by Mark Mather, associate vice president, Domestic Programs
Yesterday the Census Bureau released the first national data broken down by race and Hispanic origin from the 2010 Census. Here are some of the highlights:
- Minorities are driving nearly all of the population growth in the United States and there are lots of states, including California and many states in the Northeast and Midwest that would be seeing population declines if it weren’t for minority population growth. Minorities make up more than one-third of the total U.S. population (36 percent, up from 31 percent in 2000).
- It’s mostly Latinos who are driving this population change. Latinos now number more than 50 million. That’s more than double the Latino population in 1990 and a 43 percent increase since 2000. Latino population growth was most rapid in the South, where many states have seen their Latino populations double during the past 10 years.
- We’re seeing these changes despite a drop in immigration levels during the recession, which reduced net immigration from Latin America. Even if you closed the borders to new immigrants, the Latino population would continue to grow because it’s a young population with a lot of momentum. Immigration has put the U.S. on a path to become “majority minority” in the coming decades.
- There’s a growing demographic divide between older and younger generations. We have a large cohort of mostly white baby boomers—now reaching retirement ages—which stands in contrast to an increasingly racially/ethnically diverse younger generation. In fact, nearly half of all children under age 18 are now racial/ethnic minorities. In 10 states and Washington DC, the proportion of children who are minorities has already passed 50 percent (up from 5 states in 2000). About 1-in-6 U.S. residents are Latino, but for the population under age 18, the figure is about 1-in-4.
- The multiracial population is increasing but still represents a small share of overall population (about 3 percent). Slight changes to the race question on the Census Bureau’s questionnaire may have dampened multiracial identification in 2010.
- Population growth of Asian Americans matched that of Latinos since 2000, at 43 percent. The number of Asian Americans added to the population since 2000, at 4.4 million, exceeded the increase in African Americans (4.3 million).
Stay tuned for more information. In June, PRB will release a report with detailed national, state, and local trends based on our comprehensive review of the 2010 Census apportionment and redistricting data.