4 Montgomery County cities make national top 10 for diversity

The nation’s melting pot is bubbling vigorously in Montgomery County, Maryland.

A Wallet Hub study of the U.S. cities with the most diversity finds Germantown, Gaithersburg and Silver Spring come in at Nos. 2, 3 and 4, and Rockville rounds out the top 10.

Jersey City, New Jersey, tops the list. The rankings of more than 500 of the nation’s largest cities were based on ethnicity and race, language and birthplace.

County Executive Mark Elrich got the news and was happy about it.

“Diversity is one of the attributes I like most about this county, and I believe that this diversity actually enriches our economic development, education and communities,” he said during Wednesday’s weekly briefing with the media.

As of 2020, more than 32% of the county’s residents were born outside the United States. Montgomery County Public Schools has students from more than 164 countries speaking 184 languages.

That enriches residents in more ways than one, Elrich said: “It means that in our schools, neighborhoods and throughout the county, friends, neighbors, kids and co-workers get to know and learn about traditions and values from all over the world.”

“From an economic development perspective, being seen by other people as a place where you can come, operate, be understood, is all to our advantage — and to be culturally accepting, frankly, is to our advantage,” he added. “There’s a big difference between how people may get treated here and in some other parts of the country. And that makes a difference and where a person decides to put down roots and make a home.”

Elrich pointed out that there’s a celebration of El Salvador’s Independence Day Sunday at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, and Panafest, the Pan African Festival, is set for Saturday, Sept. 24, in Silver Spring.

“So, find something interesting to do over the next couple of weeks; explore what’s going on around us and take advantage of being able to look at different traditions, eat different foods and talk to different people,” he said.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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