Expert Commentary

Census Bureau: Minorities in U.S. growing toward a majority

2012 report from the U.S. Census Bureau providing a picture of how demographic on race and ethnicity are shifting across the United States.

The United States reached a demographic milestone in July 2011, when for the first time the majority of new members of society — children under age 1 — were non-white. This emerging “majority-minority” population constituted 50.4% of babies born in American society during that period; this figure stood at 49% just a year prior. In total, 36.6% of the U.S. population were minorities in 2011 — some 114 million people — up from 36.1% in 2010.

In 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau compiled updated statistics on these patterns, providing a picture of how demographics are shifting across America. The bureau’s findings include:

  • There are now five “majority-minority” states/districts: California, Texas, Hawaii, New Mexico and the District of Columbia. Additionally, “more than 11% (348) of the nation’s 3,143 counties were majority-minority as of July 1, 2011, with nine of these counties achieving this status since April 1, 2010.”
  • “Nationally, the most populous minority group remains Hispanics, who numbered 52 million in 2011; they also were the fastest growing, with their population increasing by 3.1% since 2010. This boosted the Hispanic share of the nation’s total population to 16.7% in 2011, up from 16.3% in 2010.”
  • “African-Americans were the second largest minority group in the United States, at 43.9 million in 2011 (up 1.6% from 2010).”
  • “Asians, who numbered 18.2 million nationally in 2011, were the second fastest-growing minority group, growing by 3% since 2010.”
  • “The nation’s American Indian and Alaska Native population was an estimated 6.3 million in 2011, up 2.1% from 2010.”
  • Even as the racial demographics change, the nation continues to age: “There was a small uptick in the nation’s median age, from 37.2 years in 2010 to 37.3 in 2011. The 65-and-older population increased from 40.3 million to 41.4 million over the period and included 5.7 million people 85 and older. Likewise, working-age adults (age 18 to 64) saw their numbers rise by about 2 million to 196.3 million in 2011. In contrast, the number of children under 18, 74.0 million in 2011, declined by about 200,000 over the period, largely because of the decline in high school-age children 14 to 17.”

Tags: Latino, Hispanic, African-American

About The Author