “Migrants” (born abroad, having foreign Country citizenship or beeing born to at least one parent with non-german passport). That was before the big refugee-waves. Since 2011 roughly 1,6 Million applied for asylum in Germany, at least 10000 went to Frankfurt, experts estimate. In addition the ECB hired the bulk of their employees in those years since 2011 up to 2500 now from all over Europe. That are only the official numbers. And Frankfurt is, as i may add, a beautiful place to live.

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110 Winand February 15, 2017 at 11:54 am

…citizens from 178 different countries do live in Frankfurt, more Indian than French for example.

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111 Troll me February 15, 2017 at 10:18 pm

Do any of those 177 nationalities think their children will rule to roost in Germany, or do you think they’ll be OK with taking a nod from the other 50+% who made it one of the best-run and wealthiest countries in the world?

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112 Troll me February 15, 2017 at 10:18 pm

Or maybe it’s just a practical approach to apprenticeships for the less academically inclined …

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113 James Halfred February 15, 2017 at 12:19 pm

Doha is the most international city I have ever been to, far more so than places like London or New York.

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114 Devin Lavelle February 15, 2017 at 12:25 pm

I’ll nominate Sacramento. We’re 35% white, 27% Latino, 20% API and 15% black. The City is reasonably well integrated as well.

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115 Cooper February 15, 2017 at 1:33 pm

Sacramento is probably the most diverse and most integrated city in America if you judge diversity based on ethnicity.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-most-diverse-cities-are-often-the-most-segregated/

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116 Dave Smith February 15, 2017 at 12:32 pm

I would not fit the definition of multicultural here, but people who ponder these questions should visit Amarillo, Texas.

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117 Turkey Vulture February 15, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Buffalo. A fusion of American and Canadian culture with just the right amount of failure. Springboard of the future American conquest of Ontario.

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118 Troll me February 15, 2017 at 10:24 pm

The natives are a little less militant than last time around and may feel a little less inclined to bleed alongside us.

Maybe we can bait them with enough poutine to buy time to come up with a plan? Or … maybe just a good ol’ hocket game will do the trick …

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119 Stoic Knight February 15, 2017 at 1:37 pm

Las Vegas

Locals and tourism

Many neighborhoods rate high on the integration scale when 538 did their little effort at digging into integration as more than diversity.

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120 Perovskite February 15, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Brooklyn…..where everyone is different in the same way.

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121 ben February 15, 2017 at 3:04 pm

If low levels of ethnic segregation is a relevant criteria then it might make sense to also consider cities with relatively permissive planning rules. Houston, for example.

Of course, if demand for planning is tied to demand for segregation, then Houston’s permissive planning regime might reflect high population homogeneity. More positively, it might also reflect relatively high tolerance for diversity.

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122 CL February 15, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Istanbul? Lots of Europeans, lots of Turks, lots of Arabs, lots of Indians. Fewer east Asians, but still some. Different languages all over the place and relatively affordable, current instability notwithstanding.

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123 Martin Manley February 15, 2017 at 3:56 pm

Houston.

Biggest US port City, and center for business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, sports, technology, education, medicine, and research. Houston has been listed as the most diverse city in the United States.Largest Indian and large Vietnamese populations. Substantial
Chinese and one of the largest refugee cities in US since post Vietnam war.

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124 Troll me February 15, 2017 at 10:32 pm

Is it fair to call it the “biggest port” when much of what moves through there is oil?

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125 Steko February 15, 2017 at 4:05 pm

This is just an exercise in definitions. If you just count languages or how many different restaurants you can go to, you favor the largest cities, but is a city with 90% from one group and a small population from 170 countries more diverse than a city with 3 or 5 or 10 equal groups? Seems absurd.

The 538 article linked above also has some absurdities, like Honolulu ranking near the bottom presumably because they lump all Asians in one category (or worse ‘Asian and Pacific Islander’). Here are the actual demographics for Honolulu:

20% Japanese
18% White
17% Mixed (prolly higher)
13% Filipino
10% Chinese
8% Polynesian
5% Hispanic
4% Korean
3% other SE Asians
1.5% Black

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126 Behemot February 15, 2017 at 5:43 pm

You (Tyler) are being inconsistent.

The question was:

“what do you think is the most multicultural (minimal segregation while having great ethnic diversity) city in the world?”

Leaving the part in brackets aside for a moment, you redefine multicultural to mean something similar but not synonymous – what are the most international cities in the world, i.e.: “Sao Paulo has so many ethnicities, but when you get right down to it they are all Brazilians.”

There is nothing inconsistent with a city being multicultural even though the majority of the population holds the passport of the host state and has been there for generations. By this metric, Johannesburg, pre-war Warsaw, Chicago and Sao Paolo mentioned above are all very multicultural.

But multicultural /=/ international, at least in my book.

As far as what is the most international city is concerned, then, as suggested by multiple commentators above, London wins, hands down: apart from the incredibly varied stream of first generation immigrants, businessmen, students, government officials, artists, which in and of themselves just mean that it is a mirror of other great metropolitan areas such as New York or Paris, there is a constant churn from the extremely diverse EU/EFTA and the Commonwealth. A relatively liberal visa regime, especially for the last 2 categories, and the geographic proximity of Europe as far as EU/EFTA citizens are concerned, means that NYC just can’t compete – US visa rules are insanely complex, expensive and illogical, and the only 2 major countries close to the US are Mexico and Canada.

A minority of these Europeans and ex-colonials stay in London permanently, most move on after a few years, but they are replaced by younger clones, which is what makes London unique – there is a qualitative difference between a fresh-of-the-Ryanair Italian, and a fourth-generation Italian-American whose only real connection with the Old Country is a foreign sounding surname. The latter may contribute to the multiculturalism of a city (think pizza, Little Italy), but it is the former that brings the international flavour.

This is what makes London truly amazing. Let’s hope Brexit doesn’t change that.

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127 bill reeves February 15, 2017 at 6:37 pm

I think Houston tops them all because not only is it among the most diverse metros in the world (it’s majority minority all ready) it is also a metro where a large proportion of the immigrants are affluent. I live in southwest suburban Fort Bend County 700,000 mostly middle and upper middle class, virtually no poor but the population is 20% black (American, African and Caribbean) 25% hispanic 30% Non Hispanic white, including a large Arab contingent and 25% East and South Asian. Houston’s high wages relative to cost of living means that there are far more immigrants living middle class and affluent lifestyles. It’s open real estate market also means that it is far easier for immigrants to start new restaurants so the scene is very diverse and competitive at half the prices of NYC. And far more immigrants are arriving and staying in Houston as a proportion of the population than almost anyplace else in the world. Only NYC and DC have more foreign consulates than Houston. IN general TX is far more diverse than NY State.

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128 Massimo Heitor February 15, 2017 at 7:55 pm

Brooklyn is completely ethnically segregated.

Here is a racial visualization of NYC including Brooklyn:
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/08/us/census-race-map.html

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129 PeterJakes February 15, 2017 at 8:17 pm

Mississauga for the win.

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130 Troll me February 15, 2017 at 9:58 pm

It’s seems very American to consider Montreal as SO multiculural. It’s mostly just English and French, which for a lot of people is pretty quintessentially Canadian (maybe about 60-70% would disagree, but not agree more on other things).

Of course it’s multicultural – it has been anglo/French bicultural for a very long time. But if you’re going to talk “multicultural”, I’d think that volume of diversity would matter. If you walk from one end of a subway to another, in Toronto it would be very unsurprising to hear a dozen or more languages being spoken in the space of those couples minutes.

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