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Ethnic Diversity in Metropolitan Areas Essay

Ethnic diversity in certain metropolitan areas can be richer and more obvious than in other areas because of the influence of historic and social tendencies of migration. In addition, differences in the economic development of the United States’ metropolitan areas can also be observed as a cause of ethnic diversity or as a consequence of this population’s specific heterogeneity (Kuebler and Rugh 1357).

As a result, it is important to focus on two viewpoints which are associated with discussing the relationship between the ethnic diversity and significant changes in the economies of the U.S. metropolitan areas.

On the one hand, the significant ethnic diversity in the large metropolitan areas is associated with the high economic status of these territories as a cause of the phenomenon based on the talent distribution theory (Chen 71; Farrell and Lee 1110). On the other hand, ethnic diversity of the U.S. metropolitan areas is a result of these regions’ economic progress which is usually discussed as a motivating factor for migrants (Farley 604; Li 22).

While focusing on the first approach, it is important to note that the economic progress and the high household income of the population in the U.S. metropolitan areas is a direct result of high levels of the ethnic diversity. Chen explains this idea with the focus on the theory of talent distribution and on the principle of tolerance-based diversity (Chen 72).

According to Chen, talent distribution based on ethnic diversity influences the economy of different regions, while “indirectly affecting the difference in income per capita across U.S. metropolitan areas” (Chen 72). In their research, Ratna, Grafton and Kompas also state that ethnic and linguistic diversity “contributes positively to hourly wages and employment density of U.S. natives” (Ratna, Grafton and Kompas 860).

This factor influences positive changes in the minorities’ income as well as the income of the metropolitan areas where they live because representatives of different ethnicities can be discussed as the main labor force in these areas (Chen 71; Farrell and Lee 1109). In this case, the factor of ethnic diversity is closely connected with the idea of distribution of wealth in the metropolitan areas.

From this perspective, Ratna, Grafton and Kompas note that the racial diversity can be discussed as positive phenomenon for “most industries in the US, but more so for industries with high skill concentration, and productivity of white workers” (Ratna, Grafton and Kompas 860).

In this context, Chen focuses on long-term results of immigration and ethnic diversity while stating that these factors can “bring benefits to a community and a country” (Chen 75). Therefore, the ethnically diverse metropolitan areas can develop more actively and rapidly than the other regions of the United States because of differences in the talent distribution and differences in occupied jobs and because of the specifics of distribution of labor force and wages for migrants and non-migrants in these regions.

According to Farrell and Lee, the analysis of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas supports the idea “that most neighborhoods are becoming more diverse and that members of all groups have experienced increasing exposure to neighborhood diversity” (Farrell and Lee 1108).

Following the findings by Farrell and Lee, it is also necessary to state that the “Latino population dynamics have emerged as a primary force driving neighborhood change” (Farrell and Lee 1121).

The Latino population is discussed by the researchers as an indicator to speak about the increasing diversity in the metropolitan areas and as the factor associated with the stable economic growth in these areas (Farrell and Lee 1121). From this perspective, the ethnic diversity leads to the residential diversity and to many significant changes in the economic patterns followed in the metropolitan areas.

As a result, the changes in the principles of the ownership and the population’s incomes can also be considered as caused by the factor of ethnic diversity as a driving force (Farley 619; Kuebler and Rugh 1357).

From this point, the economies in the metropolitan areas are influenced by the ethnic diversity because of differences in the character of ethnic communities and origins of immigrants (Chen 76; Farley 619; Kuebler and Rugh 1357).

Therefore, becoming more diverse, the metropolitan areas become more open to new economic investments and strategies, and the overall level of the population’s income increases as a result of the areas’ economic growth.

Recent researches in the field of the metropolitan areas’ economic and social development also support the idea that the ethnic diversity in certain areas is a consequence of these districts’ rapid economic growth. Thus, changes in the social capital and household income of the diverse population are not a result of the ethnic diversity, but they should be discussed as factors which accompany the changes in the racial pattern of the metropolitan areas (Ratna, Grafton and Kompas 861).

It is also possible to state that the more fragmented society cannot contribute to the economic growth of certain districts because fragmentation or diversity is a cause for prolonged conflicts in the society (Farley 605). That is why, such aspects as the ethnic diversity, disparities in income, and the overall economic situation in the metropolitan areas are connected according to the principle of the cause-and-consequence relationship, where the economic progress of the areas is a cause and the increased ethnic diversity is a consequence.

Immigrants choose metropolitan areas with advanced economies in order to improve their living conditions. As a result, the percent of the U.S. population born in a foreign country was “13% in 2000 and remained at this level until 2010” (Li 21). In addition, in 2010, “the share in European countries decreased to 12%, while the shares in Latin American and Asian countries increased significantly to 53% and 28%, respectively” (Li 21).

These data can be analyzed with references to the idea that the high ethnic diversity is observed in the metropolitan areas with advanced economies because they are attractive for immigrants. Li also notes that immigrants contribute to making metropolitan areas ethnically diverse because they often migrate from one metropolitan area to the other in search of a better life and more beneficial conditions (Li 23).

However, in spite of the fact that two presented positions are based on different approaches to discussing the relationship between ethnic diversity and income in metropolitan areas, the arguments of researchers can be discussed as supporting the idea that the most significant changes in the household income and economic progress are observed in the metropolitan areas where the ethnic diversity levels are highest. Pointing at the high levels of the household income, it is necessary to refer to the factor of ethnic diversity in the certain region.

Works Cited

Chen, Xinxiang. “Tolerance and Economic Performance in American Metropolitan Areas: An Empirical Investigation”. Sociological Forum 26.1 (2011): 71-96. Print.

Farley, John. “Even Whiter Than We Thought: What Median Residential Exposure Indices Reveal about White Neighborhood Contact with African Americans in U.S. Metropolitan Areas”. Social Science Research 37.2 (2008): 604-623. Print.

Farrell, Chad, and Barrett Lee. “Racial Diversity and Change in Metropolitan Neighborhoods”. Social Science Research 40.4 (2011): 1108-1123. Print.

Kuebler, Meghan, and Jacob Rugh. “New Evidence on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Homeownership in the United States from 2001 to 2010”. Social Science Research 42.5 (2013): 1357-1374. Print.

Li, Qiang. “Ethnic Diversity and Neighborhood House Prices”. Regional Science and Urban Economics 48.1 (2014): 21-38. Print.

Ratna, Nazmun, Quentin Grafton, and Tom Kompas. “Is Diversity Bad for Economic Growth?: Evidence from State-Level Data in the US”. The Journal of Socio-Economics 38.6 (2009): 859-870. Print.

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IvyPanda. "Ethnic Diversity in Metropolitan Areas." March 26, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ethnic-diversity-in-metropolitan-areas/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Ethnic Diversity in Metropolitan Areas." March 26, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ethnic-diversity-in-metropolitan-areas/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Ethnic Diversity in Metropolitan Areas'. 26 March.

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