NEW YORK (PIX11) — The Empire State is the home to the most ethnically diverse county in the country. However, when it comes to a variety of other factors, New York and the tri-state area are less inclusive and diverse than some other states, according to the latest annual survey of inclusiveness from the University of California at Berkeley institute.
Some of its findings came as a surprise for some New Yorkers like Ardif Orbin. He’s a native of Queens, which is actually considered the most ethnically diverse community in the world, according to the World Population Review, as well as census and other demographic analysis sources. Orbin said that one of the many things he loves about his home borough is “going to different neighborhoods, seeing different folks, Spanish people, Bengali people, Jamaican people.”
Victor Davon, a 30-year resident of the borough, agreed. “Indian, Pakistan[i], Hispanic, Chinese,” he said, listing the various ethnic groups he regularly encounters in his life in the borough. Like him, most people who spoke about New York’s diversity and inclusiveness tended to focus on ethnic diversity. However, the new survey on the issue analyzed inclusiveness in six different areas: race, gender, LGBTQ orientation, religion, disability and general population.
The survey, carried out by the Othering & Belonging Institute at Berkeley, ranked each U.S. state and most countries. On the state level, New York ranked ninth. Hawaii was in first place for the fourth consecutive year of the annual survey. Elsewhere among the tri-state region was New Jersey, near the middle of the pack at No. 21, while Connecticut was in the bottom ten, at No. 42. In last place among all of the states: Louisiana.
Claire Lundin, a Queens resident, said that she’d expected New York to rank in the top ten. “I always think of New York as a very inclusive place,” she said, “because Canada is so much smaller.” She’s originally from Canada, which, of course, borders New York. It did well in the rankings of nations, at No. 15. Sweden was in first place. The United States ranked 72 out of the 133 countries reviewed. In that last spot was Yemen.
The Berkeley Inclusiveness Index helps to emphasize why diversity and inclusiveness are important for communities and corporations, as well as for other entities that both serve, according to Alina Polonskaia. She’s the global leader of diversity, equity and inclusion at Korn Ferry, one of the country’s foremost management consulting firms.
“The world is becoming more and more complex,” she said in an interview. “We really have to rethink how we’ve been living, working, connecting. And so In order to deal with this complexity, you need to have a population of people that matches and can comprehend the complexity and nuances of what is going on.”
“The challenge, however,” Polonskaia continued, “is about activating this diversity and inclusion.”
“You need to manage it,” she said, adding that leaders benefit from diversity and inclusion analyses by “having the information and being able to build inclusive capabilities, in order to take full advantage of this wonderful diversity that we have.” Doing so, she said, “is becoming a critical skill for organizations.”