Which is the most ideologically diverse American city?

When I requested requests, Jimmy wrote back:

(1) Conversations with Tyler featuring an actual Straussian.

(2) What is the most ideologically / politically diverse city? Which most moderate in that regard? Where in America am I least likely to be in a bubble and why?

I have several nominations for #2:

1. Houston. It still has plenty of Texas conservatives, but enough non-conservatives to elect a lesbian mayor.  Mexicans fit along a political spectrum of their own.

2. Washington, D.C. and environs. The intellectual class in this city is about half conservative/Republican/libertarian and always will be — just don’t think too hard about who actually lives here!  Most of all, everyone is used to the fact that there are oodles and oodles of forces on the other side of the debate.  No one flips out over this.  Even the media types have a reasonable amount of non-left representation.

3. Chicago. Its presence in the Midwest moderates its left flank, there is a diverse mix of ethnic groups, and the city has lots of Midwestern civic virtue.  Real estate prices have stayed relatively low, so not all blue collar and working class types have been driven out.  “Old Chicago” is still up and running to some extent.

That’s the national capital, plus two of the five largest cities.  And I’ve already argued that, in a Straussian sense, Los Angeles is the most right wing city in the United States.  Orange County is ideologically diverse as well.  In other words, urban American is doing pretty well on intellectual diversity once you get out of (parts of) Manhattan and San Francisco and Seattle.

San Antonio measures as quite moderate, but is neither typical nor extremely diverse.  Here are some basic data, Nashville, Wichita, and Las Vegas also measure in the middle, and of those Las Vegas seems most diverse to me rather than simply dull.

Which place in the country is the least likely to leave you trapped in an intellectual bubble?  Somewhere in Ohio?  Columbus or Cincinnati?  Knoxville, Tennessee?  Louisville?  Kansas City, MO?  In those locales you truly are confronted with the everyday problems of regular American life and you are not obsessing over either crypto or what just passed through the subcommittee.

The proper conclusion may be that intellectual bubbles are a useful means of moving forward.


Oh, well played

Brilliant bit of trolling his audience isn't it? He didn't even mention a single College Town when talking about intellectual bubbles.

I would think there is more intellectual diversity in your average taxi cab in El Paso than there is in all of Cambridge Mass.

To be fair the question was about cities not (college) towns.

>Washington, D.C.

Yeah, this is what happens when you ask someone who has literally never left the bubble about where the bubble isn't.

Next up, ask Donald Trump where to find the best booze.

Well that's easy. The Trump Taj Mahal hotel and casino. No wait. That one is closed. The nearest still operating Trump hotel. As a bonus you can have drinks with the many confused foreign diplomats parked there.

And the even better bonus is that if you get talking to a girl while at the bar of a Trump Hotel, and you lose the phone number she gave you, the FBI will be able to give you her address.

Of course. Cops always know where to round up The Usual Suspects.

"Houston. It still has plenty of Texas conservatives, but enough non-conservatives to elect a lesbian mayor. "

This is a classic mistake by those on the left. Conservatives do not dislike LGBTQ. They would be just as willing to vote for one as not. The problem is that LGBTQ activists who are eagerly seeking special treatment and free stuff are insufferable and seemingly intentionally so. It makes "one" appear very superficial to simply be unaware of that nuance. Makes you wonder what else they are so wrong about.


Special treatment and free stuff like getting married, serving in the military, that sort of thing?

There are definitely plenty of conservatives who dislike LGBTQ. Maybe not libertarian ones, but the traditional ones for sure.

"Special treatment and free stuff like getting married, serving in the military, that sort of thing?"

Yeah. Marriage is between a man and a woman. A legitimate belief. That was indeed a good example of special treatment. Disagree if you like but that puts you EXACTLY in the same position as those who disagree with gay marriage. It is your right to disagree about an issue without being smeared.

"There are definitely plenty of conservatives who dislike LGBTQ. Maybe not libertarian ones, but the traditional ones for sure."

I honestly think you are wrong. The entire agenda of the LGBTQ activists was to create a divide/hate so that they could use it as a club to beat the other side with. Classic Alinsky divide and conquer tactics. What most people, not just conservatives but all thinking people, find offensive are these tactics where the left "Picks the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." It works but it is sleazy. If that is what someone does or what they parrot THEN you cannot trust them or anything they say. They are knowingly and willingly spreading lies and disinformation so they can get special treatment for a specific group. How is that good? How can you support it? Why not instead be more open to tolerance and accept that not everyone believes exactly the same things and they shouldn't be ostracized and attacked for that? Instead the LGBTQ crusaders attack cake bakers and run them out of business because they won't genuflect before them. Shame!

Explain to me again how getting married is 'special treatment'. If anything only allowing heteros to get married is special treatment for heteros. Gays just wanted to be able to do the same thing. Also serving in the military, it's not 'special treatment' to ask to be able to do things everyone else does. It's the opposite in fact.

5000 plus years of marriage between a man and a woman, that biology mandates and logic affirms and in half a dozen years of tyranny by the LBGQT community and the government gave in and changed marriage. And you don't think that is "special treatment"??? Why not multiple partners and marriage to animals while you are at it? Seriously, why not? It would make as much sense.

Gays in the military probably will not benefit the effectiveness and purpose of the military. It is nothing more than a bowing to pressure and a hope that it doesn't emasculate the military too much. Is that good? If we start losing battles because of lack of cohesiveness of our soldiers is that a good thing in your mind?

"it's not 'special treatment' to ask to be able to do things everyone else does."

Good point!!!! So every person of color, every woman, every gay has an automatic head start in job opportunities AND in a law suit against an employer if they are fired or in their mind passed over for a job. So let's apply those same rules (that you agree are wrong) to everyone out of fairness. No more affirmative action. No more one sided enforcement of title IX. Agreed???

Why are you folks so afraid of everything? Seriously, why do gays/minorities/Muslims scare you so much? Buncha snowflakes.

There you go again with the false narrative. Presumably that means you have nothing and must resort to the race card. I could not have been more clear. Those on the right are no more bothered by "gays/minorities/Muslims" than those on the left. It is when activists for these groups become offensive and demand we change our couture or else that we object. They/you need to learn to get along, have more tolerance in your life and beliefs. You can believe and be whatever you want to but you cannot hit me over the head with a club simply because I believe differently. I like chocolate!! That does not mean I hate vanilla!!! Essentially THAT is the argument those on the left try to make. I don't care if you are gay. But the left activists are not happy with that what they insist on is that I celebrate that you are gay. I don't care if you are a minority, we are all minorities. Get over it and stop judging people by the color of their skin. Simple as that.

"They/you need to learn to get along, have more tolerance in your life and beliefs"

Maybe you lot could have a little more tolerance and let these folks get married and fight for our country.

You like gays plenty but just don't want them to do stuff that you do.

"Maybe you lot could have a little more tolerance and let these folks get married and fight for our country."

They have a perfect right to get married exactly as I do. What I disagree with is the same sex marriage.
As for joining the military; this should actually be EASY for you to understand. A male who is gay is not the same gender as as a straight man. He is different. Not a man but not quite a woman. In the military men shower together and take a crap in bathrooms without doors or partitions. So the question is do you think Men OR Women should be FORCED to shower with the opposite gender or crap in front of them??? Simple question. If you believe that they should we could save money and raise moral by having all the men and women shower together. What's your pleasure???

"You like gays plenty but just don't want them to do stuff that you do."

You couldn't be more wrong. I don't care what they do. It seems that YOU care what they do and insist that I MUST CARE TOO. They can do anything legal just as you and I can. What I disagree with is that they extorted the country into accepting gay marriage against our will by first loading the courts with judges who would find that right in the constitution and then by taking it to court instead of the people. That is wrong and anti-democratic.

You're a mess.

Maybe, but an honest and tolerant mess. Not the lying spinning mess that the left is.

If you actually acknowledged that the left tells these lies about the right exactly to divide us and make people like you regurgitate those lies. Wouldn't you prefer to be in a political party/philosophy that wanted to succeed based on what they believe in and be proud of their ideas rather than a party that needed to spread lies and disinformation about their opponents? If not then congratulations you are right where you want to be.

Honest? Not with yourself. Because either you don't understand what the world 'tolerant' means or you aren't seeing yourself and your attitudes properly and honestly. You also are a typical partisan who claims those evil bad guys on the other side do all sorts of tricksy lying but their side never does.

In other words, you are a mess.

Merely having a differing opinion from those on the left brings their intolerance and hatred. That is my second point and your response is summed up as essentially it's because you have the wrong opinion. That is believing that marriage is and should be between a man and a woman is wrong and unacceptable. Sounds fascist to me.

But my first point which we strayed from is that it is simply not true that those on the right are any more intolerant or biased than those on the left. It is nothing more than a result of the classic Alinsky tactics of defaming your opposition with lies and hatred. This is a despicable tactic and those using it should be called out for it. BUT where the dishonesty comes in is when someone reiterates these lies as though they were true. They know better. They know the left lies about anyone who doesn't toe their line. It is totally dishonest.

As for supporting people on "my side" whatever that means, I will call out liars no matter what their political "side" is. If that makes me a "mess" in your opinion then I think you are looking in a mirror and not at me.

Get some rest, old timer. You're really losing it now.

Thank you for your fake concern. I will, you take it easy too young whipper snapper. I love you even though you want to paint everyone with a broad brush.

Last I checked men and women can still marry. Marriage has not been changed into an exclusively same sex institution. In fact, the vast majority of marriages today are between a man and a woman.

Oh please. The traditionalist line has been, for decades, "Love the Sinner; Hate the Sin".

The traditionalists when confronted with gay marriage did what the left has always suggested - organize and vote. When they enacted their multitudinous ballot initiatives they repeatedly attempted to keep marriage the same as it has always been. They did not, even in states where they had the numbers to do it, attempt to prevent LGBT individuals from holding any rights not confined to marriage. After having lost the only vote that mattered by 1 we then promptly got to see how the winning side would react.

Which has basically been terribly.

Hundred thousand dollar fines. Hate speech labeling. Firing. Yet, I somehow missed all the violence; the official hate crime figures being basically static for a dozen years. Somehow I find it hard to believe that even traditionalists really dislike LGBTQ people. Pretty much at any other time history there would be blood in the streets; now the worst things on hand are "religious freedom" laws and maybe somebody will have to find another cake baker.

I think it is kind of tacky to change the subject, just to have a high place in the comment tree. Be a tough guy and bottom post for something new.

Carrying on with the drinks and crime theme though, a broadband advisor chosen by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was arrested last week and charged with fraud for tricking investors into more than pouring $250 million into an Alaska-based fiber optic cable company.

Only the best people.

Said the blog comment cop.

Not a cop, just moral guidance.

Would only add that the status of Houston as the city with the second-highest number of Fortune 500 HQs in the US (many of them oil [right leaning but with a cosmopolitan bent that comes from doing business all over the world], and healthcare [mixed leanings]) as well as high numbers of asian immigrants helps with this diversity

Also every conversation with Tyler is with an actual Straussian given that it is a conversation *with* Tyler ;)

Boise. Blue bubble (but not overwhelmingly).

Austin, same.

If you include suburbs then it's pretty diverse, albeit segregated. There were at least a couple aggressively conservative city council members. Troxclair and Zimmerman, though I think Zimmerman lost hist most recent election.

Bubbles are also useful for those interested in not moving at all: I live in one of those metro areas with a city emptied out of non-black people, and where white flight is alive and well. You could look for diverse opinions if you work pretty hard at it, but things are organized in such a way that one has few reasons to interact with anyone outside of its tribe. A fun part of traveling around the city near election season is to look at the signs in suburbia: You will find few neighbors with opposing signs, as housing is cheap enough that people just move. The one difference might be suburbia that are turning over by age, where the old and conservative are sometimes replaced by younger and liberal, but even then, it's rare, as said young and liberal look for suburbs of a very different density than the conservatives leading the flight.

Sorry I read this blog all the time but must have missed the definition of a bubble, which in my mind is too much of something... I guess based on that criteria, every city has their bubble: in Hollywood it would be movies, NY it would be publishing/finance, DC it's government, Houston it's oil, and the like. In Ohio it would be...no idea. Bob from Ohio would know.

In this case "bubble" refers to the protective clear plastic which prevents people (as in the movie Bubble Boy) without an immune system from becoming infected. In the metaphorical sense, you live in a bubble if everyone around you has the same perspective/outlook as you do.

"In the metaphorical sense, you live in a bubble if everyone around you has the same perspective/outlook as you do."

I would add: "And if you think that's normal."

Usually a defining characteristic of living in a bubble is a belief that what's around you is broadly representative.

Ohio is Ohio State football.

And fake Brazilians

'Mexicans fit along a political spectrum of their own.'

So what? Mexican-Americans are what count in American politics, just like Irish-Americans or Russian-Americans. Who cares whether the Irish or Russians exist along a political spectrum of their own?

After all, it is not the Cubans in Miami that are distinctive, it is the Cuban-Americans.

Prof. Tabarrok may be a Canadian-American, but he most certainly is not a Canadian that fits along a political spectrum of his own because he was born in Canada.

You appear to be ignorant of American usage (how long have you been gone?). It is common to refer to someone with a particular national heritage using just the demonym of that country, even if their ancestors emigrated generations ago.

Definitely not true everywhere (I was once at a UK conference where an American speaker claimed to be "Irish", to gasps from the audience), but for an American writing about an American context, it is surely correct.

You know, you actually make interesting substantive points at times, when you are not on these stupid "gotcha" kicks.

'It is common to refer to someone with a particular national heritage using just the demonym of that country, even if their ancestors emigrated generations ago.'

Really? Well, you might have a point. After all, Trump has referred to an American federal judge in this fashion - '“Look, he’s proud of his heritage, okay? I’m building a wall,” Trump said of Curiel in June 2016 to CNN anchor Jake Tapper. “He’s a Mexican. We’re building a wall between here and Mexico.”'

And you well may also have a point about not being current on what is going on in the U.S. - that is what happens as one gets older regardless of where one lives.

'but for an American writing about an American context, it is surely correct.'

President Trump is fully on board with that, even if I am not. Any idea when if will be fine for their fellow Americans to start calling African-Americans 'Africans?' In the past, you never heard of an elected official being called 'Irish,' 'Cuban,' or 'Cuban-Canadian' except as an insult impugning their right to be considered a 'real American.' Both sides play this game, of course - it should not be hard to figure who is meant by 'Cuban-Canadian,' and what political orientation most of his opponents have. It is disgusting to see how this has grown, since starting almost precisely a decade ago, in significant part following McCain's choices while running for president.

'when you are not on these stupid "gotcha" kicks'

This time, I actually am not - I found it utterly jarring to hear American citizens referred to as 'Mexicans,' just as I found it jarring - and thoroughly contemptible - to hear a candidate for the presidency of the United States of America referring to a federal judge as a 'Mexican.'

You are not wrong about things shifting in the U.S., and it is likely more obvious from the outside. There is lots more to say - for example, we locked up a lot of Japanese during WWII, right? - but to be honest, it feels as if a tide has turned, and the idea that American citizens are always Americans first seems to be receding, with Trump being a prime example of this mind set, both in reflecting it and in harnessing it for political gain.

That federal judge referred to by Trump is not a Mexican, my sister's husband is not Japanese (and he certainly never refers to himself that way), but then, some people seem to have a hard time grasping that when dealing with their fellow Americans in various settings. For example, here, where the old fashioned Post style guide obviously needs to catch up with modern usage - '‘Oh, konnichiwa,’ Ryan Zinke tells Japanese American lawmaker discussing internment of her grandfathers

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday used a Japanese greeting in response to a congresswoman’s question about preserving the history of Japanese American internment during World War II, drawing rebukes from lawmakers who said his remark was offensive.' https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/03/16/oh-konnichiwa-ryan-zinke-tells-japanese-american-lawmaker-discussing-internment-of-her-grandfathers/

America represents many revolutionary ideas, and one of the most fundamental is that anyone can be an American, regardless of their family's history. Maybe somebody could tell our Scottish president that fact.

Never heard a politician being called Irish except as an insult? How about this reference to the late not-much-lamented Mayor Daley:


Not like the Grey Lady to be using ethnic smears.

And pretty much everything else in his comment is wrong too.

Dan1111 "You know, you actually make interesting substantive points at times, when you are not on these stupid "gotcha" kicks."

Naturally clockwork, responds with a gotcha: "Really? Well, you might have a point. After all, Trump"

I sometimes wonder if we don't have a sockpuppet who actually pretends to be clockwork_prior, to make him look dumb. But, then I look at the post and realize no one else would have bothered writing that post.

The real question is why do people read and respond to him? Fun test, next clockwork_prior_whatever thread, try just reading the replies and see if you can guess what prior was saying. See if you really miss his input. Honestly, i havent read a prior or a rayward or thiago bullshitty brazilian guy post in forever and dont miss their horseshit one bit.

I perked up at the "Mexican" usage as well. It is risky in a land formerly the property of Mexico.

Bonus trivia: the Texans like to pronounce the Llano River with an L sound. (The name Llano, Spanish for "plain," came into use in the nineteenth century.)

I would say that is a regional thing. Most people I talk to in Houston pronounce it "Yawn-O"

I believe my highest readership per capita is in Cambridge, MA.

Not that surprising. It is a very literate city. More importantly Cambridge is not a complete bubble thanks in part to HBS and the Kennedy School. MIT has a lot of tech-libertarian types. The city has also become too expensive for a lot of the former People‘s Republic of Cambridge socialists.

If true, a lot of that would be "Know Thy Enemy" reading.

Same reason I will sometimes intentionally click on an NYT link.

Be sure to give your Starbucks managers better guidance.

San Francisco is clearly the most ideologically diverse US city. Remember diversity only includes thoughts, assumptions and beliefs that fit the Progger's world view.

Diversity only exists along three dimensions: gender, skin pigmentation, sexual orientation. Anything else is a debunked myth.
Diversity of political opinions is literally the Nazi Holocaust.

Can't get Twitter share link to work.

In Anchorage, Gary Johnson got over 5% and Jill Stein about 2%. Darrell Castle and other 3rd parties plus write-ins got over 3%. So 1 in 10 are non-zombie voters. About as diverse as it gets.

Zombies have no higher brain function. Therefore a Jill Stein voter is by definition a Zombie.

Stein and the Greens support ranked choice voting and deserve credit for that however noxious their authoritarian positions on other issues.

Actually that is probably within the range of useless idiots voting incorrectly because they could not read the ballot paper.

Washington is perhaps the least diverse and least interesting city in the US. It has almost no working class and very few local customs. It has a large deeply impoverished underclass and a lot of transplants. The transplants, despite superficial ideological differences all tend to be from the same uninteresting shallowly cosmopolitan mold. No other city is so focused on status signaling and power games. Most of the population seems to have no interior life. Pittsburgh would be a better choice.

You make a good case that Washington DC is culturally impoverished.

It has almost no working class

It has an ample population of wage-earners that you simply do not notice, because, like many professional people, the people who fix the roads, fix your car, fix your plumbing, fix your HVAC system, serve you your dinner, register you at the emergency room, deliver the mail, and perform 1,000 other tasks which grease the wheels for you are just pairs of hands to you.

It has a large deeply impoverished underclass

North of 4 million people live around Washington. The troublesome portions are found in the more southerly and easterly sections of DC and in swatches of Prince George's County. Together, these neighborhoods account for just shy of 15% of the population of the whole, just what they'd account for in any randomly selected American city.
and a lot of transplants.

Gosh, I'm really impressed that in addition to TC's reading acumen, he has had in-depth conversations in all of our major cities with a significant fraction (sample size, assuming he randomized) of that city's population. What would that be? 1% ? 0.1%? or for, say NYC 8,000 people, at least. (more if he didn't randomize)

"In other words, urban American is doing pretty well on intellectual diversity once you get out of (parts of) Manhattan and San Francisco and Seattle."

So then where are the *least* intellectually diverse areas? A rural county in Montana? Another big city that's less ideologically-mixed?

Is there any relationship between population size and intellectual diversity?

Of the three broad categories, which is most and which is least intellectually diverse on average: Urban, suburban, rural areas?

Minneapolis-St. Paul is ideologically homogeneous. A new car in a showroom there already carries a "Wellstone" bumper sticker, even though he's been dead for sixteen years.

Minneapolis has a higher murder rate than Las Vegas. Or LA. 11.4 per 100,000. It is 18% Black. St. Paul has a murder rate about half of that. But it is not much less Black.

I think there is a reasonable degree of ideological non-comformity.

I suppose when one drug dealer dispatches another in a battle over a particular street corner that's an indication of ideological non-conformity.

I am pretty sure that in the rest of the state, perhaps even in St Paul, there are street corners where no one shoots other people. Even over drugs.

Wisconsin - where almost all the street corners are below average for murder.

Of course, a good chuck of Wisconsin street corners have one bar, and a chunk of the vehicles parked there are tractors.

MN is less homogeneous than you think. Politico reports the results of the last presidential election:
H. Clinton 46.9% 1,366,676
R D. Trump 45.4% 1,322,891

As far as the crime rate, Minneapolis makes up only around 400K of the Mpls-St Paul Metropolitan area's 3.5 million people. The crime rate over the whole metro runs about the same as for the US in general at 2796/100,000.

Re: Knoxsville: TN.
Lyman Stone tried to prove this (most normal and weird cities/metro areas in the US) using 20 categories of ACS data
[he explicitly chose to exclude measurements of explicit politics/ideology]

"Oklahoma City is less than 1 standard deviation from the mean on every single variable." (though he admits this would change if he included % Native American).

Knoxville has a score of 9.54 which ranks 52nd and Louisville and Jacksonville rank in the top 10. It's hardly the last word but it's an awesome attempt to quantify like this.

Jacksonville, FL ranks in the top 10 for normalcy, versus Jacksonville, NC which is in the top 10 on the list for wierdness.

Fundamentally, this is a more data-centric approach than what Tyler posted.

Surely he should derive the Principal Components of the data and measure distance from the centroid that way?

I dunno, kids these days who think SD is everything...

Isn’t Atlanta pretty diverse? I’d say the same for most big cities in the south.

By "ideologically diverse" I suspect what Cowen means is non-partisan (partisan in the context of the Republican-Democrat divide). As for ideologically diverse, is there a more ideologically diverse crowd than the folks who encamp in the Libertarian-Authoritarian Axis. Was it inevitable that self-described libertarians would be drawn to authoritarianism? There is the adage that polar opposites are more alike than different. Indeed, when one locates at one end of the spectrum, where is she to go but to the other end; if one could see to infinity, wouldn't one be looking at the back of her head? The alternative explanation for the Libertarian-Authoritarian Axis is that few self-described libertarians are actually libertarian. I mean, what is a libertarian? I suspect it's one who is for the most part satisfied with the current political and economic systems but would prefer to pay less in support of them and be subject to fewer restraints on one's personal and business conduct. No, not conservative, for conservatives value order and stability above all else (including social, economic, and political stability), while libertarians support disruption especially disruption that affects somebody else. The libertarian is above all else concerned with self, and is willing to resort to authoritarianism if necessary to achieve her goals. Wherever self-described libertarians are located, that's the most ideologically diverse place in America.

Bravo. Orwell would be proud. The libertarian-authoritarian axis made sense. An axis shows both extremes. Then you either misread what an axis is and conflate the two poles, or invoke Orwell, as those of your ideology often do.

Conservatives and libertarians often share beliefs as they are both founded on individual rights. The left favors governmental rule, by force.

Pretty wide of the mark, rayward.
The vast majority of people, when they claim to be libertarian, progressive, or conservative, mean they have a preferred direction they want the country to go in. They do not have a fully fleshed out ideology that defines end goals. Only the few obsessives on all sides have those. So almost all those who claim to be one of the above, or another political ideology, really mean "mostly status quo with all change in my preferred direction"
Trying to tie some half-assed political theory in to the potshot at libertarians you felt an irresistible compulsion to include makes little sense.

"Washington, D.C. and environs. The intellectual class in this city is about half conservative/Republican/libertarian and always will be — just don’t think too hard about who actually lives here!"

I'm not sure what the latter is supposed to mean, or how you define "intellectual class", but Washington DC is about the *least* politically diverse place I know of.

In the 14 elections since 1964, when it got a vote in the Electoral College, it's gone strongly Democrat every single time. It averages 85% Democrat, and only twice has it been less than 80%. It's gotten even more one-sided in recent years, with the popular vote averaging 90% Democrat for the past 5 elections.

You are in the intellectual class if you have been given a secret decoder ring. Evidently you don't have one. Nominations for entry into the intellectual class can be submitted to me. All decisions final.

Houston is the most stupid (and obese) city in America. sorry.

It has a great Adult Soccer League, get out there.

Is this website a bubble?

Does it really matter where you live when we are all connected by the internet?

DC* sort of falls into its own category here. As Tyler notes, the intellectual class is diverse in the sense that every political party and region of he country (and most parts of the world - even some unrecognized entities like Taiwan have a presence here) have some sort of representation.

On the other hand, the sheer size and impact of the “intellectual class” sort of suppresses other influences that people might think of as contributing to diversity. This is perhaps reflective of the overall disconnect we saw in the last election, where both parties saw candidates that the DC types could get behind struggle (and ultimately defeated by) political oddballs that weren’t darlings of the DC crowd.

*understanding that DC in this context includes the surrounding areas of Virginia and Maryland

"The proper conclusion may be that intellectual bubbles are a useful means of moving forward."

Also, and maybe more so, backwards.

Intellectual bubbles seem to be able to get one problem solved, but screw up everything else while at it. I doubt if we'd see people lining up for a shot if one were available to make you autistic.

I would nominate Raleigh, NC.

It's got a major research university and a fairly high number of young people so you are going to get a fair amount of liberal opinion. But it is in a Southern Red/Purple state and includes a lot of suburbia and folks who moved in from more rural areas so conservative opinion is also quite represented. Also religious life is still going strong (including the mainline protestant and catholic churches) and is a fairly strong influence on the community through YMCA/Salvation Army/Young Life etc. Also it is the state capital so you get lots of technocrat/govt workers and political types. Add in the vast amounts of folks who have moved in from NE/MW and you have a pretty good mix.

Its also fairly ethnically diverse. 53.3% non-Hispanic White, 29.3% Black, 11.4% Hispanic, 4.3% Asian. And because the schools county based and bus by income, if you have kids you are very likely to interact with all these groups.

Also Republicans and Democrats both regularly win city and county wide offices.

"Somewhere in Ohio? Columbus or Cincinnati?"

Cincinnati is really the most northern city in Kentucky. Not typical of Ohio at all.

Columbus might be a good choice. Its a liberal city surrounded by conservative suburbs. State government and insurance are the dominant industries with a very large Ohio State University to provide liberal seasoning. [OSU is more mainstream than a lot of universities since it draws kids from the very conservative parts of the state and is a BIG football place.]

Pretty much everything south of I-70 (other than Columbus and its suburbs and maybe Dayton) is culturally Kentucky. Something similar is true in Indiana and Illinois. The people who settled these areas generally came from Virginia via the Ohio River rather than from New York and New England via the Erie Cabal.

Chicago? If you include enough of the suburbs, then maybe there's *some* ideological diversity, but the city proper is left of Stalin.

As a resident I strongly disagree. Zoning seems to have a minimal impact in restricting housing supply in the areas surrounding downtown when compared to other major cities (many projects are actually upzoned because of the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund*). The taxes in the city are actually lower than most of the surrounding suburbs as a result of reliance on tax revenue from a CBD that is by far the country's second largest behind NYC.

The city's two premier universities, UChicago and Northwestern, are private and not especially left-leaning (and neither are DePaul or Loyola).

The city has a long history of market-centric employment and large-scale industrial labor that carries through to today. The elite makeup of the city seems comparable to the elites of other cities--but I would say there are a few more petty bourgeoisie given the cities history.

City hall definitely pays some lip service to social justice issues but most their focus seems to be on attracting corporate relocations and mega-infrastructure/recreation projects that benefit the elite as much as anyone.

*The Neighborhood Opportunity fund is an underrated policy innovation in my opinion. It breaks the NIMBY / left redistributionist political connection allowing density to move forward.

No two people in New Hampshire have the same viewpoint ;)

Oh, and good trolling, calling DC diverse... have you actually visited DC? If you did, you must have been standing inside the Cato building ;)

>I have several nominations for #2:

Why speculate? This is a question that can be easily answered using voting data.

FWIW, you'll also need to decide if you are just talking the city itself or the broader metro area.

I think it would be useful to approach this thought experiment with a bit more structure. Why not provide a working definition of ideology and diversity? Are we strictly talking about systems of belief (i.e., political ideologies, economic ideologies, religions) or are we talking about cultures? Do we consider diversity to mean the richest multiplicity of ideologies (however defined) or a composition of ideologies in which no one or two ideologies predominate? These answers matter a great deal. If you are looking for a richest multiplicity of systems of belief, New York and LA are far and away the most diverse. If you are looking for places that are "balanced" somehow between liberals and conservatives, there is a wealth of survey data that you could look at to see which metro areas have the greatest balance between liberals and conservatives (some links are below).


Anyone else think it's odd that Tyler sees the question "What is the most ideologically / politically diverse city?" but answers the question "Which city has a reasonable number of Republicans in it?" What a strange proxy for ideological/political diversity!

More ideological space separates the anarchoprimitivist, Moldbuggian, and Maoist you're likely to be sharing over-hopped microbrews with in Berkeley than the Republican and Democratic lobbyist you're schmoozing with over cocktails in D.C., and you're more likely to be challenged in your ideas by the former and packed into conventional-thinking gauze by the latter.

Almost no one you're likely to meet in this world is going to be an anarchoprimitivist, a follower of Mao or a follower of Moldbug. These are onanistic online discussion circles.

Tucson, Arizona isn't bad. It's got a large Hispanic population, but also a lot of conservative whites and libertarians, Mormons have a big influence in Arizona, but there's also a significant West Coast cultural influence. Political party is about a 50/50 split Democrat vs. Republican.

And it's a college town. So you have a good mix of rural white redneck Republicans and left-leaning college kids, and the Hispanic population for ethnic diversity.

Tuscon is a second-tier metropolis with a research university present. That's a normal feature of second-tier cities. There's about 800,000 people around Tucson of whom maybe 5% are enrolled at the university (commonly present only seasonally). A 'college town' is a place like State College, Pa or Ithaca, NY, where the institution and knock-on effects of its presence account for most of the population of the community. (Cambridge, Mass is a suburb of Boston, not a 'college town', btw).

Sure. However you want to define it. It's a diverse place that has liberals and conservatives and people all over the political spectrum.

Canadian here scrolling for a Tuscon mention. Certainly seems like the Liberal heart of Conservative AZ.
I was also going to suggest Albany, but perhaps that's more stratified than diverse.

1. Lesbians!

I suspect Manhattan is still in first place in terms of conservatives per square mile.

"But sometimes when I'm in a theater I can feel them."---Pauline Kael

Las Vegas. Everybody goes to Vegas. Everybody. It's a transient mess.

Could be St. Louis. Bubbles would never inflate. Its quite religious and therefore, more conservative than average, but has a decent amount of immigration (Eastern Europe), very high minority representation and overall seems quite educated and with Wash U at least, has a positively top-ranked education. Also, it appreciates arts and green spaces.

San Diego. Military, beach bums, liberal elite and big business.

Bingo. Also both city and county are 50-50 R-D in most elections.

Also fopr Houston TX: "Charles W. Corey of the U.S. Department of State said that it has been estimated that Greater Houston has the largest Nigerian expatriate population in the United States. [48] As of 2014 an estimated 150,000 Nigerian Americans live in Houston.[51] As of 2003 Houston has 23,000 Nigerian Americans. Many Nigerian Americans choose Houston over other American destinations due to its warmer climate and the ease of establishing businesses.[49] Nigerians in Houston are highly educated and often have postgraduate degrees.[52] Nigerians in the Houston area opened Nigerian groceries, restaurants, and churches.[53]"

Yep. Hakeem Olajuwon FTW!

I am not seeing anyone reference Charles Murray work on bubbles and his bubble test. This is one summary and it lists the cities (zip codes actually) with the most impermeable bubbles: http://www.aei.org/publication/the-return-of-the-bubble-quiz-the-100-zip-codes-with-the-thickest-bubbles/

Nationwide, the average index score is 45 and the lower the score, the harder the bubble, the more experientially isolated those inhabitants are. These high-isolation bubble zip codes average around a score of 27 (thick bubble). The respondents in the thickest bubbled zip codes are a full standard deviation more isolated than the average American.

The list of zip codes with the most number of the strongest bubbles are the usual suspects - New York, Boston, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago.

Of Tyler's three nominations for least likely to be in a bubble, two (Chicago and D.C.) actually have multiple zip codes as the most experientially isolated.

Interesting question but, per the proxy of Murray's Bubble Test, wrong answer.

Vegas baby!
As someone who lived all over Chicagoland and now lives in Vegas, Vegas is much more diverse. Chicago gentrifies into its conclaves which are fairly lopsided politically. Vegas is split all over in just about every way imaginable. Ask around.

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