Census data: America is Browning and Diversifying while White population falls below 60%


According to the 2020 census data, the white people declined in numbers for the first time on record while Hispanic and Asian populations boomed this past decade. 

William Frey, a senior fellow at Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program quoted by AP, “If not for Hispanics, Asians, people of two or more races, those are the only groups underage that are growing. 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 key takeaways from the 2020 census data include:

  • White population declined for the first time on record – A U.S. headcount has been carried out every decade since 1790, and this was the first one in which the non-Hispanic white population nationwide got smaller, shrinking from 196 million in 2010 to 191 million in 2020.
  • US population growth slows, but some regions boom – The census shows the US population currently stands at 331,449,281 – an increase of 7.4% over 2010’s count. The number is the slowest since the 1930s during the Great Depression. However, some regions are booming: the South grew fastest at 10.2%, the West was second fastest at 9.2%, followed by the north-east at 4.1%.
  • Hispanic and Asian population boom – The Hispanic population grew by almost a quarter over the decade. The Asian growth jumped more than a third over the decade, rising to 24 million people in 2020.
  • The U.S. population may be growing more slowly, but it continued its 80-year-long trend of shifting to the South and the West. The census highlights what most of us have been observing: Americans have moved out of the industrial Midwest and Northeast, chasing jobs, more affordable housing, growing new suburbs and vibrant cities.
  • Growth Projection – The United States is projected to grow by nearly 79 million people in the next 4 decades, from about 326 million to 404 million between 2017 and 2060. The population is projected to cross the 400-million mark in 2058.

Explore the Diversity Index by state in our new #dataviz based on the latest #2020Census data


Links and references

  • 2020 Census The 2020 Census counted every person living in the United States and the five U.S. territories. It marked the 24th census in U.S. history and the first time that households were invited to respond to the census online.
  • Demographic Turning Points for the United States: Population Projections for 2020 to 2060 Population Estimates and Projections
  • Decennial Census P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data – Since the first Census Redistricting Data Program, conducted as part of the 1980 census, the U.S. Census Bureau has included summaries for the major race groups specified by the Statistical Programs and Standards Office of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in Directive 15 (as issued in 1977 and revised in 1997). Originally, the tabulation groups included White, Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Asian/Pacific Islander, plus “some other race.” These race data were also cross-tabulated by Hispanic/Non-Hispanic origin. At the request of the state legislatures and the Department of Justice, for the 1990 Census Redistricting Data Program, voting age (18 years old and over) was added to the cross-tabulation of race and Hispanic origin. For the 2000 Census, these categories were revised to the current categories used today.

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