The Most Diverse Cities in the World

London is one of the world's most multicultural cities. Editorial credit: Willy Barton /

There are a number of ethnically diverse cities around the world. However, there are numerous cities that are considered to be the world’s cultural hubs, thanks to their high percentage of foreign-born residents. Some of the most diverse cities in the world include:


Amsterdam is ranked among the most diverse cities in the world with over 177 different nationalities present. The Indonesians were among the first immigrants into the city during the twentieth century right after the Dutch East Indies gained their independence. More people from Spain, Italy, Morocco, and Turkey migrated into the city as guest workers in the 1960s. Currently, individuals of non-western origin are over 33% of the population and approximately 50% of the children in the city. Over 50% of the people living in Amsterdam are of immigrant origin.


Dubai has the highest number of expatriates in the UAE, and some of them migrated here long before the country gained their independence. Over 85% of the expatriates are from Asia. Over 100,000 British citizens are living in Dubai, making them the largest group of westerners in the city. Dubai has a population of about 2.7 million, and over 80% of its residents are foreign-born. The national language of Dubai is Arabic, with English being the second language. Other dialects spoken include Chinese, Telugu, Bengali, Punjabi, Persian, Sindhi, Gujarati and Malayalam among others.


Singapore is one of the most diverse places on the planet. The city has four official languages: Tamil, Mandarin Chinese, Malay, and English. Singapore has a population of over 5.5million people, and over 39% of them are foreign-born. As at 2015, about 1,632,300 of the foreign-born residents were workers/students and 527,700 were permanent residents. According to the 2010 census, over 74.1% of the residents were of Chinese, Indian (9.2%), and Malaysian (13.4%) descent.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the most populated city in the Western United States and the second in the country with over 4 million residents. It is the commercial, financial and cultural hub of Southern California. The city is home to individuals from 140 nations who speak about 224 different languages. Nearly 50% of its residents were born outside of the United States.


Toronto is home to over 200 distinct ethnic groups and was ranked second by the UN as the city with a the largest foreign-born community right after Miami. The capital of Ontario has over 160 languages with English being the primary dialect. Over 50% of the people living in Toronto are of foreign origin. The majority of residents are from the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Africa. Over 100,000 immigrants are estimated to arrive in the city annually. The city’s ethnicity is reflected in its neighborhoods like Little Jamaica, Little India, Little Italy, Koreatown, Greektown and Chinatown among others.

New York

New York just might be the most diverse city on the planet. New York is home to over 8.6 million people and over 800 languages. Out of the five boroughs in the city, Queens is the most diverse. Over 37% of the people in New York were born outside of the USA. Some of the largest immigrant groups are from Russia, India, Haiti, Ecuador, Mexico, China and the Dominican Republic.

Sao Paulo

Multiculturalism in Sao Paulo was introduced by the subsequent immigration wave that began in the late nineteenth century. Over 2.3 million immigrants from all over the world have arrived in Sao Paulo from 1870 to 2010. About 50% of the 9 million foreign-born people in the city are of Italian ancestry. The city has more Italian descendants than any Italian city globally including Rome. The second largest group is of Portuguese ancestry. Even though the primary language in the city is Portuguese, a majority of people converse in Italian. Other languages in the city include Japanese, Korean, German and Hungarian among others.


Other than being ranked among the most visited city in the world, Paris is one of the most populous cities in Europe with a diverse group of different cultures. It is ranked as the second multicultural city in Europe. Over 23.4% of the people living in the Paris area and over 26.2% of Paris’s city residents were born outside the French Metropolitan. Majority of the immigrants in France are from their previous colonies which includes Senegal and Mali among others. As at 2012, 135,853 residents of the city of Paris were from Europe, Asia (91,297), Sub-Saharan Africa (5,059), and the Maghreb (112,369).


Sydney is a multicultural city where over 250 languages are spoken. Even though the primary dialect is the city is English, a majority of the people converse in Vietnamese, Greek, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Arabic among others. About 36% of the over 5 million people living in Sydney are foreign-born. The city received mass Immigration after the Second World War. The majority of immigrants in Sydney are Dutch, Turkish, Indians, Russians, Thai, and Assyrians among others.


As one of the largest English cities, London has one of the most ethnically diverse population in the world. It is considered to the world’s cultural capital with a diverse range of cultures and people. Even though English is the official Language in London, there are over 300 languages spoken in the city. According to the 2011 census, over 36.7% of the London residents or 2,998,254 people are foreign-born, which is the second largest population of immigrants in the world right behind New York. Some of the largest ethnic groups in the city include Arabs, Chinese, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Indians, and Africans.


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