THE 10 MOST Diverse States In America For 2020

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

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the most diverse states in America.

Map Of The Most Diverse States In America

Click to enlarge

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

Click to enlarge

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.

Here’s a look at the ten most diverse states in America for 2020:

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

And the least diverse:

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

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.

For more reading about America, check out:

The 10 Most Diverse States In America For 2020

1. Hawaii

Hawaii|Hi, HI

Source: Public domain

Population: 1,422,029
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
HHI: 2,416
More On Hawaii: Photos | Rent

Hawaii takes the diversity cake. Look at these numbers: 37% Asian, 24% mixed, 21% white, 11% Hispanic, 10% Native Hawaiian or Islander and 2% black. There’s also a few Native Americans here too.

Hawaii is interestingly the third most economically diverse state, too – meaning there’s a big gap between the rich and the poor here. And 3% of people in Honolulu are Buddhist.

If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, you’d know, this is also a melting pot of cuisine. There’s poke, poi, pineapple, spam musubi, laulau, plate lunch, and of course, shaved ice.

Review Of by Joe Malapitan

I live in Hawaii…totally dark blue. I love it! I agree with pretty much with this. Something that a lot of people forget when they argue that states like Illinois, California, New York and New Jersey are bad places to live, well yeah there are some downsides to living in those states, but what there are a lot of too is opportunity. That’s something that’s missing in all of the states mentioned in this video.

2. California

California|Ca, CA

Population: 39,148,760
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
HHI: 3,159
More On California: Photos | Rent

Of course, California is diverse. And at the rate things are currently going, California will be atop this list at some point soon.

California is currently 37% white, 39% Hispanic, 15% Asian, and 7% African American. When you look at this ethnic mix, you can understand why there are more various languages spoken in California households than any other place in America.

While most people assume California’s diversity stems from a hispanic population boom, in fact, it’s the Asian population that’s stemming a majority of the growth here. This chart shows that Asians have far surpassed California’s recent immigration swing. As such, California has the nation’s highest Chinese population, too.

Overall, as you can imagine, California has the most foriegn born residents. 27% of California’s population was born outside of the US.

In West Virginia, that number is 1%.

3. Nevada

Nevada|Nv, NV

Population: 2,922,849
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
HHI: 3,446
More On Nevada: Photos | Rent

What makes Nevada such a diverse place? It’s less than half white for starters. (Hispanics make up nearly a third of the population, and African American and Asian populations are nearly 10%.)

The Las Vegas metro makes up a quarter of this state’s population. Due to the city’s international flair, it’s a big draw for people from all over the world. It has a large Phillipino population, and 5% of Vegas” population is of mixed descent.

Off we go as we catch a quick flight to our second most diverse state in America – California. We won a little bit of money while we were in Vegas, but we lost it all again. Same as it ever was.

Review Of by TheGuru IsCooking

I live in Nevada and most of those pictures he posted were of Sparks and we have the best tourists destinations around ) and the unemployment rate in Nevada is only at a 3% thank you. 4% better then a state you did not mention which is one of the worst hands down. Check your States and bias facts and then come see me.

4. Texas

Texas|Tx, TX

Population: 27,885,195
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
HHI: 3,488
More On Texas: Photos | Rent

Here in Texas, it’s pretty much a white or Hispanic state. 40% are white, 40% are Hispanic, and the other 20% pretty much black or Asian). Of course, over time, Texas has become very hispanic. Over the last few years, the white birth rate in Texas has shrunk to 33%, and the hispanic birth rate has risen, and is now 47%.

But, across America, the birth rate for Hispanic women has fallen by 31 percent in the last ten years. That’s because now, 2 in 3 Hispanic women were born in the US.

Today’s American-born Hispanic women are less likely to be poor and more likely to be educated than their immigrant mothers and grandmothers, and are more often delaying childbearing so they can finish school and start careers. Hence, in many areas of America, the Hispanic population slowing.

Review Of by Craig Paulsen

I live in Texas I have a better quality of life here then in Cali Come on

5. Maryland

Maryland|Md, MD

Population: 6,003,435
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
HHI: 3,641
More On Maryland: Photos | Rent

So in New York, we picked up this awesome iwatch. Someone on the street said it’s real, so that’s good enough for us. Now? It’s time to take a quick flight to Maryland.

Maryland is the second least white state we’ve seen so far, after New Mexico. Here, half the population is white. About a third are African American, 10% are Hispanic, and 7% are Asian.

Baltimore is the big reason Maryland has such a high black population. Baltimore is 63% black, which makes it the 5th most african americanest city in the country. Going back to 1940, Baltimore was 80% white. That’s a big change.

Maryland also ranks 4th in terms of income diversity. There’s a lot of really rich and really poor people here.

Review Of by Brandon Smith

As a marylander the state is rich the D.C suburbs are rich but western Maryland is poor I’m talking p**s poor it’s farms factorys hills whores and liquor stores it’s the kinda area where if you touch a man’s cigarettes he will probably kill you and I know this cuz I’m from western Maryland……i do love my state though

6. New York

New-York|Ny, NY

Population: 19,618,453
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
HHI: 3,754
More On New York: Photos | Rent

Of course New York is one of the most diverse states. This chart shows just over half of the population is white, and its 20% Hispanic, 18% black, and nearly 10% Asian. Notice New York is also 2.6% mixed race, which is really high.

New York is home to the nation’s largest Dominican population, too.

But New York City alone is what really makes this state so diverse in many ways. Within New York City there are more racial, ethnic and cultural differences than anywhere else in the US.

Another interesting fact: 10% of New York City are either Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists or Jewish.

Review Of by HomeSnacks User

NYC is called the city that never sleeps for good reason- there is always something to do, no matter the time of day or night! There is amazing food, a good variety of sports teams, and just the feeling of being in the city is energizing.

Ellis Island, Central Park, and Empire State Building would be my highlights. The only drawbacks I could see would be if you go during high tourist season, as any of these places would be crowded or have long lines. New York City is great to visit any time of year, and I would highly recommend avoiding high tourist times.

7. New Jersey

New-Jersey|Nj, NJ

Population: 8,881,845
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
HHI: 3,766
More On New Jersey: Photos | Rent

Here in the Garden State, god planted a lot of different seeds. The racial breakdown is as such, which shows there are actually four major races here, since the Asian population stands at 10%.

New Jersey has America’s largest Italian population. There are also a lot of Jews in New Jersey. 6% of Jew Nersians are of the Jewish American population, good for the 3rd highest population in the US

Review Of by Skyris

I lived in New Jersey. You didn’t mention Trenton/Hamilton. Those are two of the least safe cities in the whole state, I know from experience.

I lived in the town of Princeton, probably one of the best towns in the state, though. I’d seriously suggest living there, it’s safe and has great schools. Just don’t live in Trenton/Hamilton, Camden, or Newark.

8. Florida

Florida|Fl, FL

Population: 20,598,139
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
HHI: 3,835
More On Florida: Photos | Rent

So we scored some fried chicken and a ticket to paradise, as we pull into Miami International Airport, and Florida, our 9th most diverse state in the union.

While in Georgia, it was the black population that made it diverse, in Florida, it’s the hispanic and latino population which makes it so varied here. Florida is 53% white, 26% hispanic and 17% African American. That’s a racial stew.

Plus, Florida has the nation’s largest Cuban population, which make up 7% of the state’s total population. That’s a lot.

Because of Florida’s high elderly population, it ranks first in the US for generational diversity – meaning the gap between the young and old is the biggest in Florida. That makes for some interesting conversations, I’m sure.

Review Of by Spencer Blum

I happen to disagree with your Florida placement. Florida is among the best places to live in the country. However, remember this, The more north you go, the more south it gets. I live in South Florida, and I love it. The weather is hot and humid, but that’s how we like it. We have amazing beaches and one of the best cities in the world, Miami. Although we have hurricanes here, most areas are well prepared, or have many ways to add protection from the storm.

Plus, I love typical thunderstorms, the sound/sight of lightning and thunder comforts me. Not to mention Orlando, the home of Disney! Also, amazing, fresh, Florida oranges. Alligators don’t bother us too much. Sure, we get them in lakes and even in our backyards and swimming pools. You are faster than the gator. Come to South Florida, and you will see how great it truly is.

9. New Mexico

New-Mexico|Nm, NM

Source: Public domain

Population: 2,092,434
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
HHI: 3,860
More On New Mexico: Photos | Rent

Time to catch our flight while we listen to some amazing latin music we heard about while in Miami, as we zone out until we look outside and realize we’re in New Mexico, our 8th most diverse state.

New Mexico’s numbers look like this: 37% white, 42% Hispanic, 6% black and 10% Native American. Notice that New Mexico is also 1.8% Asian.

Other interesting factors: New Mexico is also the 6th gayest state in America, where .5% of the population is. gay.

It’s also the most Hispanic state in the union, and the 4th most Native American state, too. Very diverse down there New Mexico. Good for you guys, sticking together and making it work and all.

Review Of by Thaddeus Kyle

As a former resident of New Mexico for six years, I had a very pleasant time and now I live in Virginia and I sometimes miss the desolate wasteland that was the landscape of New Mexico, although I did live on an Air Force base, more specifically, Kirtland AFB itself, and I never knew that there were nuclear weapons just below me the entire time

10. Georgia

Georgia|Ga, GA

Population: 10,297,484
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
HHI: 3,898
More On Georgia: Photos | Rent

As we come in for a landing, we realize where we are, and this is quite a surprise. We’re in Georgia. But when you look at the numbers, it makes sense. Here’s why: In the United States, the racial makeup is as follows: 60% white alone, 18% hispanic, 13% black, 6% asian, and 1% native american. And some other smaller races.

In Georgia, the racial composition is quite different. Here, the African American population is very high – at 32%. The White population here is 52% and hispanics make up almost 10%.

Now, let’s compare that to our least diverse state in America, Maine, where it’s 93% white. A real big difference.

Review Of by Collin Helm

I live in Georgia maybe are weather is unpredictable we maybe on the unfavorable side when it comes to many things but I’m proud to live in Georgia Atlanta is a great city savannah is awesome and I go to a great school so don’t screw over Georgia we ain’t the Empire State of the south for nothing go bulldogs go braves peaches rule

How We Determined The Most Diverse States In America For 2020?

We decided to look at racial diversity across America using the most recently available data — the 2014-2018 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 in America. You can download the data here.

There You Have It — The Most Diverse States For 2020

After measuring the HHI of every state, these states came out on top with Hawaii as being the state that is the most diverse.

For more reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Diverse States In America For 2020

Rank State HHI
1 Hawaii 2,416
2 California 3,159
3 Nevada 3,446
4 Texas 3,488
5 Maryland 3,641
6 New York 3,754
7 New Jersey 3,766
8 Florida 3,835
9 New Mexico 3,860
10 Georgia 3,898
11 Arizona 4,050
12 Alaska 4,073
13 Illinois 4,306
14 Virginia 4,354
15 Delaware 4,502
16 Louisiana 4,517
17 North Carolina 4,557
18 Oklahoma 4,619
19 Mississippi 4,644
20 South Carolina 4,813
21 Connecticut 4,926
22 Washington 5,033
23 Alabama 5,039
24 Colorado 5,155
25 Massachusetts 5,436
26 Rhode Island 5,553
27 Arkansas 5,579
28 Tennessee 5,792
29 Michigan 5,884
30 Oregon 5,981
31 Kansas 5,981
32 Pennsylvania 6,079
33 Utah 6,385
34 Ohio 6,445
35 Nebraska 6,449
36 Indiana 6,455
37 Missouri 6,495
38 Minnesota 6,541
39 Wisconsin 6,742
40 South Dakota 6,858
41 Idaho 6,920
42 Wyoming 7,186
43 Kentucky 7,267
44 North Dakota 7,279
45 Iowa 7,461
46 Montana 7,506
47 New Hampshire 8,195
48 West Virginia 8,502
49 Vermont 8,654
50 Maine 8,728

For more reading about America, check out:

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *