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:
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.