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Analysis: Metro Atlanta’s most ethnically diverse city is ... Johns Creek?

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By this measure, Sandy Springs, Roswell, and Athens register as more diverse than Atlanta

A scene from the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek.
A scene from the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek.
Photo: Butch Dill/Getty Images

Using a method called the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index, a new study finds that the most ethnically diverse city in metro Atlanta—and indeed, Georgia—is a place commonly associated with palatial housing, golf courses, and a distaste for public transit.


According to an analysis by personal-finance website WalletHub titled “2019’s Most & Least Ethnically Diverse Cities in the U.S.,” the north Fulton County city of Johns Creek is the region’s diversity king—by a long shot.

But this gauge went deeper than genetic heritage and languages spoken.

The study’s motivation involved immigration reform and its continued prominence in headlines and political battles across the U.S.

WalletHub compared 501 of the most populated U.S. cities (not metro areas) based on three main metrics: ethnoracial diversity, linguistic diversity, and birthplace diversity, the latter including other U.S. regions.

Ethnoracial diversity was given by far the most weight (50 points of 100), however.

By those measures, Johns Creek—which describes itself as “the exception to the everyday,” and has been called by Money magazine Georgia’s fifth “snobbiest” place—is considered the 44th most diverse city in the country, per the study.

Source: WalletHub

Johns Creek counted about 85,000 residents in 2017—an uptick of 10 percent in seven years, which could speak to an in-migration of people from other places.

Racial breakdown was about 6.5 percent Hispanic; 9 percent black; 27 percent Asian; and 55 percent white alone, among other races, according to U.S. Census estimates.

The City of Atlanta, by contrast, was about 4 percent Asian; 5 percent Hispanic; 37 percent white; and 52 percent black, per Census statistics. (Atlanta landed way down WalletHub’s list at No. 201, hobbled by low linguistic and birthplace diversity, relatively speaking.)

How Johns Creek’s overall diversity ranking stacked up against the City of Atlanta.

In what might sound surprising, Sandy Springs (No. 80), Roswell (120), Athens (160), and Columbus (183) all registered as more diverse than the state’s largest city.

Across Georgia, the data show that just 55 percent of residents were born in the Peach State, with one in 10 hailing from another country.