15 U.S. Cities With the Most Minority Professionals

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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on Smartest Dollar.

In the last few years, policymakers, experts, and the public at large have paid more attention than ever to disparities faced by America’s racial and ethnic minorities. And some of the starkest gaps minorities face are in the realm of economic opportunity.

White workers earn significantly more than members of other racial and ethnic groups, and these gaps have grown over time — even as minorities’ incomes have increased. These gaps in wages also help explain racial disparities in other socioeconomic conditions, like wealth and health outcomes.

In some parts of the country, however, racial and ethnic minorities do represent a larger portion of the professional workforce. States with a larger white population tend to have fewer such workers, while highly diverse states naturally tend to have the greatest share of minorities in professional occupations.

Many primarily white states in New England and the Midwest have the nation’s lowest percentages of minority professionals, led by Maine, where just 5.7% of professionals identify as minorities. Hawaii, where just 22.9% of the population identifies as non-Hispanic white, leads the U.S. in the share of minorities in professional occupations at 68.8%. And four other states with large minority populations — California, New Mexico, Texas, and Maryland — have shares above 40%.

Large U.S. Metros With the Most Minority Professionals

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At the metro level, the same pattern holds. Many of the U.S.’s most diverse cities lead the country in their share of minority professionals, with a number of cities in California, Texas, and Florida topping the list. In only five out of more than 250 metros included in the study were minorities overrepresented among professional workers. Notably, many of the locations with the smallest gaps were college towns such as State College, Pennsylvania; Blacksburg, Virginia; and Ithaca, New York.

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To determine the locations with the most minority professionals, researchers at Smartest Dollar calculated the percentage of professionals — defined as those in occupations that typically require a bachelor’s degree or higher — that are minorities. In the event of a tie, the location with the greater total professionals that are minorities was ranked higher. For the purposes of this analysis, minorities are considered to be all people who are not non-Hispanic white.

Here are the U.S. metropolitan areas with the most minority professionals.

15. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities: 39.2%
  • Percentage of total population who are minorities: 55.0%
  • Total professionals who are minorities: 511,220
  • Median annual wage for minority full-time professionals: $65,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time professionals: $72,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time workers: $50,000

14. Memphis, TN-MS-AR

Memphis Tennessee
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities: 39.8%
  • Percentage of total population who are minorities: 57.2%
  • Total professionals who are minorities: 71,891
  • Median annual wage for minority full-time professionals: $53,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time professionals: $62,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time workers: $42,000

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

New York City coastline
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities: 40.0%
  • Percentage of total population who are minorities: 54.0%
  • Total professionals who are minorities: 1,530,702
  • Median annual wage for minority full-time professionals: $80,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time professionals: $88,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time workers: $60,000

12. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA

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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities: 40.3%
  • Percentage of total population who are minorities: 55.1%
  • Total professionals who are minorities: 251,277
  • Median annual wage for minority full-time professionals: $75,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time professionals: $81,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time workers: $52,000

11. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

Las Vegas Skyline
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities: 41.1%
  • Percentage of total population who are minorities: 58.3%
  • Total professionals who are minorities: 106,581
  • Median annual wage for minority full-time professionals: $60,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time professionals: $65,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time workers: $41,000

10. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

Orlando, Florida
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities: 41.3%
  • Percentage of total population who are minorities: 54.6%
  • Total professionals who are minorities: 164,615
  • Median annual wage for minority full-time professionals: $54,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time professionals: $60,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time workers: $40,000

9. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA

Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities: 42.9%
  • Percentage of total population who are minorities: 54.0%
  • Total professionals who are minorities: 473,865
  • Median annual wage for minority full-time professionals: $65,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time professionals: $70,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time workers: $50,000

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

Washington, D.C.
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities: 42.9%
  • Percentage of total population who are minorities: 55.9%
  • Total professionals who are minorities: 674,532
  • Median annual wage for minority full-time professionals: $85,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time professionals: $93,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time workers: $69,000

7. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities: 48.4%
  • Percentage of total population who are minorities: 64.7%
  • Total professionals who are minorities: 556,806
  • Median annual wage for minority full-time professionals: $65,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time professionals: $72,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time workers: $50,000

6. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA

San Francisco, California
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities: 49.5%
  • Percentage of total population who are minorities: 61.2%
  • Total professionals who are minorities: 579,178
  • Median annual wage for minority full-time professionals: $100,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time professionals: $105,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time workers: $75,000

5. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX

San Antonio, Texas outdoors
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities: 53.2%
  • Percentage of total population who are minorities: 68.2%
  • Total professionals who are minorities: 188,559
  • Median annual wage for minority full-time professionals: $54,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time professionals: $60,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time workers: $40,000

4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

The streets of Los Angeles, where median rent is relatively low
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities: 53.7%
  • Percentage of total population who are minorities: 70.7%
  • Total professionals who are minorities: 1,172,743
  • Median annual wage for minority full-time professionals: $72,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time professionals: $80,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time workers: $50,000

3. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

Riverside, California
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities: 54.6%
  • Percentage of total population who are minorities: 68.8%
  • Total professionals who are minorities: 282,824
  • Median annual wage for minority full-time professionals: $68,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time professionals: $72,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time workers: $45,000

2. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL

Miami, Florida
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities: 59.1%
  • Percentage of total population who are minorities: 69.7%
  • Total professionals who are minorities: 543,994
  • Median annual wage for minority full-time professionals: $55,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time professionals: $60,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time workers: $40,000

1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

San Jose California
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities: 62.3%
  • Percentage of total population who are minorities: 69.4%
  • Total professionals who are minorities: 318,852
  • Median annual wage for minority full-time professionals: $120,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time professionals: $120,000
  • Median annual wage for all full-time workers: $80,000

Detailed Findings & Methodology

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The data used in this analysis is from U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2021 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics data. To determine the locations with the most minority professionals, researchers at Smartest Dollar calculated the percentage of professionals — defined as those in occupations that typically require a bachelor’s degree or higher — who are minorities. In the event of a tie, the location with the greater total professionals who are minorities was ranked higher. For the purposes of this analysis, minorities are considered to be all people who are not non-Hispanic white. To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 residents were included. Additionally, metros were grouped into cohorts based on population size: small (100,000–349,999), midsize (350,000–999,999), and large (1,000,000 or more).