January 27, 2023

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Since its inception, the United States has been a majority white country, but it is becoming increasingly ethnically and racially diverse. In fact, the white population is projected to lose majority status by 2045. However, increasing population diversity has not translated to the government workforce: minority groups remain grossly underrepresented in government jobs. While the US is often viewed as a melting pot, the reality is that minorities continue to face significant obstacles in reaching and rising to government office.

Non-white Americans make up almost 40% of the population, but make up only 36.5% of government employees. While black Americans are slightly over-represented in government, other minority groups — particularly Hispanics — are significantly under-represented. Hispanics make up 18.2% of the total population but only 13.2% of government employees.

The diversity gap – defined as the difference in percentage points between the proportion of workers from minority groups in the total population and in government – ​​varies by level of government. In fact, members of minority governments are slightly over-represented in the federal government, where minorities make up 41.3% of workers. However, at the local level, minority government employees make up only 33.9% of the workforce, meaning the diversity gap is six percentage points. At the state level, too, the workforce in the public sector is less diverse, with a diversity gap of five percentage points.

While minority representation in government jobs varies by race, ethnicity, and level of government, one of the most important factors is location. The Southwest and parts of the Southeast and Northeast have the largest proportion of non-white government employees. The states with the largest minority representation in government jobs are Hawaii and New Mexico, with 70.2% and 59.8% of government employees, respectively, non-white. On the other hand, Maine, New Hampshire, and West Virginia are the states with the least diversity of government employees, with only 6.2%, 7.7%, and 7.7% of government employees being non-white, respectively.

To determine the US metro areas with the most minorities in government, researchers at HomeandHamper.com analyzed the latest data from the US Census Bureau. The researchers ranked Metros by the percentage of non-white government employees. The researchers also calculated the percentage of non-white residents, the diversity gap in government — calculated as the difference between the percentage of government employees who are non-white and the percentage of non-white residents, the total number of non-s -white residents. White government employees and total non-white residents.

Here are the US metro areas with the most minorities in government.

Big metros with most minorities in government

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15. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

  • Percentage of government employees who are non-white: 48.1%
  • Percentage of residents who are not white: 55.0%
  • State diversity gap (percentage points): -6.9
  • Total non-white government employees: 186.007
  • Total non-white residents: 4,060,536

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14. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

  • Percentage of government employees who are non-white: 49.2%
  • Percentage of residents who are not white: 55.9%
  • State diversity gap (percentage points): -6.7
  • Total non-white government employees: 387,964
  • Total non-white residents: 3,430,370

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13. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

  • Percentage of government employees who are non-white: 49.4%
  • Percentage of residents who are not white: 54.6%
  • State diversity gap (percentage points): -5.2
  • Total non-white government employees: 62,824
  • Total non-white residents: 1,374,687

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12. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

  • Percentage of government employees who are non-white: 49.4%
  • Percentage of residents who are not white: 54.0%
  • State diversity gap (percentage points): -4.6
  • Total non-white government employees: 682,020
  • Total non-white residents: 10,725,956

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11. San Diego-Carlsbad, CA

  • Percentage of government employees who are non-white: 50.3%
  • Percentage of residents who are not white: 55.1%
  • State diversity gap (percentage points): -4.8
  • Total non-white government employees: 151,245
  • Total non-white residents: 1,830,395

Photo credit: Chuck Wagner/Shutterstock

10. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

  • Percentage of government employees who are non-white: 50.7%
  • Percentage of residents who are not white: 48.8%
  • State diversity gap (percentage points): 1.9
  • Total non-white government employees: 41,496
  • Total non-white residents: 620,985

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9. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA

  • Percentage of government employees who are non-white: 53.5%
  • Percentage of residents who are not white: 54.0%
  • State diversity gap (percentage points): -0.5
  • Total non-white government employees: 190,934
  • Total non-white residents: 3,196,494

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8. Memphis, TN-MS-AR

  • Percentage of government employees who are non-white: 58.0%
  • Percentage of residents who are not white: 57.2%
  • State diversity gap (percentage points): 0.8
  • Total non-white government employees: 44,594
  • Total non-white residents: 713,239

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7. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

  • Percentage of government employees who are non-white: 59.5%
  • Percentage of residents who are not white: 61.2%
  • State diversity gap (percentage points): -1.7
  • Total non-white government employees: 186.146
  • Total non-white residents: 2,882,567

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6. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Country, TX

  • Percentage of government employees who are non-white: 60.2%
  • Percentage of residents who are not white: 64.7%
  • State diversity gap (percentage points): -4.5
  • Total non-white government employees: 225,936
  • Total non-white residents: 4,459,322

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5. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

  • Percentage of government employees who are non-white: 61.3%
  • Percentage of residents who are not white: 68.8%
  • State diversity gap (percentage points): -7.5
  • Total non-white government employees: 195,788
  • Total non-white residents: 3,165,793

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4. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX

  • Percentage of government employees who are non-white: 63.4%
  • Percentage of residents who are not white: 68.2%
  • State diversity gap (percentage points): -4.8
  • Total non-white government employees: 109,536
  • Total non-white residents: 1,659,579

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3. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

  • Percentage of government employees who are non-white: 64.7%
  • Percentage of residents who are not white: 69.4%
  • State diversity gap (percentage points): -4.7
  • Total non-white government employees: 61,984
  • Total non-white residents: 1,334,656

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2. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL

  • Percentage of government employees who are non-white: 69.1%
  • Percentage of residents who are not white: 69.7%
  • State diversity gap (percentage points): -0.6
  • Total non-white government employees: 204,367
  • Total non-white residents: 4,248,344

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1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

  • Percentage of government employees who are non-white: 69.3%
  • Percentage of residents who are not white: 70.7%
  • State diversity gap (percentage points): -1.4
  • Total non-white government employees: 528,265
  • Total non-white residents: 9,345,812

Detailed results and methodology

To determine the US metro areas with the most minorities in government, researchers at HomeandHamper.com analyzed the latest 2020 data from the US Census Bureau American Community Survey. The researchers ranked Metros by the percentage of non-white government employees. In the event of a tie, the Metro with the greater number of non-white government employees was ranked higher. The researchers also calculated the percentage of residents who are non-white, the government diversity gap — calculated as the difference between the percentage of government employees who are non-white and the percentage of residents who are non-white and the total number of non-s -Whites -White residents. In the analysis, white refers to people who are non-Hispanic whites.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 inhabitants were included in the analysis. In addition, the metropolitan areas were divided into the following cohorts based on population size:

  • Small Subways: 100,000-349,999
  • Medium-sized subways: 350,000-999,999
  • Large subways: more than 1,000,000

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