The first detailed results of the 2020 census show a diversifying nation where the total white population shrank for the first time in its history and where large metropolitan areas, especially in the South and Southwest, saw the strongest growth.

The non-Hispanic white population dropped 2.6% between 2010 and 2020, a decline that puts that group’s share of the total U.S. population below 60%. The number of people who identify as more than one race or ethnicity grew at the fastest rate of any group, partly due to changes that captured more detailed responses.

The nation’s population grew just 7.4% during the decade, the second slowest on record for a decennial census. Only the 1930s—the era of the Great Depression—saw slower growth. Slightly more than half, or 51%, of the total U.S. population growth in the latest period came from increases among Hispanic or Latino residents, the Census Bureau said.

The declining white total reflects decades of falling birthrates, rising death rates and minimal immigration. Non-Hispanic white residents remain the largest racial or ethnic group counted by the government. But as the U.S. diversifies, groupings have become more ambiguous. “White non-Hispanic” is the narrowest “white” definition used under federal standards, which treat a Hispanic ethnicity separately from race. Millions more say that they are white as well as another race or that they are white and Hispanic.

The census counted 62 million people who claimed Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, up 23% from 2010. They represent 18.7% of the population, up from 16.3% in 2010. Hispanics can be of any race.

The Asian population reached 20 million, up 36% from 2010. It represents 6% of the total U.S. population, up from 4.8% in 2010.

The Black population grew to 41 million, up 6% from 2010. Its share of the nation’s population reached 12.4%, down from 12.6% in 2010.

The census also counted 3.7 million American Indians and Alaska Natives, 27% more than in 2010. They made up 1.1% of the population, up from 0.9%. It counted 690,000 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, an increase of 28%. They remained about 0.2% of the population.

Delayed more than four months by the Covid-19 pandemic, the new results detail the racial makeup of every county, city, neighborhood and block in the country. Legislators and commissions will immediately use them to begin redrawing local and federal voting districts in time for next year’s elections.


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