Charlotte is the most ethnically diverse city in North Carolina, according to a new report from national personal financial institution WalletHub.
The report also found that Charlotte is the 23rd most diverse city in the nation among cities with populations over 300,000.
To identify the nation’s most diverse cities, the report compared more than 500 of America’s largest cities in three categories including ethno-racial diversity, linguistic diversity and birthplace diversity.
According to the latest US Census data, less than 1% of Charlotte residents identify as Native American, Pacific Islander or another ethnicity.
Census data also shows that 17.2% of Charlotte residents were born outside the United States. Of this population, 47% were born in Latin America, 32% in Asia, 13% in Africa and 7% in Europe. One in four children aged 5 to 17 lives in a home where English is not the main language spoken.
Raleigh was North Carolina’s second most ethnically diverse city on the list, followed by Durham, Cary, High Point and Fayetteville. According to the report, Wilmington is the least diverse city in the state among those on the list.
Jobs and educational opportunities fuel Charlotte’s diversity, says city’s chief inclusion officer
Steven Coker, Charlotte Business INClusion program manager, said leadership positions and employment opportunities in sectors such as government, banking, healthcare and education are what have drawn various groups into the city.
“There’s an abundance of opportunity that I think attracts people who live elsewhere,” said Coker, who leads an initiative to increase the participation of minorities, women and small businesses in municipal contracts.
Some also choose to start their own business, but minority owners in Charlotte face many challenges, including access to capital and networking gaps, according to Coker.
However, CBI stepped in to provide networking opportunities and educational opportunities on how to secure city contracts for these business owners, Coker said, adding that there were more than 1,400 MWSBEs in the pool of certified city suppliers.
City officials are also promoting diversity in other areas, such as the Office of Equity, Mobility and Immigration, which led the creation of Charlotte’s Language Access Plan to improve accessibility to government services for residents who do not speak English.
The Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services was also created, which offers several programs to help members of underserved communities purchase homes.
“These are all groups within government where you can see the priority the city places on diversity and inclusion,” Coker said. “We consider it a beautiful thing and something we celebrate.”