What is the US Conference City Diversity Metric

In 2022 at DjangoCon I took a look at the location of all of the PyCon US locations and their makeup by race. I highlighted that in the first 10 years of PyCon’s existence, 9 of those 10 events were in culturally diverse cities like Atlanta, Washington DC and Chicago. The second half was during Python’s boom and the need for larger venues started pushing conferences to more affordable areas with large international airports. These were places like Salt Lake City, Portland, and Montreal.

The metric we used was how much a single racial group makes up the local population. This is what we have labeled the US Conference Diversity City Scale. Here is the breakdown:

Rating Highest Percentage
Poor > 85%
Bad 76-85%
Fair 66-75%
Good 51-64%
Excellent < 50%

Why is it hard to pick Good or Excellent Cities

Using census data can’t be the only factor in choosing a city. Other than white, there is no percentage of race that makes up more than 20% of the population. The most diverse cities are often coastal metropolitans or states sharing a national border.

These areas are also some of the most expensive parts of the country which makes event hosting more expensive.

Also diverse city doesn’t mean diverse area. The general county may be inclusive yet still segregated based on historical struggles. Many of the most diverse areas are also the most neglected leading to the higher rates of poverty, crime, and other issues that would deter a conference from hosting in a nearby venue.

If you’re planning to take your event to a new area remember the closer you are to culturally diverse cities the more likely you’ll have a diverse event. That said your location selection is only a part of the journey to a diverse conference.