U.S. Population More Racially, Ethnically Diverse Than Ever, Census Finds
(Bloomberg) -- The number of people of color in the U.S. is growing, pointing toward a future in which the country is majority non-White.
Redistricting data from the 2020 U.S. Census showed the nation is more racially and ethnically diverse than ever before. The number of people who identify as more than one race increased 276%, reaching 33.8 million in 2020 from 9 million in 2010. The White population, while still a majority, decreased 8.6%. The Latino population -- which the Census asks about separately from race -- grew 23%. The Asian population grew 35.5%, and the African American population grew 5.6%.
“As the country has grown, we have continued to evolve in how we measure the race and ethnicity of the people who live here,” said Nicholas Jones, the bureau’s director and senior adviser for race and ethnicity research. “The U.S. population is much more multiracial and more diverse than what we measured in the past.”
While Census officials said their numbers are sound, significant problems including the pandemic, natural disasters and political pressures from the Trump administration clouded 2020 data collection, according to demographers.
The bureau also reported significant nonresponse rates for some questions, forcing officials to rely on “educated guesses.” New privacy techniques and updated racial metrics mean it could be months until there is a fuller picture of demographic changes.
Brookings Institution demographer William Frey said the Bureau has done everything it can to ensure the data is accurate, including delaying Thursday’s data drop. Local officials and researchers will refine the numbers over the coming months, but the overall trend is consistent.
“The 21st century is going to be one where we’re moving from an old, White, baby boomer dominated culture to one that’s increasingly going to be open to more youthful diversity, which will really define the first half of this century,” Frey said.
Thursday’s release is one of several batches from last year’s survey. The Census Bureau reported in April that the U.S. population grew by 7.4% since 2010, the slowest pace since the 1930s. It also showed the population’s continuing slide to the South and West.
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