Friday, August 13, 2021

America's Growing Racial Diversity

The Census Bureau has released the first detailed data from the 2020 U.S. census. The data in 2020 Census Statistics - Local Population Changes and Nation’s Racial and Ethnic Diversity reveals which areas of the United States have seen a rise or fall in population since 2010 and how the racial diversity of local populations has changed in the last ten years.

Population Change

Overall the United States population grew by 7.4% between 2010 and 2020. However despite that growth 52% of all counties in the whole country experienced a population decrease since the 2010 Census. Rural counties experienced the largest population decreases while metro areas mostly experienced population growth. Overall metro areas grew by 9% from 2010 to 2020. Metro areas in the south and west of the country saw some of the largest growth. The Villages, FL, which grew from 93,000 people to 130,000 people, was the fastest growing metro area in the country. 

You can explore which counties experienced population growth and which counties shrank in population on the Census Bureau's 2020 Population and Housing State Data interactive map. If you select a county on this map you can compare its 2010 and 2020 populations and view the percentage change in the local population over those ten years. 

Growing Diversity

In the 2020 census the White population remained the largest race or ethnicity group. However the United States is becoming more racially diverse. The White alone population, while still the largest group, has decreased in size by by 8.6% since 2010. The Two or More Races population (also referred to as the Multiracial population) grew by 276% since 2010. The Hispanic or Latino population grew by 23% overall. This compares to a growth of 4.3% for the non-Hispanic or Latino population.

The Washington Post in Mapping America's Racial Population Shifts Over the Last Decade has mapped out where different racial groups have grown the most in the last ten years. This map uses different colored population spikes to show the relative growth of different ethnicity groups across the United States.

The Hispanic population is one of the fastest growing racial/ethnicity groups. Nearly every county in America saw a growth in the Hispanic population in the last ten years. However half of the U.S. Hispanic population still live in the four states bordering Mexico (California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas).

The Asian and Pacific Islander population actually saw the fastest growth rate of all racial/ethnicity groups, although from a much smaller 2010 population. Counties along the West and Northeast coasts saw the largest rises in the Asian and Pacific Islander population.

The Black population remained relatively the same as a percentage of the total U.S. population. In the last three decades the Black population has been around 12 percent of the total U.S. population. However Black Americans did show the biggest shift from rural to suburban and urban areas. Rural counties overall saw a 6% drop in the Black population, while urban and suburban counties outside of the biggest metro areas saw an 11% increase in the Black population.

The 2020 census saw the first ever population decrease in the number of people who self-define as non-Hispanic White. The population decreased by 5.1 million. White Americans decreased in over three-quarters of counties. The Northeast and the Midwest saw some of the largest decreases. Around 4 in 10 people identified as non-White in the 2020 census. This number is expected to grow by the time of the 2030 census.

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