SUGAR LAND — Nikhil Sabharwal of Toronto stood outside a hotel, next to a cart piled with luggage, holding a tall stick decorated with gold garland, a bhangra dance prop from an Indian wedding he had attended here. Steps away, at a coffee shop, a woman wearing a hijab sat near the spot where, minutes earlier, Lynne Gabriel, a fashion blogger of Filipino descent, had posed for photos for her website.
All of this played out on Monday at the town square in Sugar Land, the largest city in Fort Bend County, which Stephen Klineberg, a sociology professor at Rice University, calls the most ethnically diverse county in America. By that, he means that this county southwest of Houston comes closer than any other county in the United States to having an equal division among the nation’s four major ethnic communities — Asian, black, Latino and white residents.
Fort Bend, home to 627,000 people, was also the fifth-fastest-growing large county in the country between 2010 and 2012, according to Forbes magazine.
“Fort Bend County is the new America,” said Mustafa Tameez, a Houston political strategist. Sugar Land, he said, has become a multicultural city — rather than a melting pot — with various ethnic communities, each maintaining its identity.