Measuring Diversity in America: Diversity Index

The Esri Diversity Index¬†expresses the racial and ethnic diversity of a geographic area in a single number that ranges from 0 to 100. The Diversity Index represents the likelihood that two persons, selected at random from a specific geographic area, belong to different race or ethnic groups. If an area’s entire population belongs to one race or ethnic group, then the area has zero diversity. If an area’s population is evenly divided into two or more race/ethnic groups, then the Diversity Index is 100.

The United States had a Diversity Index of 60.6 based on 2010 census counts. As of July 1, 2015, the Diversity Index was estimated to be 63.0 and it is forecast to be 65.3 by July 1, 2020.

When the Unites States are sorted into ranked order by Diversity Index, the top-five states with the highest Diversity Index (DI) (as of July 1, 2015) are:

  • Hawaii, DI = 83.2
  • California, DI = 82.4
  • New Mexico, DI = 77.1
  • Nevada, DI = 75.3
  • Texas, DI = 74.4

From this same ranked order listing of states by DI, the states with the lowest Diversity Index are:

  • Maine, DI = 13.2
  • Vermont, DI = 13.8
  • West Virginia, DI = 15.7
  • New Hampshire, DI = 19.7
  • Montana, DI = 27.1

Note that the Diversity Index is reported for 99,861 locations including cities, towns, villages, counties, boroughs, ZIP Codes and census designated places (CDPs) in the HomeTownLocator series of 50 state gazetteers.


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