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Most Diverse States 2021

The United States is known as a melting pot – a country of people from every corner of the world.

Cultural diversity is the most common measure of diversity. Six races are officially recognized in the United States: White, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. The U.S. Census Bureau also classifies Americans as "Hispanic or Latino" and "Not Hispanic or Latino." A "person of color" is used in the United States to describe anyone who is not white. People of color, unfortunately, share the common experience of racism.

Although most of the United States population is white, the country is increasingly becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. The Hispanic population, for example, is expected to comprise one-quarter of the population by 2050. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by 2044, the U.S. will no longer have a single ethnic majority.

As of 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the U.S. population to be:

  • 60.1% non-Hispanic white
  • 18.5% Hispanic and Latino
  • 13.4% Black or African American
  • 5.9% Asian
  • 2.8% two or more races
  • 1.3% Native Americans and Alaska Natives
  • 0.2% Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders

Diversity by State

Some U.S. states promote diversity more than others.

Contemporary immigrants often settle in seven states: California, New York, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois. About 70% of the immigrant population lives in one of these seven states.

Wallethub analyzed each state's diversity level by evaluating and ranking six diversity categories:

  • Socioeconomic
  • Cultural
  • Economic
  • Household
  • Religious
  • Political

A state's diversity score is each state's weighted average across all metrics. A score of 100 represents the most diverse state.

Most Diverse U.S. States

1. California

California is the most diverse U.S. state, with a score of 70.75. California ranks first for Cultural Diversity, having the highest linguistic diversity and the second-highest racial and ethnic diversity. California also ranks third for Socioeconomic Diversity, fifth for Household Diversity, and eighth for Political Diversity. California has the largest Hispanic population of any state, with over 15 million.

2. Texas

Texas is the second-most diverse state. With a score of 70.02, Texas ranks fourth for Cultural Diversity and sixth for Religious Diversity. Texas has the third-highest linguistic diversity and the fourth-highest racial and ethnic diversity. Texas has the second-highest Hispanic and Latino population in the U.S. of almost 11.2 million and the highest Black population of over 3.9 million. Texas also has the highest household diversity.

3. Hawaii

Hawaii is the country's third-most diverse state. Hawaii's overall score is 69.71 out of 100. It ranks third for Cultural Diversity and fourth for Economic Diversity. Hawaii is the most racially and ethnically diverse state in the U.S., with about 38.6% of the population being Asian, 24.7% white, 10% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 1.6% Black, 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native, and 23.6% being multi-ethnic. Hawaii is the least-white U.S. state.

4. New Jersey

New Jersey comes in fourth for the most diverse U.S. states. New Jersey ranks fifth for Socioeconomic Diversity, seventh for Cultural Diversity, and fourth for Political Diversity. New Jersey has the fifth-highest educational-attainment diversity and the fourth-highest linguistic diversity. About 30.7% of New Jersey's population over the age of 5 speak a language other than English at home. The most common are Spanish, Chinese, and Portuguese.

5. New York

Coming in as the fifth-most diverse state is New York. New York ranks eighth for Socioeconomic Diversity and Cultural Diversity and sixth for Household Diversity and Political Diversity. New York has the third-most education-attainment diversity, the fifth-most household-type diversity, and the fifth-most linguistic diversity.

Least Diverse U.S. States

1. West Virginia

With a score of 58.40, West Virginia is the least diverse state in the U.S. West Virginia ranks 50 for Socioeconomic Diversity and Cultural Diversity. West Virginia is the least-linguistically diverse state and the second-least diverse for income diversity and educational-attainment diversity. West Virginia is also the third-least racially and ethnically diverse state, with 93.5% of its residents identifying as white.

2. Maine

Maine is the second-least diverse state. Its score is 58.59, and it ranks 49th for Cultural Diversity and 50th for Religious Diversity. Maine is the whitest state in the U.S., with 94.4% of its population being white. This makes Maine the least racially and ethnically diverse state. Additionally, the state has one of the lowest levels of industry diversity and household-size diversity.

3. Vermont

Vermont is the third-least diverse U.S. state, ranking 48th for Cultural Diversity and 47th for Religious Diversity. Just second to Maine, Vermont is among the least racially and ethnically diverse states, with a population that is 94.2% white. Vermont also has the second-lowest level of industry diversity.

4. New Hampshire

New Hampshire is the country's fourth-least diverse state. It ranks 47 for Cultural Diversity, 46th for Religious Diversity, and 42nd for Household Diversity. New Hampshire makes up for its lack of diversity in most categories by ranking ninth for Socioeconomic Diversity. As the fourth-least racially and ethnically diverse state, New Hampshire is 93.1% white.

5. Montana

Despite ranking third for Economic Diversity, Montana is the fifth-least diverse state in the United States. Montana ranks 46th for Household Diversity, 44th for Cultural Diversity, and 42nd for Socioeconomic Diversity and Political Diversity. Montana is the 10th-whitest state in the U.S., with 88.9% of its population identifying as white. Montana is also the third-least linguistically diverse state and has the fifth-lowest household-type diversity.

Here are the 10 states with the highest diversity score:

  1. California (70.89)
  2. Texas (70)
  3. Hawaii (69.69)
  4. New Jersey (69.38)
  5. New York (69.21)
  6. New Mexico (69.13)
  7. Maryland (68.64)
  8. Florida (68.18)
  9. Nevada (68)
  10. Illinois (67.93)

Most Diverse States 2021

State Total Score Cultural Diversity Rank Economic Diversity Rank Religious Diversity Rank Political Diversity Rank 2021 Pop
California70.8911132639,613,500
Texas7041362829,730,300
Hawaii69.693434111,406,430
New Jersey69.3873919128,874,520
New York69.2183721219,300,000
New Mexico69.135522222,105,000
Maryland68.6410263096,065,440
Florida68.1863438321,944,600
Nevada6824445323,185,790
Illinois67.9312387412,569,300
Arizona67.8192541217,520,100
Virginia67.71141625168,603,980
Georgia67.451318162610,830,000
Connecticut67.0815452793,552,820
Alaska66.491114447724,357
Delaware66.461740351990,334
Colorado66.25182840135,893,630
Washington66.02161243157,796,940
Massachusetts65.88195033396,912,240
North Carolina65.822029262410,701,000
Rhode Island65.6721493651,061,510
Oklahoma65.4622618373,990,440
Louisiana65.2525143464,627,000
South Carolina65.2232014385,277,830
Kansas64.9227241182,917,220
Nebraska64.2433224191,952,000
Alabama64.04281712434,934,190
Minnesota63.9536435205,706,400
Mississippi63.93261014492,966,410
Pennsylvania63.873248101712,804,100
Oregon63.81242148284,289,440
Tennessee63.73312320416,944,260
Arkansas63.43291524353,033,950
Idaho63.1535813471,860,120
South Dakota63.13429234896,581
North Dakota62.84447123770,026
Michigan62.8434473179,992,430
Missouri62.83393517246,169,040
Wisconsin62.7440419315,852,490
Indiana62.57374629136,805,660
Wyoming62.493823742581,075
Ohio62.144142282811,714,600
Utah61.91303049503,310,770
Iowa61.8846318353,167,970
Kentucky61.54452723184,480,710
Montana60.9543339451,085,000
New Hampshire60.78473646261,372,200
Vermont59.7848334740623,251
Maine58.4493250331,354,520
West Virginia58.29501942441,767,860

Most Diverse States 2021