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The 7 Most Diverse Cities in California
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The 7 Most Diverse Cities in California

California is one of the few places in the world, where no one race or ethnic group constitutes a vast majority of its population.


5 min read

October 27, 2021

California knows a thing or two about championing diversity. With a long history of being a melting pot of people of different backgrounds, the Golden State ranks first in the nation for cultural and linguistic diversity, and second for racial and ethnic diversity. Not only that, but California is also one of the very few places in the world, where no one race or ethnic group constitutes a vast majority of its population. How cool is that? 

Within the most diverse state in the nation are cities that stand out for leading the pack. We’ve rounded up the most diverse cities in California, and here’s what you need to know about them.

The United States' big cities are becoming increasingly diverse and the Golden State's urban centers are leading the way.

These Are The Most Diverse Cities in California

Basing our findings on the research by the U.S. News and the Diversity Index developed by USA Today, the research only took into account cities with a significant enough population (300,000 and more) to have an accurate portrayal of each state in the country. Without further ado, these are the most diverse cities in California.

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1. Los Angeles

The City of Angels represents a land of opportunity and dreams-come-true for many. Therefore, it’s of no surprise one that La La Land is among the most diverse cities in California. 

Every high-priority characteristic people look for in cities they’re moving to—safety, good schools, great beaches, growth opportunities—is present in Los Angeles for a high price tag that matches its greatness. After all, with 106 colleges within just 50 miles, unparalleled dining and shopping options, and 300 days of pure sunshine, who wouldn't love L.A.? Wondering what the most diverse neighborhoods in Los Angeles are like? Learn about its suburbs and you just might move there. 

Oakland is the third largest city in the Bay Area, the eighth most populated city in California, and the 45th most populated city in the U.S.

2. Oakland

Oakland comes at a close second on the list of the most diverse cities in California, and that’s not very surprising considering it’s the eighth-most populous city in the state. As the largest city of Alameda County, Oakland has the busiest port and serves as a trading center in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Priding itself as being one of the most diverse cities in California, Oakland has lots to offer to visitors and residents alike. Not only are its residents diverse, but so are its natural wonders. You’ll encounter redwood forests, a volcanic park, 19 miles of coastline to the west, and rolling hills to the east. Considering a visit to this East Bay metropolis? Try spotting all the hidden gems when you’re there.

Incorporated in 1897, Long Beach lies in Southern California in the southern part of Los Angeles County.

3. Long Beach

Long Beach is a vibrant city that benefits from its proximity to Orange County and Los Angeles, but still has its own particular flavor and essence. As one of the most diverse cities in California, this beautiful waterfront playground offers residents and visitors everything from deep-sea adventures and whale watching on the water to world-class shopping and a vibrant food scene.

If you’re interested in experiencing the big-city feel without compromising on the small-town community and charm, you’d feel very welcomed at Long Beach. Pair that with a great climate, exciting attractions, unique events, and an attractive shopping and dining scene, and you’ll understand why this SoCal destination is one of the most diverse cities in California.

Sacramento is the seat of the California Legislature and the Governor of California, making it the state's political center and a hub for think tanks.

4. Sacramento

It’s easy to see why the Greater Sacramento area is one of the fastest-growing parts of the state—it’s full of diversity, natural beauty, and plenty of opportunities. Sacramento has been drawing in visitors thanks to its unique blend of Victorian architecture, farm-to-fork restaurants, and Gold Rush history for a while now. But, over the last couple of years, its suburbs have seen an influx of residents as well, particularly from the nearby S.F. Bay Area.

While Sacramento is the most diverse city in the valley, it has so much more to offer. The City of Trees boasts large lot sizes, lower living costs, and natural wonders abound. Plus, it’s super bikeable and boasts plenty of nightlife, quality restaurants, and outdoor adventures. In other words, it’s only a matter of time before we can no longer list the state capital among the most affordable places to live.

San Jose is one of the wealthiest major cities in the United States and the world and has the third-highest GDP per capita in the world.

5. San Jose

San Jose’s economic, cultural, and political climate makes it one of the best places to live in Northern California. One of the most diverse cities in California reaps the benefits of its heterogeneity in many ways. Not only will you meet someone from every culture and walk of life in San Jose, but you'll also find delicious food from every culture, heaps of fun events throughout the year, and lots of opportunities for growth on the horizon. 

Speaking of growth, San Jose is ranked high as one of the best cities for tech jobs in California. It’s home to many large tech companies like Cisco Systems, Adobe, eBay, and Zoom, and more than half of its population has a college degree, meaning high-paying jobs are abundant. Are you a young professional considering moving? Get acquainted with the neighborhoods of one of the most diverse cities in California.

Stockton was named an All-America City several times: in 1999, 2004, 2015, and again in 2017.

6. Stockton

Stockton is unexpectedly quite a diverse city in California. And, as all signs lead to more diversity in the nation’s future, more American cities may look a bit more like Stockton. Currently, about 45 percent of Stockton’s residents are white, while Hispanics come at a close second, forming approximately 42 percent of the population.

This affordable NorCal city is located less than 90 minutes away from San Francisco and surprises residents and visitors in more than one way. If running out of activities is a concern of yours, don’t fret; the city has plenty of fun things to enjoy. You’ll find amazing parks and trails around town, as well as a huge variety of shopping centers and dining options. For prospective movers, safety might be the biggest concern in Stockton, which sadly doesn’t have the best reputation in that department. However, you’ll be glad to know that things are looking up, and the northern and western parts of the affordable city are safe and full of young families. 

Fresno's location places the city a comfortable distance from many of the major recreation areas and urban centers in the state.

7. Fresno

Following closely after Stockton is Fresno, the seventh most diverse city in California. Not only is this Central Valley destination incredibly diverse, but it’s also among the state’s more college affordable towns to live in. Tucked between Monterey and Kings Canyon National Park, this town is a hub for outdoor recreational attractions. 

Fresno has many benefits that outweigh the cons. For example, the city’s lively art scene, great state university, easy-going vibe, and beautiful setting are unparalleled. Won’t take our word for it? Follow our itinerary and take a trip up there yourself. If you find yourself charmed by one of the most diverse cities in California, don’t say we didn’t warn you beforehand.

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