The United States has diversified considerably over the past decade, as populations who identify as Hispanic and Asians have increased and the number of people who identify themselves as mixed race (more than one race) has increased, has the Census Bureau reported Thursday. ).
The total population has grown considerably more slowly over the past decade. The growth that has taken place – roughly 23 million people – has been shaped entirely by those who identified as Hispanic, Asian, black and mixed race, shows the first analysis of racial and ethnic data from the 2020 census.
The white population of the United States has declined over the past decade, for the first time officially. People who identify as white on the census form have declined as a percentage of the country’s population since the 1960s, when the United States became more open to non-European immigrants.
This reduction is due in part to the aging of the white population and a sharp drop in the birth rate.
The largest increase was seen among people who identified as mixed race, a racial and ethnic category that first appeared on the form 20 years ago and is now the fastest growing. This population has more than doubled.
“We are living in a strange demographic period,” said Tomás Jiménez, a sociologist at Stanford University who writes on immigrants, assimilation and social mobility. “There are more choices than ever about our individual identities and how we present them.
The figures released Thursday are the first image from the most recent census of changes in the U.S. population below state level.
The five largest cities in the country are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix. Philadelphia is now the sixth city, taken in fifth place by Phoenix, which has seen the fastest growing of the 20 largest in the country. Its population increased by 9.4%.
The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, was the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country. And McKenzie County, North Dakota, has seen the fastest growth in the past decade. Its population has more than doubled.
The data, which provides the most detailed picture of races in the United States since the last decennial census in 2010, forms the basis of “redistribution,” a process in which legislatures redraw constituency boundaries based on changing trends. of their population. .
The increase in the number of people identifying themselves as Asian and Hispanic has been less drastic than in previous decades, but still much more robust than the increase in the number of Americans who marked the “white” or “black” square. .
Data shows Hispanics have accounted for about half of the country’s growth over the past decade, increasing by about 23%. Asia’s population grew faster than expected – around 36%, an increase that accounted for nearly a fifth of the country’s growth.
Almost one in four Americans identifies as Hispanic or Asian. The black population grew by 6%, which is about a tenth of the national growth. Americans who identify as non-Hispanic and Métis increased the fastest, from 6 million to 13.5 million.
And in what appears to be the biggest shift in the way Hispanics think about their racial identity, a third of them said they belonged to more than one race, up from 6% in 2010. This means that Hispanics do ‘today are almost twice as likely to identify as multiracial than as white.
Hispanic descent is counted as an ethnicity, which is a different racial category. But Hispanics can also mark race squares.
The United States 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 and 20% in the 1990s, but only 8% of the growth in the first decade of this century and zero in the 2010s.
“This is a pivotal time for the country in terms of diversity,” said William Frey, chief demographer at the Brookings Institute. “Part of our population is aging and growing slowly. To compensate for this, we have non-whites who are younger and grow faster. They help us project ourselves further into a century where diversity will be the hallmark of our demography. “
Translated by Luiz Roberto M. Gonçalves