The Most Racially Diverse Congressional District in the US is….. the 13th California (Barbara Lee, D, Oakland)

The most racially/ethnically diverse congressional district in the United States, in 2015, is the 13th District in California. It is represented by Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and comprises the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, San Leandro, Alameda, etc., in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. This is based on data from the 2015 American Community Survey conducted by the US Census Bureau.

Here is a graphic showing the 10 most racially diverse congressional districts in 2015:


A brief recap of the methodology is in order. This “diversity index” (the “Shannon Index of Equitability”) is based on the proportion of population in five, non-overlapping race/ethnicity categories:

  • White, non-hispanic/latino
  • Black/African American, non-hispanic/latino
  • Hispanic/Latino, any race
  • Asian/Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, non-hispanic/latino; and
  • American Indian/Alaskan Native, Other race, or two-or-more races, non-hispanic.

This diversity index ranges from a low of 0.0 (100 percent of the population is in one category) to a high of 100.0 (all groups have an equal share of the population.)

Five of the Top Ten Congressional Districts are in California

Five of the top ten most racially diverse congressional districts (2015) are in California:

  • 13th District (Barbara Lee, D-Oakland);
  • 6th District (Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento);
  • 38th District (Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles);
  • 15th District (Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin); and
  • 47th District (Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach).

None of these ten congressional districts has a majority population of one race/ethnic category.

Five of these districts have a plurality (largest group) of white, non-hispanic population:

  • 13th California (Lee, D-Oakland) – 35.0% white;
  • 6th California (Matsui, D-Sacramento) – 36.6% white;
  • 11th Virginia (Connelly, D-Mantua) – 45.9% white;
  • 7th Massachusetts (Capuano, D-Somerville) – 40.5% white; and the
  • 22nd Texas (Olson, R-Sugar Land) – 41.3% white.

Only one district has a plurality of black/african american (non-hispanic) population:

  • 5th New York (Meeks, D-Queens) – 47.2% black/african american.

Two districts have a plurality of asian/pacific islander (non-hispanic) population:

  • 2nd Hawaii (Gabbard, D-Honolulu) – 35.1% asian/pacific islander; and
  • 15th California (Swalwell, D-Dublin) – 34.6% asian/pacific islander.

And two congressional districts have a plurality of hispanic/latino population:

  • 37th California (Bass, D-Los Angeles) – 38.1% hispanic/latino; and
  • 47th California (Lowenthal, D-Long Beach) – 36.3% hispanic/latino.

Least Racially Diverse Congressional Districts

The five least racially/ethnicially diverse US congressional districts (2015) are:

  • 5th Kentucky (Rogers, R-Somerset) – 96.0% white, non-hispanic (diversity=13.6);
  • 6th Ohio (Johnson, R-Marietta) – 94.4% white (diversity=17.7);
  • 2nd Maine (Poliquin, R-Oakland) – 94.0% white (diversity=18.5);
  • 3rd West Virginia (Jenkins, R-Huntington) – 93.1% white (diversity=20.3); and the
  • 1st West Virginia (McKinley, R-Wheeling) – 93.5% white (diversity=20.4).

House Leadership

  • Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), represents the 1st Wisconsin Congressional District. It has a 45.0 diversity index and ranks 325th out of 435 congressional districts, in 2015. The district is 80.5 percent white, non-hispanic.
  • House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), represents the 23rd California Congressional District. It has a 72.7 diversity index and ranks 79th out of 435 districts. The district is 47.1 percent white, non-hispanic.
  • House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), represents the 12th California Congressional District. It has a 80.4 diversity index and ranks 29th out of 435 districts. The district is 43.3 percent white, non-hispanic.

I hope this information is of interest! That’s all for now.

Spreadsheets for this Analysis (updated 4/17/17)

Spreadsheet workbooks for this analysis are available here:




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