The past decade has brought about a rapid increase in the number of people of color in the US, but unlike past decades, the population growth of racial minorities wasn’t just in major metropolitan areas, the latest census figures show.
The percentage of racial minorities increased in coastal suburbs, manufacturing towns and even midwestern farming counties.
The rapid diversifying of the US was among the most notable findings of the 2020 census – the result of a year-long effort to count every person in the country. Nationwide, the number of people who identified as white fell by 8.6%, which means just 58% of Americans now identify as solely white.
Only in a handful of southern counties did the portion of white people actually increase. Nearly everywhere else, the population got more diverse:
Much of the population growth was limited to larger metropolitan areas. That doesn’t necessarily mean that people moved to cities; in fact, it probably means that suburbs that are within commuting distance of cities have become more popular over the last few years.
But it does mean many rural areas, particularly in the east, are continuing to shrink.
Meanwhile, huge population growth in Texas, Florida, Oregon, Montana, Colorado and North Carolina means that those states will get additional congressional seats.
The map of population growth tracks quite closely with where the racial minority populations have grown most, and it’s largely near big cities.
Most notably, the Hispanic population increased by nearly 12 million, or more than 20 percent – most drastically in Florida, Texas, California, the New York City area and New England.
Meanwhile, the Asian population grew by more than 5 million, with the biggest increases near New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The number of Black Americans in many major cities dropped, though there was growth near Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Miami and Las Vegas.
More detailed census data is scheduled to be released in the coming months.