Hispanic and Asian Population Fuels U.S. Growth, Census Reports

The U.S. Census Bureau reported on Thursday that the American population grew much more diverse over the past decade, with large increases in the populations of people who identify as Hispanic, Asian and more than one race.,


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A rise in Hispanic and Asian population fuels U.S. growth, census reports.

Workers distributed brochures on the U.S. Census at a Vietnamese New Year Festival in Austin, Texas, last year.Credit…Go Nakamura for The New York Times

Aug. 12, 2021Updated 2:17 p.m. ET

The U.S. Census Bureau reported on Thursday that the American population grew much more diverse over the past decade, with large increases in the populations of people who identify as Hispanic, Asian and more than one race.

The non-Hispanic white population declined by 2.6 percent since 2010, the bureau reported. The African-American population grew 5.6 percent since 2010. The Asian population grew by 35 percent. The Hispanic population rose by 23 percent. People who reported being more than one race spiked, an unexpected surge that will draw considerable focus from demographers.

People who identified as non-Hispanic white made up 69 percent of the population in 2000. On Thursday, the Census Bureau reported that share stands at 58 percent.

Across the country, 36 percent of adults are non-white, up from 25 percent a decade ago. Children are now 47 percent non-white, up from 35 percent in 2010.

The Census Bureau also reported details on the overall slowing of population growth across the country over the past decade. In all, 52 percent of all counties lost population, according to the new data, the first detailed information on race, ethnicity and population at the local level from the 2020 census.

Population growth was most pronounced in larger counties; small counties as a group lost population.

But there was growth, too.

The top five largest cities in the country are now New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix. Philadelphia is now the sixth largest city, bumped from fifth by Phoenix, which was the fastest growing of the top 20 largest cities. Its population rose by 9.4 percent.

The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, is the fastest growing metro area in the country.

McKenzie County, N.D., was the fastest growing county over the past decade, growing by more than 100 percent.

Overall, the nation’s population growth slowed dramatically over the past decade — up by just 7.4 percent compared to the previous decade, the slowest rate in nearly a century.

The new data show which cities and regions are gaining or losing population — and will also offer the most detailed picture of race in America since the last decennial census in 2010.

The numbers will immediately have a practical effect on the political map: They are the basis for redistricting, a process in which state legislatures redraw voting lines based on the changes in their states’ populations.

“These data play an important role in our democracy and also begin to illuminate how the local and demographic makeup of our nation has changed over the last decade,” said Ron Jarmin, acting director, U.S. Census Bureau. He added that the data “meet our high data quality standards.”

He added that the results also help to inform how hundreds of billions of dollars will be spent nationwide.

The nation has been growing more diverse for decades, but recently, the pace has accelerated. Immigration has bolstered the American population, and boosted the economy, bringing a younger work force that is helping support a growing older population. It has set the United States apart from Europe, where there has been less immigration and in some countries, populations have tipped into decline.

Despite the dramatic slowdown in immigration at the end of the last decade in the United States, the proportion of U.S. residents born in foreign countries is still expected to be at its highest point since the last big immigration wave around the turn of the 20th century.

Thursday’s findings are the result of the most embattled census process in decades, conducted during a pandemic under the administration of Donald J. Trump, who tried unsuccessfully to have unauthorized immigrants removed from the count. Some of those immigrants may have been afraid to respond to the census, though states like New York went out their way to count them.

Earlier this year, the government reported that over the past decade the United States population grew at the second slowest rate since it started counting in 1790, a remarkable slackening that was driven by a slowdown in immigration and a declining birthrate.

The bureau in April also reported changes to the nation’s political map: The long-running trend of the South and the West gaining population — and the congressional representation that comes with it — at the expense of the Northeast and the Midwest continued, with Texas gaining two seats and Florida one, and New York and Ohio each losing one. California, long a leader in population growth, lost a seat for the first time in history.

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