The new demographic data reported that the non-Hispanic white population dropped for the first time on record.
The figures released Thursday by the US Census Bureau offered the most detailed portrait yet of how the country has changed since 2010 and will also be instrumental in redrawing the nation’s political maps.
One aspect of the data that is most interesting is the fact that the population of white people has dropped, as the country is becoming more diverse.
The 2020 census found that white people still make up the country’s largest racial or ethnic group, with a total of 235 million identifying either as white alone or in combination with another group. People who identify as white alone have decreased by 8 percent since 2010.
The decrease in the white population is offset by a significant increase in the number of people who identify as two or more races, or multiracial, which grew by 276 percent over the past decade, from 9 million in 2010 to 33.8 million in 2020.
“As the country has grown, we have continued to evolve in how we measure the race and ethnicity of the people who live here,” Nicholas Jones, director and senior advisor for race and ethnicity research and outreach at the Census Bureau, said in a statement.
“Today’s release of 2020 Census redistricting data provides a new snapshot of the racial and ethnic composition and diversity of the country,” he added.
The census figures have been eagerly awaited by states, and they are sure to set off an intense partisan battle over-representation at a time of deep national division and fights over voting rights.
The numbers could help determine control of the US House in the 2022 elections and provide an electoral edge for the next decade. The data will also shape how $1.5 trillion in federal spending is distributed each year.
The figures show continued migration to the South and West and population losses in the Mississippi Delta, Appalachia, and smaller counties that lost people to larger counties.
The numbers also indicate that the white population is aging and has fallen to its smallest share of the total population on record, though there are some exceptions.
The share of the white population actually grew in coastal communities in the Carolinas and Virginia, as well as in counties stretching through the midsections of Georgia and Alabama. The population under age 18 is increasingly diverse.
Nicholas Jones, the director and senior advisor of race and ethnic research and outreach in the US Census Bureau’s population division, spoke about how the population in the US is shifting.
“Our analysis of the 2020 Census results show that the US population is much more multiracial, and more racially and ethnically diverse than what we measured in the past,” Nicholas said, adding that the improvement made in last year’s Census helped to create a “more accurate” portrait of how people self-identify.
Meanwhile, Marc Perry, senior demographer at the US Census Bureau stated that “population growth this decade was almost entirely in metro areas.”
“Texas is a good example of this,” Perry said. “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.”
According to the Census, the Hispanic or Latino population in the country grew by 23 percent over the last decade and now includes 62.1 million people.
The Black or African American population now numbers 46.9 million, while 24 million people in the country identified as Asian alone or in a combined group.
Back in April, the Census Bureau released state population totals showing how many congressional seats each state gets. The states with the highest DI scores are located in the West and include Hawaii, California, and Nevada.
The start of the 2020 census for most US residents coincided with the spread of the virus last year, forcing the Census Bureau to delay operations and extend the count’s schedule.
Because census data is tied to where people were on April 1, 2020, the numbers will not reflect the loss of nearly 620,000 people in the U.S. who died from COVID-19.
Generally, the US population growth has slowed drastically over the past decade. As of April 1, 2020, the total population of the United States was 331,449,281, just 22.7 million more than it was in 2010.
It’s the second-lowest population increase in the country’s history. Only the 1930s saw slower growth.
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