Merinos is a very attractive city, and many members of local aristocracy have followed trade routes to join the Great Hub over time. Thanks to that, the cultural diversity of the city is a good sample of that of the whole Cylinder. Hundreds of obscure languages and dialects are spoken, and the diversity of religions in the city is only equalled by the number of exotic restaurants and taverns one can find.
Of course, the main cultural group of the city is still the "common" one : most people claim themselves as part of that mixed up culture, and call themselves as members of the Merinite
ethnicity. Merinites are descended from the three ethnic groups that originally formed Merinos : Coastrels
, and the nomadic Wandrels
Because of its original influence, the city is globally a genderless society, similar to that of the Coastrels or the Wandrels. However, because of the cultural diversity, gender choices are politically acknowledged as a core cultural feat, and as such people coming from cultures that do have social genders are protected and recognized. Still, a lot of conservative families have a lot of difficulties to accept that. Having a gender is often criticized by old families, who regard it as a way to create a hierarchy between people, or to oversexualize them, or to educate mentally unstable children.
Merinos is probably the richest city in the Cylinder, and this doesn't only affect its aristocracy. Almost every inhabitant is able to eat everyday, there are almost no homeless people, and people have access to basic facilities ranging from baths to gyms to hospitals. The median wealth of inhabitants is that of travelling merchants, which is to say it is roughly equal to the wealth of provincial nobility in the rest of the Cylinder. Thanks to that great level of wealth, as well as the presence of the Library, inhabitants have access to a much higher education than what is generally available in the rest of the Cylinder.
Even though the median wealth of the Merinian denizens is high, the city still presents inequalities, and its higher class is on a completely different level from the rest of the population. These richest people are large company owners, militaries, or religious, and most owe their wealth at least partly to some inheritance, as well as a favourited social background.
What is more, because of the city's attractivity, extensive slums have formed around its walls: peasants and poorer merchants coming from far away to seek fortune in Merinos often found out that the city is a way to get wealthier if you are already wealthy, but not necessarily a way to get wealthy if you have nothing to begin with.
While Merinos has a relatively conservative stance toward Perrots
, an estimated 650,000 of them permanently live under its jurisdiction. Unlike in the rest of the rest of the surrounding regions, Perrots are considered as sentient beings, and the purchase of selling of birds as slaves is prohibited since 5404 AR; though this has more to do with the possibility to collect taxes on birds than an actual care for emancipation. Perrots are still mandated to be registered in the Regulating office
, and have a control collar similar to the one enslaved birds have.
While most of the birds in Merinos present the local red, gold and black color pattern, some more exotic birds coming from further away are also present, trying to succeed in the big city. Birds often work low wage jobs, such as messengers, cloth and jewel crafters, or servants; though wealthy Perrots exist in Merinos as much as anywhere else.
Because bird slavery is forbidden, paying a bird exclusively in Feather Coins
is not allowed. However, a portion ranging from a quarter to two thirds of a bird's wage is in Feather Coins. Indeed, thanks to agreements with the Regulating Office, the cost of a Merinos Feather block for the employer is slightly lower than its actual value, as part of it is contained in a mandatory tax for the Perrot regulating office.
Thanks to the quality of the Merinos healing house for Perrots and birds
, as well as the great density of Shamans and doctors in the bird districts, Merinian Perrots are said to have some of the highest lifespan and general health in the Cylinder, only bested south of the Crescent Sea