These Are The 10 Most Diverse States In America


We used science and data to determine which States have the most racial diversity.

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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.

Here’s a look:
Graph Of The Most Diverse States In America

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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:

  1. Hawaii
  2. California
  3. Texas
  4. Nevada
  5. Maryland
  6. New York
  7. New Mexico
  8. New Jersey
  9. Florida
  10. Georgia

And the least diverse:

  1. Maine
  2. Vermont
  3. West Virginia
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Iowa
  6. Montana
  7. North Dakota
  8. Kentucky
  9. Wyoming
  10. Idaho

You can compare the breakdown of race in each state in the following chart that ranks each state from most diverse to least diverse.
Map Of The Most Diverse States In America

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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
* Not 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

Rank State HHI
1 Hawaii 2,429
2 California 3,196
3 Texas 3,552
4 Nevada 3,595
5 Maryland 3,777
6 New York 3,835
7 New Mexico 3,859
8 New Jersey 3,876
9 Florida 3,953
10 Georgia 4,008
11 Arizona 4,156
12 Alaska 4,213
13 Illinois 4,401
14 Virginia 4,497
15 Louisiana 4,581
16 Delaware 4,619
17 North Carolina 4,663
18 Mississippi 4,689
19 Oklahoma 4,773
20 South Carolina 4,857
21 Alabama 5,113
22 Connecticut 5,119
23 Washington 5,240
24 Colorado 5,243
25 Arkansas 5,708
26 Massachusetts 5,713
27 Rhode Island 5,784
28 Tennessee 5,891
29 Michigan 5,984
30 Kansas 6,106
31 Oregon 6,149
32 Pennsylvania 6,262
33 Utah 6,511
34 Missouri 6,589
35 Ohio 6,606
36 Indiana 6,610
37 Nebraska 6,649
38 Minnesota 6,756
39 Wisconsin 6,873
40 South Dakota 7,014
41 Idaho 7,044
42 Wyoming 7,237
43 Kentucky 7,395
44 North Dakota 7,620
45 Montana 7,621
46 Iowa 7,684
47 New Hampshire 8,374
48 West Virginia 8,581
49 Vermont 8,771
50 Maine 8,822

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