Montgomery Co. cities top list of most diverse in nation

If you want to find the most diverse city in the nation, a new ranking finds you need look no further than Gaithersburg, Maryland. No. 2 and 3 on the list are also close by, Germantown and Silver Spring, and Rockville ranked No. 13.

According to a study by WalletHub, the Montgomery County city is No. 1 in its ranking of 2023’s most diverse cities in the U.S.

The study looked at the socioeconomic, cultural, economic, household and religious diversity of cities across the nation and found Gaithersburg came out on top.

The city’s mayor, Jud Ashman, said the city has shown up high in rankings before, having topped the list in diversity in years past, but not last year.

“We’re always high up on the list, but I feel redeemed getting our title back,” Ashman said.

Ashman said fostering a diverse community is something he and other city leaders take very seriously. Among the areas in the study that the city excelled in were the ability for residents to receive a good education, racial and ethnic diversity and having residents who speak many different languages.

Ashman said the city is economically diverse, with neighborhoods that fit more budgets than other cities, which he believes plays a role in the study’s ranking.

“So, for people that are in all sorts of stages of their careers and their economic growth, there’s a place for them in Gaithersburg,” Ashman said.

Ashman said the city also prides itself on being welcoming. Lifelong resident Sidney Katz, who’s currently on the county council and was the former mayor of Gaithersburg, said that’s something he believes is key to the city’s No. 1 ranking as well.

“We don’t necessarily take things for granted. We’re appreciative that someone goes out of their way to help,” Katz said.

Katz said that was a big selling point for his grandparents back in 1918, when they moved to the city and opened a store in Old Town Gaithersburg.

“They were looking for work. They were looking for a better life for their for themselves and for their children and for their grandchildren,” Katz said.

Katz said the school system is also a big draw for many of Gaithersburg’s residents.

“People realize that they can be trained to get a good job and to make a nice living for themselves and for their families,” Katz said.

Both the mayor and council member said events in the city also help bring people into Gaithersburg, and leads to some people deciding it would be a great place to live. Among the events are the Montgomery County Fair and the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

Katz said the ranking makes the city and county proud, especially since Germantown and Silver Spring round out the top three of the most diverse cities.

“So we’re very proud of the fact that Montgomery County is listed, and we’re certainly very proud of Gaithersburg,” Katz said.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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