Ogden ranked the most diverse city in Utah

Diversity rankings of Utah's 10 largest cities based on data compiled by Wallet Hub.
Diversity rankings of Utah’s 10 largest cities based on data compiled by Wallet Hub.

There is ample evidence that a region’s diversity across multiple demographics has a direct impact on its economic output as diverse cities and metros tend to perform better economically.

According to a report by the financial website, Wallet Hub, Utah’s most diverse city is Ogden. Wallet Hub looked at the 313 largest cities and organized them based on the site’s previous reports analyzing the social class diversity, ethno-racial diversityeconomic diversity and household type diversity of America’s largest cities.   The study ranked Utah’s 10 largest cities: Salt Lake City, West Valley, West Jordan, Ogden, Layton, Sandy, Orem, Provo, St. George and Millcreek.

Nationally, California and Maryland had the most cities in the top ten with each state with four cities on the list.  Gaithersburg, Md. tops the list as the most diverse city in the country, while Detroit, Mich. ranks as the least diverse.

In Utah, only Ogden ranked among the top third of cities for diversity.  Ogden came in at 97th overall and led the state in household diversity ranking 79th among the largest 313 cities.

Ogden is joined by West Valley and Salt Lake City as the only Utah cities to rank in the top half of U.S. cities for diversity.   West Valley comes in second place with an overall diversity ranking of 109, but the city ranks 89th, and the highest in Utah, for ethnic diversity.   West Valley and Odgen were the only two Utah cities to rank in the top 50 percent for ethnic diversity.  Other leaders in the state were Layton for economic diversity, ranking 20th in the country, and Millcreek for social class diversity, ranking 76th nationally.

Salt Lake City comes in at third place for Utah cities, and 146 nationally.  Salt Lake didn’t lead any Utah cities in any of the diversity categories.  The capital city ranked highest in social class diversity, placing 87th, and economic diversity with a ranking of 110.

Outside of the four main categories, thanks to Utah’s younger-skewed population, large family size and penchant for single family detached homes,  several Utah cities ranked in the top five most and least diverse.  West Valley ranked 4th best in occupational diversity but ranked 5th worst in age diversity.  Provo also ranked low in age diversity, coming in as 2nd least diverse with West Jordan ranked as the least age-diverse city or the 313 largest cities.  Layton and Orem ranked third and fourth respectively, as the least diverse in the country by household type.  Orem may be not diverse in household type, but the city ranked 2nd in the country for household size diversity, with West Valley coming in 1st and Provo in 4th place.

Salt Lake City ranked the highest among Utah cities in age diversity, region of birth diversity and educational attainment.  Salt Lake ranked 129th, 90th and 28th respectively.

In ethnic and household diversity Utah scores very low.  All but three of Utah’s largest cities (Salt Lake, Ogden and West Valley) ranked in the bottom third nationally for ethnic diversity.  While all but Ogden ranked in the bottom third for household type diversity.  Ogden ranked 79th in household diversity, the next highest ranking locally was Millcreek which ranked 225th.

The state may lack ethnic and household diversity, but according to Wallet Hub’s report, Utah is very diverse economically.  Half of the state’s largest cities (Ogden, West Jordan, Layton, St.George and Millcreek) scored in the top third for economic diversity.  West Valley and Salt Lake City ranked in the top half.  Provo, Orem and Sandy ranked in the bottom half, with Provo ranking very poorly in economic diversity, 302 out of 313.

Odgen and Layton’s high ranking in economic diversity is not surprising given a 2015 U.S. Census report listed the Odgen metro (which includes Layton) as the metro with the narrowest wage gap in the country.

Utah’s numbers show several anomalies.  Provo and Orem scored low in diversity but the Provo region has led in recent job growth among the states three largest metros.  Provo and Orem scored in the bottom half in each of the four diversity categories and in the bottom third in all but social class diversity.

Follow the link to view Wallet Hub’s full report and learn more about their methodology.

Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at isaac@buildingsaltlake.com.