Toronto takes on London, New York in diversity game

Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:24am EST
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By Jonathan Spicer

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto may be pushing past New York and London as the world's most diverse city, with half its residents born outside of Canada, new census figures show.

But the bigger rivals of Canada's largest city aren't giving up their claims easily, and all sides admit there's no scientific way to measure the elusive diversity goal.

"Certainly there's no doubt Toronto is one of the world's most multicultural cities. It's catching up to New York and London, but it's still the younger one," said Michael Doucet, geography professor at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Toronto has about a third the population of either London or New York, but beats both of them in terms of the percentage of foreign-born residents, according to the government statistics, which were released this month.

About 27 percent of Londoners were born outside Britain, according to 2004 data, while 2006 figures show that about 40 percent of New Yorkers were born outside the United States.

But place of birth is not the only measurement to make a diverse city, and Toronto's rivals point at language and race as factors to consider.

"London is literally the most international city in the world," a spokeswoman for Mayor Ken Livingston said in an e-mail, noting more than 300 languages are spoken there.

New York went even further.   Continued...