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Mapping the Diversity of the Creative Class

Racial and ethnic diversity spurs economic progress; sameness spells economic segregation.
Cities like San Diego rank high for Hispanic creative class diversity.
Cities like San Diego rank high for Hispanic creative class diversity. Mike Blake/Reuters

The interplay between race, ethnicity, and economic progress in the U.S. has long been a complex and politically loaded one, even before the election of Donald Trump. As president, Trump’s embrace of white supremacists and controversial immigration policies have only brought America’s divisions further to the fore. But ethnic and racial diversity is a key factor in America’s economic growth. My own work has looked at the role of factors like openness to immigrants and gays and lesbians in the innovative quality and economic development of cities and metro areas.

I have previously covered the black and white racial divide in the creative class. Today, I want to turn more broadly to the racial and ethnic diversity of the creative class—the nearly 50 million American workers, who make up roughly a third of the United States workforce, spanning science and tech; business and management workers; and arts, design, and cultural creativity. Economist Todd Gabe of the University of Maine ran the numbers for all 350-plus U.S. metros based on data from the American Community Survey by the U.S. Census.