Census shows strong population growth of multicultural Americans

The United States has diversified considerably over the past decade, as populations of people who identify as Hispanic and Asians have i...


The United States has diversified considerably over the past decade, as populations of people who identify as Hispanic and Asians have increased and the number of people who report being of more than one race has more than doubled, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.

Overall population growth has slowed considerably over the past decade, but the growth that has occurred – an increase of about 23 million people – was made up entirely of people who identified as Hispanic, Asian, black. and more than one race, according to the data, the first racial and ethnic breakdown of the 2020 census.

The white population declined for the first time in history. People who identify as white on the census form have declined as a proportion of the country’s population since the 1960s, when the United States lifted strict ethnic quotas aimed at keeping the country in Northern and Eastern Europe. ‘Where is.

This decrease, of 2.6%, is partly due to the aging of the white population – the the median age was 44 in 2019, compared to 30 for Hispanics – and a long-lasting decline in the birth rate. Some social scientists have speculated that another potential reason for the decrease was that more Americans who previously identified as white in the census are now choosing more than one race.

The largest population increase was among people who identified as multiple races, a category that first appeared on census forms 20 years ago, and is now the racial category and fastest growing ethnic group.

People who identify as white now represent 58% of the population, up from 64% in 2010 and 69% in 2000.

“We are living in a demographically strange time,” said Tomás Jiménez, a sociologist at Stanford University who writes on immigrants, assimilation and social mobility. “There is more choice about our individual identities and how we present them than there ever was. We can presume a lot less of who someone is based on the boxes they tick compared to previous periods. “

The data also showed that just under a majority of people under the age of 18 ticked boxes other than white – multiracial, Hispanic, Asian or black – a milestone that is the result of a younger American population. and much more diverse. Ten years ago, 65% of children were white. Overall, the number of Americans under the age of 18 has declined, in part because of the declining birth rate, according to William Frey, chief demographer at the Brookings Institution.

Thursday’s figures provide the first picture for this census of changes in the U.S. population below state level.

The five largest cities in the country are now New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix. Philadelphia is now the sixth largest city, topped the fifth by Phoenix, which has seen the fastest growing of the 10 largest cities. Its population increased by 11.2 percent.

The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, has been the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country for the decade.

The data, which shows which regions of the country experienced growth and decline, have practical utility in politics. They form the basis of redistribution, a process in which state legislatures redraw the voting lines based on changes in the population of their states.

New data shows Hispanics have accounted for about half of the country’s growth over the past decade, up about 23%. Asia’s population grew faster than expected – up about 36%, an increase that accounted for nearly a fifth of the country’s total. Nearly one in four Americans now identifies as Hispanic or Asian. The black population grew by 6 percent, an increase that represented about a tenth of the country’s growth. Americans who identified as non-Hispanic and of more than one race grew the fastest, from 6 million to 13.5 million.

And in what appears to be a big shift in the way Hispanics think about their racial identity, a third of Hispanics reported being of more than one race, up from just 6% in 2010. That means Hispanics are now almost twice as likely to identify as multiracial than as white.

Hispanic descent is considered an ethnicity and is a separate category of the race. But Hispanics can also tick race boxes.

Richard Alba, a sociologist who has studied demography and the fluidity of racial categories, said the increase in the number of multiracial Americans was a logical extension of the substantial mixing that has been occurring for years in the United States.

Among Asians and Hispanics, more than a quarter marry outside of their race, according to the Pew Research Center. For Asians born in the United States, the share is almost double.

Part of the jump to the multirace category is because the Census Bureau is collecting more detailed data, Professor Alba said, and analyzing the responses in more depth. He said he believed part of the decline in the white population was due to people moving from the category of white to the category of more than one race.

“The census does a much better job of reflecting the growing complexity of the population,” he said. “They are really trying to recognize that the world is changing over there. “

The nation has diversified for decades, but recently the pace has picked up. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 46% of the population growth in the 1970s, 36% in the 1980s, 20% in the 1990s, but only 8% of the growth in the first decade of this century and now zero in the 2010s.

Immigration is a force that has strengthened America’s population and boosted the economy, bringing in a younger workforce that helps support a growing aging population.

Despite the dramatic slowdown in immigration at the end of the decade, the proportion of US residents born abroad is still at its highest level since the last great wave of immigration at the turn of the 20th century.

Immigrants who arrived in recent years have come largely from countries in Asia and Latin America and tend to settle in large cities, such as New York and Los Angeles.

But over time, Hispanic and Asian immigrants and their children spread across the country, to small towns and rural areas.

This migration has helped sustain the numbers of people in rural areas: over the past decade, rural areas have lost black and white residents – their populations in these places have each fallen by about five percent – but the number of people who identify as Hispanic and Asians has continued to increase. In 2000, Hispanic and Asian residents made up only 6 percent of the rural population. Now it’s almost 10 percent.

But that increase was not enough to stem the tide for rural areas, which ultimately lost population over the decade, a change from the previous decade, when rural areas made modest gains.

The biggest winners in population growth have been the suburbs and retirement communities of the South and West. In counties considered retirement destinations, the population jumped 17 percent.

Industrial cities in the Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic regions experienced the greatest population losses, places such as Saginaw, Flint and Detroit in Michigan; Gary, Indiana; and Youngstown, Ohio.

The counties that have changed the most demographically over the past decade tend to be places that started out predominantly white. Counties like Alfalfa in Pennsylvania and Forsythe in Georgia are among the biggest diversity winners since 2010. Two counties in North Dakota, Cass and Ward and Livingston Parish in Louisiana, also top the list.

Today, about 98% of Americans live in a county with a growing number of Latinos, and 95% live in a county where the Asian population is growing. Diversity is increasing in 19 out of 20 countries.

Yet growth has slowed dramatically, even for Hispanics and Asians, in part because of declining birth rate, as well as a drop in immigration. For example, the Asian population grew by only half the rate of the previous decade, when it grew by around 43%. The growth of the Hispanic population has declined even more sharply.

The growth of the black population also slowed, but was still large. All but nine states gained black residents, and the black share of the population increased in 32 states. While half of the country’s population growth has occurred in the South, 70 percent of the black population growth has occurred in these states. The vast majority of the growth of the black population was suburban. It increased by 6% overall but by 12% in peri-urban areas.

And in a new twist likely to grab the attention of demographers, the black population declined in predominantly black neighborhoods but increased in neighborhoods where blacks made up less than 10 percent of the population.

The white population may have declined nationally, but it has increased in parts of the country. As in previous decades, the vast majority of white population growth has occurred in initially predominantly white neighborhoods – largely exurbs on the outskirts of metropolitan areas.

Nearly three dozen states have lost their white populations, and all of them except the District of Columbia, which is treated as a state for statistical purposes, have seen the share of white residents plummet.

Race can be socially constructed, but understanding it has important political effects. One change that has had a political resonance has been the shrinking share of the white population, with the right seeing the change as a threat and the left celebrating it as some kind of demographic destiny in which an increasing number of people of color will vote for it. the Democrats.

Professor Jiménez, whose Santa Clara County, Calif., Became a white minority more than 20 years ago, said these two views are most common among highly politicized Americans and most people do not notice the diversity.

“You go to places that have been a majority minority for a long time and diversity is mundane – it’s not like everyone has bumper stickers saying they celebrate diversity,” he said. “It’s not something they celebrate or panic. It is above all a fact of life.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Census shows strong population growth of multicultural Americans
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