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2020 Census Data Indicates White Population in America Is Shrinking as Nation Becomes More Diverse

2020 Census Data Indicates White Population in America Is Shrinking as Nation Becomes More Diverse

Meant to be a melting pot of all peoples, America is now seeing the national population shift to a more diverse majority for the first time. According to the 2020 Census, while no one racial or ethnic group dominates for those under 18, the white population in the United States has declined in numbers for the first time on record as the Hispanic and Asian populations boomed this past decade, according to the data.

The figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau offered the most detailed portrait yet of how the country has changed since 2010 and will also be instrumental in redrawing the nation’s political maps. The data release offers states the first chance to redraw their political districts in a process that is expected to be particularly brutish since control over Congress and statehouses is at stake. It also provides the first opportunity to see, on a limited basis, how well the Census Bureau fulfilled its goal of counting every U.S. resident during what many consider the most difficult once-a-decade census in recent memory. Communities of color have been undercounted in past censuses. The agency likely will not know how good a job it did until next year, when it releases a survey showing undercounts and overcounts.

Reading, PA – September 25: Reading Mayor Eddie Moran speaks. Outside the 3rd and Spruce Recreation Center in Reading Friday afternoon September 25, 2020 where the City of Reading held an event to encourage people to fill out the census. (Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

The data offered a mirror not only into the demographic changes of the past decade, but also a glimpse into the future. To that end, they showed there is now no majority racial or ethnic group for people younger than 18, as the share of non-Hispanic whites in the age group dropped from 53.5% to 47.3% over the decade. The Asian and Hispanic populations burgeoned from 2010 to 2020, respectively increasing by around a third and almost a quarter over the decade. The Asian population reached 24 million people in 2020, and the Hispanic population hit 62.1 million people.

White people continue to be the most prevalent racial or ethnic group, though that changed in California, where Hispanics became the largest racial or ethnic group, growing from 37.6% to 39.4% over the decade, while the share of white people dropped from 40.1% to 34.7%. California, the nation’s most populous state, joined Hawaii, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia as a place where non-Hispanic white people are no longer the dominant group.

Republicans are especially concerned about the new numbers, as they’re sure to set off an intense partisan battle over representation at a time of deep national division and fights over voting rights. The new shift resulting in more Hispanic, Asian, and Black voters could help determine control of the House in the 2022 elections and provide an electoral edge for years to come as Democrats traditionally embrace the diversity votes while Republicans always court the white votes above all others. The census data also will shape how $1.5 trillion in annual federal spending is distributed, another point of contention between Democrats and the GOP.

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