The term diversity (or diverse) is often used to describe political entities (neighborhoods, cities, nations, student bodies, etc.) with members who have identifiable differences in their backgrounds or lifestyles. The use of the term diversity may encompass differences in racial or ethnic classifications, age, gender, religion, philosophy, physical abilities, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, gender identity, intelligence, mental health, physical health, genetic attributes, behavior, place of origin, cultural values, or political view as well as other identifying features.
Many support the idea that diversity is valuable and desirable hold that recognizing and promoting these diverse cultures may aid communication between people of different backgrounds and lifestyles, leading to greater knowledge, understanding, and peaceful coexistence .For example, "Respect for Diversity" is one of the six principles of the Global Greens Charter, a manifesto subscribed to by Green parties from all over the world. In contrast to diversity, some promote cultural assimilation as the process to lead to these ends.
This use of diversity in this sense also extends to American academia, wherein an attempt to create a "diverse student body" typically supports the recruitment of students from historically excluded populations, such as students of African-American or Latina/o background as well as women in such historically underrepresented fields as the sciences.