2020 census finds U.S. white population shrinking

·Reporter
·2 min read

Newly released census data shows that the United States has become more diverse over the last decade, while the white population is on the decline.

The 2020 census found that white people still make up the country’s largest racial or ethnic group, with a total of 235.4 million identifying either as white alone or in combination with another group. However, the population of people who identify as white alone has decreased by 8.6 percent since 2010.

Census.gov
Census.gov

The decrease in the white population is offset by a significant increase in the number of people who identify as two or more races, or multiracial, which grew by 276 percent over the past decade, from 9 million in 2010 to 33.8 million in 2020.

These findings were drawn from demographic data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday. The data, which will be used by states to redraw electoral districts and help shape the distribution of federal spending, was slated to be released in late March but was postponed due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A 2020 census letter
A 2020 census letter. (Paul Sancya/AP)

“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, director and senior adviser for race and ethnicity research and outreach at the Census Bureau. “Today’s release of 2020 census redistricting data provides a new snapshot of the racial and ethnic composition and diversity of the country. The improvements we made to the 2020 census yield a more accurate portrait of how people self-identify in response to two separate questions on Hispanic origin and race, revealing that the U.S. population is much more multiracial and more diverse than what we measured in the past.”

Historically, people of color have been undercounted by the census, and ​​advocates had expressed concerns that the Trump administration’s failed attempt to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census would discourage participation among Hispanic and immigrant communities.

Ron Jarmin, acting director of the Census Bureau, said Thursday that while “no census is perfect, we are confident that today’s redistricting results meet our high-quality data standards.”

Rows of homes are shown in suburban Salt Lake City
A view of suburban Salt Lake City. The Census Bureau's release of demographic changes in each state will initiate the once-a-decade redistricting process that helps determine which party controls state legislatures and the U.S. House. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

Overall, U.S. population growth has slowed significantly over the past decade. As of April 1, 2020, the total population of the United States was 331,449,281 — just 22.7 million more than it was in 2010, the second-lowest population increase in the country’s history. Only the 1930s saw slower growth.

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