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New Study Ranks Florida 3rd Most Diverse U.S. State

By Jason McCormick, Analyst

Florida’s economic growth will be strongly supported by its increasingly ethnically diverse population and immigration pipeline.

Diversity has become a key topic of discussion in American workplaces in recent years. Research by McKinsey & Company shows that a diverse workforce can improve a company’s financial performance, while living in diverse communities can positively impact an individual’s identity.

America is becoming more racially diverse and the immigrant share of the population is approaching historic highs. Non-Hispanic whites are a majority today, but that is changing. Projections indicate that non-Hispanic whites will make up less than 50% of the population by 2045.

Immigrants now account for 13.7% of the population, up from a low of 4.7% in 1970, but still below the peak of 14.8% in 1890. Between 2020 and 2050, population increases from immigration will outpace that from native births. It is projected that immigration will become the biggest contributor to population growth in the coming years, creating an even more diverse population.

To measure how diverse our country already is, HeyTutor, a test preparation website, developed a system that ranks states and cities by diversity. Using U.S. Census data, researchers analyzed states and cities by averaging two diversity indexes – one that measures the degree of racial/ethnic diversity and one measuring birthplace diversity. The national average diversity score is 58.

The analysis showed that the state of Florida ranks third in the nation for diversity, behind Hawaii and California. On the opposite end, Vermont, Maine and West Virginia ranked the least diverse.

At the city level, a number of Florida cities also rank high for diversity. Tampa and Jacksonville are among the top 25 most diverse large cities, and the state had three midsize cities and two small cities make those respective lists, as well. Orlando ranked as the second most diverse midsize city in the country with a score of 73.3, giving it the highest diversity score in the state.

Most Diverse Florida Cities

Large Cities:

#10 Tampa
Diversity Score: 67.9
– Most common foreign country of origin: Cuba
#25 Jacksonville
Diversity Score: 62.7
– Most common foreign country of origin: Philippines

Midsize Cities:

#2 Orlando
Diversity Score: 73.3
#5 Pembroke Pines
Diversity Score: 70.7
#9 Hollywood
Diversity Score: 70.0

Small Cities:

#8 West Palm Beach
Diversity Score: 70.2
#11 Brandon
Diversity Score: 69.5

For more information, contact:


Chris Owen
Director, Florida Research


Jason McCormick
Analyst, Tampa


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