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These Are The 10 Most Diverse Places In Michigan

Diversity is the key to any truly successful city, and our latest ranking looks at the most diverse places across a variety of categories in The Great Lakes State.

Randy Nelson

Content Manager

116 articles, 53 comments

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America has been known as “the great melting pot” for well over two centuries, and, in fact, was founded on the idea that our diversity makes us stronger as a whole. That said, there’s no question that it takes people of diverse backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities—even ages, wealth, and education—to make a country great, and the same is true about cities, towns, and smaller places.

With this in mind, the Movoto Real Estate Blog set out to create a new kind of data-driven ranking that looks at how diverse the largest places within a state are. For our first stop, we decided to focus on Michigan, a state that has long embraced and relied on its diverse populace. As it turns out, no place in the Great Lakes State more diverse that Southfield. This Detroit suburb topped the a list of the 10 most diverse spots in the state, which included:

1. City of Southfield
2. City of Dearborn
3. City of Midland
4. City of Battle Creek
5. City of Grand Rapids
6. City of Oak Park
7. City of Farmington Hills
8. City of Dearborn Heights
9. City of Farmington
10. City of Holland

What do we mean by “diverse,” and how did we actually measure it? We’ll explain that next, as well as go into more detail about which places fared best (and worst) across the criteria we looked at. Plus, at the end of this post, you can find a full ranking of every place in Michigan we studied.

How We Did It

Diversity is a term typically used to talk about a mix of people from different cultural or ethnic backgrounds, but it can actually cover so much more. For this ranking, we actually looked at diversity in four separate criteria: race, age, income, and education.

To get started, we compiled a list of the 100 most populated places in Michigan. We then used data from the 2010 U.S. Census to create a diversity index for each place in each of the four criteria. Using the index, we were able to see which places had the most equal distribution of different income groups, age groups, etc. and thus were the most diverse.

Once these indices were created, we ranked each each place across all four criteria from 1 to 100, with one being the most diverse. These four rankings were averaged into one overall Big Deal Score to determine the winner.

We determined Southfield to be the most diverse place overall, but there were places that were more (and less) diverse within the individual categories. Next up, we’ll explain the exact data we looked at for each of the four categories and which places ranked highest (and lowest) in them.

Racial Diversity

This is diversity in the most traditional sense. To determine which places were the most diverse here, we used the U.S. Census (2010) to find what percentage of their population belonged to the following groups:

  • White Alone
  • African American Alone
  • Native American and Alaska Native Alone
  • Asian Alone
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Alone
  • Some Other Race Alone
  • Two or More Races

As we explained above, the most racially diverse place was the one that had the most even distribution across the various racial groups. The most diverse city in this regard was Ecorse, whose population (9,512) broke down as follows:

Most Diverse in Michigan Chart

At the other end of the scale was Marysville, the least diverse place in Michigan. Its various groups (comprising a population of 9,959) broke down as follows:

Most Diverse in Michigan Chart

Age Diversity

Next up we looked at how diverse the populous of each town was in terms of age. The Census actually breaks up age groups into 12 total, ranging from under five years to 85 years and over. The most diverse places in Michigan in terms of age groups was Riverview (population 12,486) and its numbers looked like this:

Most Diverse in Michigan Chart

The least age-diverse place in Michigan was East Lansing (population 48,579), where 61 percent of the population was between 18 and 24 years old. This makes perfect sense, seeing as East Lansing is the home of Michigan State University. Its stats broke down like this:

Most Diverse in Michigan Chart

Income Diversity

We also considered which places had the most even distribution of wealth—in other words, which ones had the most equal number of people in each income bracket. The Census breaks down individual (per capita) average income into 16 brackets, which you can see in the chart below. The most diverse place in terms of income ended up being Midland, a city of 41,683 and our third most diverse place overall. Its income diversity looks like this:

Most Diverse in Michigan Chart

At the other end of the spectrum as the least diverse place in Michigan when it comes to income was Benton Harbor. A whopping 27.4 percent of this city’s 10,038 residents make less than $10,000 per year. When put into chart form, its lack of income diversity looks like this:

Most Diverse in Michigan Chart

Education Diversity

Finally, we considered diversity as it applies to education attainment. The way we measured this was by finding the percentage of residents in each place who fall into the following groups:

  • Less than high school
  • High school graduate (or equivalent)
  • Some college
  • Bachelor’s degree obtained
  • Master’s degree obtained
  • Professional school degree obtained
  • Doctorate degree obtained

The place with the most diversity in terms of education level was East Lansing, which, as we pointed out earlier, is the home of Michigan State University. Thirty-one percent of the 48,579 people in this city have at least a bachelor’s degree, but still the overall breakdown of percentages is the most evenly distributed of any place we looked at. Its stats looked like this:

Most Diverse in Michigan Chart

As for the place that got an F in education diversity, that was Muskegon Heights, a city of 10,856. There, things skew towards the bottom of the scale and the data looked like this:

Most Diverse in Michigan Chart

Diversity Is The Spice Of Life

Once we factored in all four categories, the most diverse place in Michigan turned out to be Southfield—which, as you’ve  probably noticed, didn’t actually rank as the most or least diverse in any individual category. Instead, it ranked highest when looked at across the board.

This really isn’t very surprising when you look at Southfield’s history. It was one of the first suburbs established outside of Detroit, and initially attracted a large number of Jewish residents. They were joined during the 1980s by African American families moving out from Detroit, and subsequently became the wealthiest city in the country with a majority black population, on a per capita basis. In more recent years, lower income residents from Detroit, leaving in the wake of the city’s decline, have contributed to Southfield’s diverse ethnic and economic mix.

The least diverse place we looked at, on the other hand, was East Grand Rapids. There, the residents are predominantly white (97 percent), between 45 and 54 years old (19 percent), have a bachelor’s degree (45 percent), and make between $75,000 and 100,000 per year (13.6 percent). It’s not so much a melting pot as a high-end fondue set, but Michigan wouldn’t be the state it is without it.

Movoto Real Estate’s Most Diverse Places In Michigan

City Population Rank Age Diversity Rank Race Diversity Rank Education Diversity Rank Income Diversity Rank Big Deal Score
Southfield 71,739 1 22 17 26 10 18.75
Dearborn 98,153 2 6 63 7 6 20.5
Midland 41,863 3 13 66 10 1 22.5
Battle Creek 52,347 4 10 23 53 8 23.5
Grand Rapids 188,040 5 63 14 15 15 26.75
Oak Park 29,319 5 35 8 44 20 26.75
Farmington Hills 79,740 7 51 13 6 40 27.5
Dearborn Heights 57,774 8 5 46 49 11 27.75
Farmington 10,372 9 61 16 24 12 28.25
Holland 33,051 10 74 32 8 4 29.5
Ann Arbor 113,934 11 96 22 3 5 31.5
Kentwood 48,707 12 69 15 27 18 32.25
Sterling Heights 129,699 13 42 50 25 24 35.25
Warren 134,056 13 17 36 61 27 35.25
Portage 46,292 15 31 49 32 30 35.5
Harper Woods 14,236 15 32 12 41 57 35.5
Riverview 12,486 17 1 85 31 28 36.25
Westland 84,094 18 40 29 69 14 38
Grand Haven 10,412 19 24 96 30 7 39.25
Norton Shores 23,994 20 30 73 46 9 39.5
Eastpointe 32,442 21 29 10 83 37 39.75
Wixom 13,498 22 87 38 35 2 40.5
Troy 80,980 23 58 27 5 74 41
Auburn Hills 21,412 24 89 19 16 50 43.5
Lansing 114,297 24 82 6 38 48 43.5
Ecorse 9,512 24 12 1 82 79 43.5
Rochester Hills 70,995 27 67 41 11 59 44.5
Ypsilanti 19,435 27 97 11 12 58 44.5
Novi 55,224 27 76 26 13 63 44.5
Monroe 20,733 27 34 65 58 21 44.5
Saginaw 51,508 27 14 5 74 85 44.5
Pontiac 59,515 32 44 3 63 71 45.25
Bay City 34,932 33 26 61 57 39 45.75
Niles 11,600 34 8 40 67 69 46
Kalamazoo 74,262 35 94 21 17 54 46.5
Fenton 11,756 35 20 92 36 38 46.5
Madison Heights 29,694 35 79 45 39 23 46.5
Ferndale 19,900 38 92 39 21 35 46.75
Traverse City 14,674 38 57 90 37 3 46.75
Sturgis 10,994 38 4 77 64 42 46.75
Southgate 30,047 41 41 59 72 16 47
Wyoming 72,125 42 71 37 52 29 47.25
Melvindale 10,715 42 28 18 68 75 47.25
Trenton 18,853 44 45 86 47 13 47.75
Port Huron 30,184 44 18 47 81 45 47.75
Taylor 63,131 46 38 33 92 32 48.75
Grandville 15,378 47 15 78 34 70 49.25
Royal Oak 57,236 48 91 71 14 22 49.5
Grosse Pointe Park 11,555 49 55 52 4 88 49.75
Howell 9,489 50 56 67 60 17 50
Alpena 10,483 50 7 97 71 25 50
Detroit 713,777 52 16 42 59 86 50.75
Flint 102,434 53 27 9 79 90 51.25
Rochester 12,711 54 72 56 18 60 51.5
Sault Ste. Marie 14,144 55 68 28 55 56 51.75
Wayne 17,593 56 39 31 85 53 52
Romulus 23,989 56 62 4 95 47 52
South Lyon 11,327 58 75 93 22 19 52.25
Adrian 21,133 58 48 51 43 67 52.25
Allen Park 28,210 60 19 83 48 62 53
Jackson 33,534 60 36 24 70 82 53
Livonia 96,942 62 46 68 33 66 53.25
Mount Clemens 16,314 63 84 20 50 61 53.75
Grosse Pointe Woods 16,135 64 25 84 23 84 54
Inkster 25,369 65 21 35 78 83 54.25
East Lansing 48,579 66 100 30 1 87 54.5
Walker 23,537 66 52 79 56 31 54.5
Hamtramck 22,423 66 59 2 65 92 54.5
Plymouth 9,132 69 88 89 9 34 55
Coldwater 10,945 70 2 94 76 52 56
Muskegon 38,401 71 53 7 84 81 56.25
St. Clair Shores 59,715 72 47 69 62 51 57.25
Fraser 14,480 73 65 70 73 26 58.5
Muskegon Heights 10,856 74 3 34 100 98 58.75
Lincoln Park 38,144 75 50 48 97 41 59
Clawson 11,825 76 85 75 42 36 59.5
Roseville 47,299 76 54 43 98 43 59.5
Mount Pleasant 26,016 78 98 53 2 89 60.5
Marquette 21,355 79 95 64 19 65 60.75
Beverly Hills 10,267 79 49 57 40 97 60.75
Escanaba 12,616 79 9 74 88 72 60.75
Marysville 9,959 82 33 100 66 49 62
Big Rapids 10,601 83 99 54 20 91 66
Owosso 15,194 84 37 98 86 44 66.25
Burton 29,999 85 66 62 93 46 66.75
Benton Harbor 10,038 86 23 55 91 100 67.25
Wyandotte 25,883 87 73 88 77 33 67.75
Cadillac 10,355 87 11 87 96 77 67.75
Berkley 14,970 89 86 80 29 80 68.75
Birmingham 20,103 90 81 72 28 96 69.25
Highland Park 11,776 90 43 60 75 99 69.25
Flat Rock 9,878 92 78 58 87 55 69.5
Hazel Park 16,422 93 77 44 94 64 69.75
Ionia 11,394 94 93 25 90 76 71
Alma 9,383 95 90 81 51 78 75
Grosse Pointe Farms 9,479 96 64 99 45 95 75.75
Woodhaven 12,875 97 70 76 89 73 77
Garden City 27,692 98 60 82 99 68 77.25
New Baltimore 12,084 99 80 91 54 93 79.5
East Grand Rapids 10,694 100 83 95 80 94 88
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posted on: April 11, 2014
4,663 views, 1 comment

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One Comment

  1. Dixie Wong

    Would you consider a small town like Berrien Springs, Michigan?

 

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