Benefits of Diverse Communities
Diversity stimulates local economic growth.
According to economist Phillippe Legrain: “The bottom line is this: Since diversity boosts innovation and innovation is the source of most economic growth, critics who claim that immigration has few or no economic benefits are profoundly mistaken. Immigration makes for a richer life in every sense.”
In their study entitled “Rethinking the Effects of Immigration on Wages,” Italian economists Gianmarco Ottaviano and Giovanni Peri found that diversity has actually increased productivity in the U.S.
Diversity produces culturally vibrant communities.
Mark J. Stern and Susan C. Seifert of the UPenn Social Impact of the Arts Project wrote a paper entitled “Re-presenting the City: Arts, Culture, and Diversity in Philadelphia” in which they described the relationship between community involvement and ethnic and economic diversity in an urban setting. From the introduction:
"Cultural policy and urban policy cannot afford to ignore the connections between diversity and cultural engagement. Arts and cultural institutions and engagement give identity to diverse urban neighborhoods. At the same time, diverse neighborhoods furnish a large part of the audience that supports regional and community cultural institutions. Finally, diverse neighborhoods with high levels of cultural engagement are often the engine of economic revitalization for urban communities."
Diverse schools enrich the lives of all students and prepare them to thrive in a multicultural world.
Diversity Digest released an article entitled “Who Benefits from Racial Diversity in Higher Education?” that answered the question using research from several studies done on the topic. According to the article, “Socializing with someone of a different racial group or discussing racial issues contributes to the student's academic development, satisfaction with college, level of cultural awareness, and commitment to promoting racial understanding.”
Eileen Kugler, president of Kugler Communications, has been an outspoken advocate of diverse schools in the DC area for more than 25 years. In an article entitled “Diverse Schools: A First-Class Educational Environment” she writes:
Beyond the enriched academics, diverse schools offer the perfect environment for teaching tolerance and respect. Students learn that their perceptions may not be the only reality…When students’ eyes are opened to new worlds, they open their minds to new approaches, new ways of thinking. Students from diverse schools are at a distinct advantage as they prepare for the changing world they will face as adults.
Read this and other articles about diverse schools at Kugler’s website
Diversity improves access to jobs.
While employment gaps have narrowed in the past few decades, there are still significant differences in rates of employment between Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics. At the end of 2004, the employment rate for Whites was 63.2 percent and for Blacks was 57 percent. For Hispanics, the rate was actually higher at 63.9 percent; however, the unemployment rate for Hispanics at 6.7 percent was fifty percent higher than the unemployment rate for Whites at 4.6 percent. The unemployment rate for Blacks at 10.8 percent was more than twice the unemployment rate for Whites. These differences in employment rates can be explained to some extent by discrimination in the employment marketplace and by factors associated with segregated residential living patterns.
Recent research in six metropolitan regions by Margery Austin Turner of the Urban Institute finds that “minority workers (and especially low-wage Black workers) [are] overrepresented in central cities, while jobs (especially low-wage jobs) are situated widely throughout the suburbs.” Even though there has been some movement of minority workers to residential suburban areas, “these are often not the suburban jurisdictions that offer the most promising job opportunities. Correspondingly, Black workers in particular are underrepresented in jobs that are located in predominantly White suburban communities.” Turner adds that “. . .residential segregation continues to put considerable distance between minority workers, especially Blacks, and areas of greatest employment opportunity.”
[Margery Austin Turner, “Segregation and Employment Inequality,” in James H. Carr and Nandinee K. Kutty, eds., Segregation: The Rising Costs for America (New York: Routledge, 2008), p. 133. Visit our Resources Page under Publications to found out how to purchase a copy of this book.]