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For First Time in History, White Population Shrinks

Census: White people now account for 57.8% of the nation, the lowest percentage in history
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2021 2:04 PM CDT
White Population in US Declines for First Time Ever
The 2020 census form.   (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, File)

(Newser) – The Census Bureau is out with more stats from the 2020 count, and one big takeaway is that the white population dipped for the first time in history. All in all, the nation is “much more multiracial and much more racially and ethnically diverse than what we measured in the past,” says the Census Bureau's Nicholas Jones. Early details:

  • The Washington Post highlights this historic development: The nation's white population shrank for the first time since the census began in 1790—from 224 million in 2010 to 204 million in 2020. White people now account for 57.8% of the population, down from 63.7% in 2010. The AP notes this is the smallest share on record.
  • The census also shows that the US is more city-centric. Almost all growth took place in metro areas, and the 10 biggest cities all have at least 1 million people for the first time, reports Axios. At the same time, more than half of all counties, or 52%, saw their populations shrink from 2010.

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  • Amplifying the point about growth in metro areas: "Texas is a good example of this, where parts of the Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas Fort Worth, Midland, and Odessa metro areas had population growth, whereas many of the state's other counties had population declines," says the Census Bureau's Marc Perry, per CNN. Generally speaking, the South and Southwest continued to grow rapidly relative to the rest of the nation.
  • The overall population grew 7.4% over the decade, the second-lowest growth rate in history, reports the Wall Street Journal. And a bit more than half all growth, or 51.1%, was among Hispanic or Latino residents. (The Census Bureau revealed in April that the overall population is now 331 million.)
  • New York City remains the biggest city, with its population up 7.7%. Among the 10 biggest cities, only Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio had stronger growth rates, notes the Journal.
  • But the fastest growing metro area was The Villages, a mecca for retirees in central Florida. It grew 39% in the last 10 years.
(Read more US Census stories.)

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