If you were to draw a line down the middle of the contiguous United States, you’d find a surprising difference in the diversity of the populous.
So, we did draw that line, determine the diversity of every state in America, and came out surprised.
The Southern States of the Union are, with some exceptions, a lot more diverse than the Northern States. The single most diverse state? That would be Hawaii, followed in a distant second by California.
Using the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI), a standard measure of inequality, we ranked each state from most diverse to least diverse. The top ten most diverse are as follows:
And the least diverse:
We found it interesting that Texas is such a staunchly Republican state given its level of diversity. Its diversity is a major reason why many pundits believe Texas will soon go blue.
But enough about politics, let’s take a dive into the science behind the maps and graphs.
How We Determined The Most Diverse States In America
We decided to look at racial diversity across America using the most recently available data — the 2011-2015 American Community Survey data from the US Census. Specifically, we looked at table B03002: HISPANIC OR LATINO ORIGIN BY RACE. Here are the actual categories as defined by the Census:
- White alone*
- Black or African American alone*
- American Indian and Alaska Native alone*
- Asian alone*
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone*
- Some other race alone*
- Two or more races*
- Hispanic or Latino
We then calculated the HHI for each state by taking the percent of each of the above for the state, squaring them, and then adding it together. This left us with scores ranging from 2429 (Hawaii) to 8822 (Maine).
Finally, we ranked each state based on the HHI with a lower score being more diverse than a high score. Hawaii took the distinction of being the most diverse, while Maine was the least diverse state.
Detailed List Of The Most Diverse States