This graph was in last week’s Economist, in an article on the cosmopolitan nature of Canadian cities. The data shows that Vancouver and Toronto are more ‘cosmopolitan’ than many US cities, for instance. The graph notes that the data is from ‘selected cities’, yet if this is indeed a list of the top eleven countries ranked in terms of how cosmopolitan they are – measured by foreign born as % of local population – then it’s also interesting how many are examples of ports and outposts of the great trading nations of the 1700s. With the exception of Dubai and Muscat, which was briefly Portuguese, all are essentially New World colonies (New York, Toronto, Melbourne etc.) or Old World capitols (London and Amsterdam). The influence of trading over those 400 years would seem to be leaving an indelible stamp on those cities and their citizens (though it’s odd not to see cities like Rio de Janeiro or Johannesburg there too.) History pervades.
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