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Atlanta ranks surprisingly low on list of nation’s most diverse cities

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Unlike some cities, though, Atlanta did become more diverse over a decade of sweeping changes, per a U.S. News analysis

A city skyline with trees and a large interstate running through it. Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta

For a city hailed as the forefront of the Civil Rights movement—dubbed “the City Too Busy to Hate” and “Black Mecca”—Atlanta didn’t fare too well in a recent ranking of the nation’s most diverse cities.

The list, a product of U.S. News analyses, puts Atlanta at No. 44 among 66 cities with a population of more than 300,000.

Between 2010 and 2018, a time of sweeping changes in most American cities, the City of Atlanta became just 2.4 percent more diverse, the study shows.

Compare that to Detroit, which grew 21 percent more diverse. It’s worth noting, though, that the Motor City had been one of the least diverse cities on the list in 2010.

Additionally, the most diverse place, Stockton, California, only became 0.1 percent more diverse over the same eight-year timeframe.

The next most diverse cities were Oakland, Sacramento, and New York, respectively.

But Atlanta’s poor ranking doesn’t suggest the city is not a veritable melting pot.

U.S. Census estimates from last year indicate the roughly 500,000-person city proper is 51.8 percent black, 40.3 percent white, and 4.3 and 4.2 percent Hispanic and Asian, respectively.

Recent development trends have played a significant role in shifting racial demographics. A 2019 report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and the University of Chicago ranked Atlanta as the nation’s fourth fastest gentrifying city.

A recent map compiled by Atlanta city government shows where “gentrification pressure zones” are strongest—or nonexistent.

On a related note, personal finance website WalletHub—somewhat surprisingly—deemed Johns Creek metro Atlanta’s most ethnically diverse city last year.

Nationwide, most major cities are becoming more diverse.

There are, however, plenty of outliers, such as Miami, which clocked in at No. 49 on the list of 66 cities.

Miami became almost 10 percent less diverse between 2010 and 2018, the study found.