LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A study of ethnic diversity released Wednesday shows the Las Vegas valley is one of the most diverse areas of the country.

Four Las Vegas townships, as well as the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, are in the Top 50 for ethnic diversity, according to a WalletHub survey based on U.S. Census data.

The rankings show the importance of many social issues — including immigration and education — in the upcoming November elections. They also support Nevada’s bid to become the site of the nation’s first primary election.

In rankings that included cities of all sizes, Spring Valley was ranked at No. 5. The area includes the Chinatown neighborhood and extends to one of the fastest-growing commercial areas in the valley where the Durango Station casino project is under construction near Durango Drive and the southern 215 Beltway.

The other Nevada cities and their rankings in the survey of 501 cities in the U.S. (Overall ranking, followed by ranking according to city sizes — large/medium/small as defined by the U.S. Census):

No. 5 — Spring Valley (No. 2 among mid-size cities)
No. 11 — Paradise (No. 4 among mid-size cities)
No. 15 — Enterprise (No. 6 among mid-size cities)
No. 18 — North Las Vegas (No. 9 among mid-size cities)
No. 36 — Las Vegas (No. 13 among large cities)
No. 50 — Sunrise Manor (No. 21 among mid-size cities)
No. 110 — Sparks (No. 45 among mid-size cities
No. 115 — Reno (No. 47 among mid-size cities)
No. 142 — Henderson (No. 38 among large cities)
No. 173 — Carson City (No. 64 among small cities)

People react differently to diversity, but one professor said it should be viewed as a positive. “I think the first reaction is often fear – but maybe it should be excitement over the opportunities it can create,” said Rice University professor Stefanie K. Johnson.

“Interacting with people who have different views and backgrounds facilitates innovation and creativity,” according to Johnson. “And, having social connections with people who hold different identities reduces bias and makes us better and more helpful towards others. The contact hypothesis shows that one of the best ways to reduce racial bias is to form personal connections with those from a different race. Bonus points if those relationships are deep friendships.”

Source: WalletHub

The overall rankings show the nation’s Top 10 most-diverse cities:

  1. Jersey City, New Jersey
  2. Germantown, Maryland
  3. Gaithersburg, Maryland
  4. Silver Spring, Maryland
  5. Spring Valley, Nevada
  6. New York, New York
  7. Kent, Washington
  8. San Jose, California
  9. Oakland, California
  10. Rockville, Maryland

Paradise, the Las Vegas township just east of Spring Valley, includes the Las Vegas Strip and extends eastward all the way to Nellis Boulevard. It came in just outside the Top 10, ranking No. 11.

The full WalletHub survey, available on WalletHub’s website, suggests that if trends continue, America will be “more colorful than ever by 2045, at which point no single ethnic group will constitute the majority in the U.S. for the first time.”

Cities were ranked based on ethnicity and race, language and the birthplace of residents.