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4 Maryland cities among most ethnically diverse in the country, new study finds

Germantown topped the list. Silver Spring, Gaithersburg and Rockville were also near the top.

GERMANTOWN, Md. — Four cities in Maryland are among the most culturally diverse small cities in the entire country, according to a new study by WalletHub. The new ranking for 2023 found Germantown to be the most ethnically diverse city among 501 cities nationwide. Gaithersburg ranked No. 3, Silver Spring was No. 4, and Rockville cracked the top 10 at No. 8. 

The WalletHub study offers a snapshot of America's current cultural profile. It examined each city based on ethnicity and race, language and birthplace. 

While New York took the top spot for large cities, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Silver Spring and Rockville took the top four spots for small cities, which is defined as having fewer than 100,000 people. 

In order to determine the most ethnically diverse places in America, WalletHub compared 501 of the most populated U.S. cities across three key metrics: 1) Ethnoracial Diversity, 2) Linguistic Diversity and 3) Birthplace Diversity. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the most ethnic diversity. 

Experts say there are benefits to living in a culturally diverse city.

"The biggest benefit of living in a diverse city is the exposure to cultural practices, foods, languages, and values. Exposure to difference teaches us more about ourselves and fosters an open mind," said Dr. Brandi Lawless, Department Chair and Associate Professor for the Department of Communication Studies at the University of San Francisco. 

WalletHub researchers then determined a city's weighed average across all metrics to calculate its  “Ethnic Diversity Score” and used the resulting scores to order each city.

Germantown had an overall score of 73.28, Gaithersburg had a score of 72.59, Silver Spring had a score of 70 and Rockville had a score of 68.71.

Each city in the sample refers to a city proper and excludes the surrounding metro area. WalletHub limited the sample to no more than 10 cities from each state. 

Data used to create this ranking were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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