Newly released demographic data from the United States Census Bureau reveals that the United States has become more diverse in the last ten years, while the non-Hispanic White population is declining.
Since 2010, the population of Americans that identifies as White has decreased by 8.6%. Despite the decline, white people remain the largest racial or ethnic group. Demographers attribute this change to white people taking on new racial or ethnic identities, white women having fewer children and waiting longer to have them, and the opioid epidemic.
“The percentage of the country that is non-Hispanic White is decreasing and more and more jurisdictions, states, big cities are becoming majority people of color,” Melissa Michelson, a political scientist that studies population trends at Menlo College,said. “People of color are gaining power.”
“The U.S. population is much more multiracial and much more racially and ethically diverse than what we have measured in the past,” Nicholas Jones, director and adviser for race and ethnicity research and outreach at the Census Bureau, said.
“As the country has grown, we have continued to evolve in how we measure the race and ethnicity of the people who live here,” Jones said. “Today’s release of 2020 census redistricting data provides a new snapshot of the racial and ethnic composition and diversity of the country. The improvements we made to the 2020 census yield a more accurate portrait of how people self-identify in response to two separate questions on Hispanic origin and race, revealing that the U.S. population is much more multiracial and more diverse than what we measured in the past.”
In California, Latino people are the largest group in the state — accounting for 39.4% of the states population. Latinos represented 37.6% of Californians in 2010.
“Though attention focuses on immigration, most of the growth in the Hispanic population is due to excess of Hispanic births over deaths,” Kenneth Johnson, a demographer at the Carsey School at the University of New Hempshire, said. “Hispanic growth cushioned the population declines fostered by non-Hispanic population loss.”
California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, and Maryland have the most minority residents.
Washington state had the biggest decline in whites — the white population dropped down 8.7% over the last decade. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Nevada also had big declines in their white populations.
80% of metropolitian cities saw the most population growth.
“Population growth this decade was almost entirely in metro areas,” Marc Perry, a demographer at the Census Bureau, said. “Texas is a good example of this, where parts of the Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas Fort Worth, Midland and Odessa metro areas had population growth, whereas many of the state’s other counties had population declines.”
There is no longer a majority racial or ethnic group for people younger than eighteen in the United States. The data gives insight into the future and growing trends.
“If not for Hispanics, Asians, people of two or more races, those are the only groups underage that are growing,” William Frey, a senior fellow at Brookings’ Metropolitian Policy Program, said. “A lot of these young minorities are important for our future growth, not only for the child population but for our future labor force.”
The demographic data was supposed to be released in March but was postponed because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The data will be used by states to redraw electoral districts and distribute billions of dollars in federal funding among states.
There were 331,449,281 people living in the United States on April 1, 2020.