Which 4 States Have the Most People of Color?

Group of ethnic children smiling, with one looking directly at the camera.


Can you name the four U.S. majority-minority states? This moniker is a reference to the fact that, in these states, people of color make up the majority of the population. California, New Mexico, Texas, and Hawaii all have this distinction. The same is true for the District of Columbia.

What makes these states unique? For one, their demographics will likely be the nation’s future. And given that some of these states are extremely populous, they could influence American politics for years to come.


The Aloha State is unique among the nation’s handful of majority-minority states in that it has never had a white majority since it became the 50th state on August 21, 1959. In other words, it has always been a majority-minority. First settled by Polynesian explorers in the eighth century, Hawaii is heavily populated by Pacific Islanders. More than 60 percent of Hawaiian residents are people of color.

Hawaii’s population is around 37.3 percent Asian, 22.9 percent white, 9.9 percent Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 10.4 percent Latino, and 2.6 percent Black.


People of color make up more than 60 percent of the Golden State’s population. Latinxs and Asian Americans are the driving forces behind this trend, along with the fact that the white population is aging rapidly. In 2015, news agencies announced that Latinxs officially outnumbered white people in the state, with the former making up 14.99 million of the population and the latter making up 14.92 million of the population.

This marked the first time the Latinx population surpassed the white population since California became a state in 1850. By 2060, researchers predict that Latinxs will make up 48 percent of California, while whites will make up 30 percent of the state; Asians, 13 percent; and Black people, four percent.

New Mexico

The Land of Enchantment, as New Mexico is known, has the distinction of having the highest percentage of Latinxs of any U.S. state. Approximately 48 percent of the population there is Latinx. Overall, 62.7 percent of New Mexico’s population are people of color. The state stands out from others because of its substantial Native American population (10.5 percent). Black people make up 2.6 percent of New Mexicans; Asians, 1.7 percent; and Native Hawaiians, 0.2 percent. Whites make up 38.4 percent of the state’s population.


The Lone Star State may be known for cowboys, conservatives, and cheerleaders, but Texas is far more diverse than stereotypes paint it to be. People of color comprise 55.2 percent of its population. Latinxs comprise 38.8 percent of Texans, followed by 12.5 percent who are Black, 4.7 percent who are Asian and one percent who are Native American. Whites comprise 43 percent of the Texas population.

A number of counties in Texas are majority-minority, including Maverick, Webb, and the Wade Hampton area. While Texas boasts a rising Latino population, its Black population has increased as well. From 2010 to 2011, the Black population of Texas rose by 84,000 — the highest of any state.

District of Columbia

The U.S. Census Bureau regards the District of Columbia as a “state equivalent.” This area is also majority-minority. Black people comprise 48.3 percent of D.C.’s population, while Hispanics comprise 10.6 percent and Asians, 4.2 percent. Whites make up 36.1 percent of this region. The District of Columbia boasts the highest percentage of Black people of any state or state equivalent.

Wrapping Up

Although people of color will continue to grow as a population, majority-minority situations do not mean that they have more power. While people of color may have a greater say in elections over time, the barriers they face in education, employment, and the criminal justice system will by no means evaporate. Anyone who believes that a "brown" majority will somehow erode the power that white Americans enjoy need only to look at the history of nations around the world colonized by Europeans. This includes the United States. 


Aronowitz, Nona Willis. "What Can We Learn From Majority-Minority States? Numbers Don't Always Equal Political Power." Good Worldwide, Inc., May 20, 2012.

History.com Editors. "Hawaii becomes 50th state." History, A&E Television Networks, LLC, November 24, 2009.

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Nittle, Nadra Kareem. "Which 4 States Have the Most People of Color?" ThoughtCo, Mar. 21, 2021, thoughtco.com/states-with-majority-minority-populations-2834515. Nittle, Nadra Kareem. (2021, March 21). Which 4 States Have the Most People of Color? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/states-with-majority-minority-populations-2834515 Nittle, Nadra Kareem. "Which 4 States Have the Most People of Color?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/states-with-majority-minority-populations-2834515 (accessed February 5, 2023).