15 US Cities With the Most Minority Professionals

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

Over the past several years, policymakers, pundits, and the general public have paid more attention than ever to the disparities facing America’s racial and ethnic minorities. And some of the most dire gaps facing minorities are in the realm of economic opportunity.

White workers earn significantly more than members of other racial and ethnic groups, and these gaps have widened over time, even as minority earnings have increased. These wage gaps also help explain racial disparities in other socioeconomic conditions, such as wealth and health outcomes.

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

Many predominantly white states in New England and the Midwest have the lowest percentages of minority professionals, led by Maine, where only 5.7% of professionals identify as minorities. Hawaii, with only 22.9% of the population identifying as non-Hispanic white, leads the US with a 68.8% share of minorities in professional occupations. And four other states with large minorities—California, New Mexico, Texas, and Maryland—have shares above 40%.

Major US metros with the most minority professionals

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It is the same example at the metro level. Many of the most diverse U.S. cities lead the country in their share of minority professionals, with several cities in California, Texas, and Florida topping the list. Only five of the more than 250 metros surveyed were minorities overrepresented among professional workers. Notably, many of the places with the smallest gaps were college towns, such as State College, Pennsylvania; Blacksburg, Virginia; and Ithaca, New York.

The data used in this analysis comes from the US Census Bureau and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. To determine the locations of the most minority professionals, Smartest Dollar researchers calculated the percentage of professionals, defined as those in occupations that typically require a bachelor’s degree or higher, who are minorities. Equally, a greater number of minority professionals ranked higher. For the purposes of this analysis, minorities are defined as all people who are not non-Hispanic white.

Here are the US 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 the total population that is a minority. 55.0%
  • Total number of professionals who are minorities. 511,220
  • Average annual salary of full-time minority professionals. $65,000
  • Average annual salary for all full-time professionals. 72,000 dollars
  • Average annual salary for all full-time employees. $50,000

14. Memphis, TN-MS-AR

Memphis Tennessee
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities. 39.8%
  • Percentage of the total population that is a minority. 57.2%
  • Total number of professionals who are minorities. 71,891
  • Average annual salary of full-time minority professionals. $53,000
  • Average annual salary for all full-time professionals. 62,000 dollars
  • Average annual salary for all full-time employees. $42,000

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

New York coastline
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities. 40.0%
  • Percentage of the total population that is a minority. 54.0%
  • Total number of professionals who are minorities. 1,530,702
  • Average annual salary of full-time minority professionals. 80,000 dollars
  • Average annual salary for all full-time professionals. 88,000 USD
  • Average annual salary for all full-time employees. $60,000

12. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, California

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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities. 40.3%
  • Percentage of the total population that is a minority. 55.1%
  • Total number of professionals who are minorities. 251277
  • Average annual salary of full-time minority professionals. 75,000 dollars
  • Average annual salary for all full-time professionals. $81,000
  • Average annual salary for all full-time employees. $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 the total population that is a minority. 58.3%
  • Total number of professionals who are minorities. 106,581
  • Average annual salary of full-time minority professionals. $60,000
  • Average annual salary for all full-time professionals. 65,000 dollars
  • Average annual salary for all full-time employees. $41,000

10. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida

Orlando, Florida
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities. 41.3%
  • Percentage of the total population that is a minority. 54.6%
  • Total number of professionals who are minorities. 164615
  • Average annual salary of full-time minority professionals. $54,000
  • Average annual salary for all full-time professionals. $60,000
  • Average annual salary for all full-time employees. $40,000

9. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, Jay

Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities. 42.9%
  • Percentage of the total population that is a minority. 54.0%
  • Total number of professionals who are minorities. 473,865
  • Average annual salary of full-time minority professionals. 65,000 dollars
  • Average annual salary for all full-time professionals. $70,000
  • Average annual salary for all full-time employees. $50,000

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

Washington, DC
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities. 42.9%
  • Percentage of the total population that is a minority. 55.9%
  • Total number of professionals who are minorities. 674,532
  • Average annual salary of full-time minority professionals. 85,000 dollars
  • Average annual salary for all full-time professionals. 93,000 dollars
  • Average annual salary for all full-time employees. 69,000 dollars

7. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities. 48.4%
  • Percentage of the total population that is a minority. 64.7%
  • Total number of professionals who are minorities. 556,806
  • Average annual salary of full-time minority professionals. 65,000 dollars
  • Average annual salary for all full-time professionals. 72,000 dollars
  • Average annual salary for all full-time employees. $50,000

6. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, California

San Francisco, California
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities. 49.5%
  • Percentage of the total population that is a minority. 61.2%
  • Total number of professionals who are minorities. 579,178
  • Average annual salary of full-time minority professionals. 100,000 dollars
  • Average annual salary for all full-time professionals. $105,000
  • Average annual salary for all full-time employees. 75,000 dollars

5. San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas

San Antonio, Texas outside
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities. 53.2%
  • Percentage of the total population that is a minority. 68.2%
  • Total number of professionals who are minorities. 188,559
  • Average annual salary of full-time minority professionals. $54,000
  • Average annual salary for all full-time professionals. $60,000
  • Average annual salary for all full-time employees. $40,000

4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California

Los Angeles streets where the average rent is relatively low
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities. 53.7%
  • Percentage of the total population that is a minority. 70.7%
  • Total number of professionals who are minorities. 1,172,743
  • Average annual salary of full-time minority professionals. 72,000 dollars
  • Average annual salary for all full-time professionals. 80,000 dollars
  • Average annual salary for all full-time employees. $50,000

3. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

Riverside, California
MattGush/Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities. 54.6%
  • Percentage of the total population that is a minority. 68.8%
  • Total number of professionals who are minorities. 282,824
  • Average annual salary of full-time minority professionals. 68,000 USD
  • Average annual salary for all full-time professionals. 72,000 dollars
  • Average annual salary for all full-time employees. $45,000

2. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Florida

Miami, Florida
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  • Percentage of professionals who are minorities. 59.1%
  • Percentage of the total population that is a minority. 69.7%
  • Total number of professionals who are minorities. 543,994
  • Average annual salary of full-time minority professionals. $55,000
  • Average annual salary for all full-time professionals. $60,000
  • Average annual salary for all full-time employees. $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 the total population that is a minority. 69.4%
  • Total number of minority professionals. 318,852
  • Average annual salary of full-time minority professionals. $120,000
  • Average annual salary for all full-time professionals. $120,000
  • Average annual salary for all full-time employees. 80,000 dollars

Detailed findings and methodology

senior businessman
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The data used in this analysis comes from the US Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2021 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics. To determine the places with the most minority professionals, Smartest Dollar researchers calculated the percentage of professionals, defined as those in occupations that typically require a bachelor’s degree or higher, who are minorities. Equally, a greater number of minority professionals ranked higher. For the purposes of this analysis, minorities are defined as all people who are not non-Hispanic white. To improve consistency, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 residents were included. Additionally, metros are grouped into groups based on population: small (100,000–349,999), medium (350,000–999,999), and large (1,000,000 or more).

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