Diversity index: Racial and cultural diversity create thriving and prosperous communities.

Insights & Analyses

  • Diversity has increased since 1980, reaching near even representation of racial and ethnic groups in states such as Hawaii, California, and Nevada.
  • Northeastern states such as Maine and Vermont have continued to lag behind national diversity trends and currently have diversity levels that are nearly a quarter of the national average.
  • Midwestern cities like Oklahoma City and Tulsa, which were previously scored in the middle of diversity index rankings for the top 100 US cities, now are positioned in the top 20.

Drivers of Inequity

Exclusionary immigration policies and racial segregation, forged through practices such as redlining and racially exclusive housing covenants, have historically hindered the economic prosperity of Black people and other people of color in the United States. However, immigrants and people of color are increasingly driving population growth. Population growth rates for Black, Latinx, Asian or Pacific Islander, and multiracial people far outpace growth rates for White Americans. By 2030, multiple states are projected to be majority people of color. Immigrants are also fueling growth, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest—regions with historically low diversity.


Grow an equitable economy: Policies to leverage diversity as an asset

Strategy in Action

Chicago ranks as the best city for immigrants. In 2011, Chicago launched the Office of New Americans under the Office of the Mayor. The Office aims to improve daily experiences of foreign-born residents in Chicago through services such as citizenship assistance, funding for immigrant-owned businesses, and job opportunities for DREAMers and undocumented youth. The Office includes a Language Access Advisory Committee that collects data on language access needs. It launched a 24-hour real-time interpretation hotline to ensure that communities with limited English proficiency have full access to all city functions. In 2018, the Office also helped launch the CityKey ID program, which provides all residents with a municipal identification card, thus allowing immigrants to more easily access public services. According to the New American Cities Index, Chicago was the best US city at integrating immigrants in 2019. Learn more.

Photo: Renee Rendler-Kaplan on Flicker (Chicago, IL)

Related Indicators