Linking diversity to a thriving economy can be troublesome. It comes down to the old scientific disclaimer that correlation doesn’t equal causation. But data from the World Bank and World Economic Forum suggests religious diversity is positively associated with a number of economic indicators, including competitiveness, entrepreneurship, and productivity.
Here in the U.S., there have been studies to back up those numbers. A Harvard University study found less innovation and creation in more religious counties. Areas surrounding San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle, for instance, ranked toward the bottom in terms of religiosity and toward the top for creativity. The region of North Texas was just the opposite.
This data should motivate economic developers to embrace the diversity in their communities, and be open to new ideas. Making communities more inclusive can only benefit their EDOs.
New ideas can come in the form of innovative business solutions, new industries, and new initiatives. Taking the time to consider a different point of view can often lead to unexpected and positive results.
In Cleveland, for example, the former “rust-belt” city’s recovery has been supported by efforts to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce. Local stakeholders, lead by the Greater Cleveland Partnership, have worked to embrace new industries and cultures in the formerly industrial-focused city. Read more about Cleveland’s efforts to embrace diversity, here.
Atlas is proud to to work with cities like Cleveland, and we partner with communities all over the nation to bring visibility and vitality to every place we touch.