California was ranked the most diverse state in America and West Virginia least in a study released Tuesday that suggests parallels between diversity and politics.
WalletHub, a Washington, DC-based personal finance website, ranked the 50 states on measures of diversity of race, ethnicity, culture, religion, economic status and educational background, among other characteristics.
The findings have a pronounced political dimension, with the most diverse states generally voting Democratic and the least diverse electing Republicans, although there are notable exceptions.
Of the 10 most diverse states, only Texas (no. 2) and Florida (no. 8) voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Of the 10 least diverse states, only Vermont (no. 48), New Hampshire (no. 47) and a part of Maine (no. 49) voted for Hillary Clinton.
Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, a professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, noted that “growing diversity is almost always a sign of increased economic vitality,” especially in major cities, with immigration contributing to growth.
“Migrants tend to increase the opportunities and earnings of natives, the key exception in the U.S. being native black and white men with less than a high-school degree. They face more competition for low-wage jobs and tend to show small increases in unemployment and drops in earnings. This is one reason why we have the rise of very right-wing politics,” he said.
He said the parts of the country that are the least diverse “also tend to be the parts of the U.S. with the weakest and declining economies,” a fact which amplifies the associated political tension.
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