By Mabinty Quarshie and Donovan Slack—Aug. 12, 2021
The United States experienced unprecedented multiracial population growth and a decline in the white population for the first time in the nation’s history, according to U.S. Census officials, who released data Thursday revealing the most sweeping picture of America’s racial and ethnic makeup in a decade.
“These changes reveal that the US population is much more multiracial, and more racially and ethnically diverse, than what we measured in the past,” said Nicholas Jones, the director of race, ethnicity, research and outreach for the Census Bureau’s population division.
The white, non-Hispanic population, without another race, decreased by 8.6% since 2010, according to the new data from the 2020 census. The U.S. is now 57.8% white, 18.7% Hispanic, 12.4% Black and 6% Asian.
Some of those changes, Jones said, can be attributed to improvements to the survey. The white, non-Hispanic population is still the largest racial group in the U.S.
Nevertheless, the release bolstered expert predictions that the United States is becoming a more diverse nation, with continued expansion of the Hispanic, Black and Asian American populations and growing numbers of multiracial residents – only a fraction in past surveys.
“The diversity that we’re seeing in this country is going to be much more pronounced,” said William Frey, senior fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.
In 2020, 33.8 million people reported being more than one race, more than a threefold increase from 2010, when 9 million people, or 2.9% of the population, identified that way. A fraction of residents reported being multiracial in 2000 (6.8 million, 2.4%), the first year respondents had the option.
At the national level, there was a 61.1% chance that two people chosen at random in a given area would be of different racial or ethnic groups. That same probability – called a diversity index by census officials – was 54.9 % in 2010.
The states with the highest diversity index scores in 2020 were in the west, with Hawaii at 76%, California with 69.7% and Nevada at 68.8%.
Read more at USA Today.