Diversity Expansion Underscores New Census Estimates

Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show all race and ethnic groups grew year-over-year from June 30, 2015, through June 30, 2016. Those categorized in the white demographic increased at the slowest rate while non-white Hispanics, Asians, and people who identify as multiracial grew much more rapidly in comparison.

Census numbers show both the Asian population and people self-identifying as multiracial grew at a rate of 3 percent, now accounting for 21 million and 8.5 million, respectively. The Hispanic population grew by 2 percent to reach 57.5 million while black population growth ticked at 1.2 percent to reach 47 million.

These numbers contrast to white population growth rate of less than one-hundredth of 1 percent, to reach the current 198 million headcount. However, Census projections show whites will continue to comprise the majority of the population through 2040.

Interestingly, reported Pew Research Center numbers say President Trump’s primary support in the 2016 election was strongest among white voters who felt “left behind in an increasingly diverse country,” according to a Yahoo News story. Interestingly, white voter turnout for the election increased while black turnout dropped and the non-white electorate remained flat compared to the 2012 election.

“Any sort of impact on politics may be several decades in the future,” says Pew Hispanic research director Mark Hugo.

In Texas, Hispanic teens are driving a large portion of the state’s growth, according to a Texas Tribune report on Census numbers. More than half of the population growth in Texas since 2010 is the result of a growth of the Hispanic population, which is spread throughout the state. Of the 2.7 million increase in the Texas population since 2010, only around 444,000 are categorized as part of the white demographic while more than three times that number– 1.4 million– were categorized as Hispanic. All but 11 of Texas counties saw Hispanic growth while only a handful of the counties didn’t experience a decline in the white population.

Demographic shifts in the state of Texas, according to The Tribune’s report, means “population growth among Texans of color, particularly Hispanics, sets up the state to face significant political and economic repercussions in the coming years.”

In particular is the state’s next redistricting cycle after the 2020 census. State lawmakers rejigger congressional boundaries and legislative districts based on those numbers.

Additional factors in the growth trajectory include workforce implications as well as public education where bilingual needs continue to grow. Among the issues around education is the educational achievement gap between students of color and white students. Unless the gap is closed, students behind the curve who age into the workforce could hurt the state’s competitiveness in attracting and retaining businesses.

In other areas of the country, California counts both the largest number of white and nonwhite Hispanics in its population– 30 million and 15.3 million, respectively. New Mexico counts the highest percentage of non-white Hispanics in its population– 48.5 percent. In Maine, 97 percent of the population is white.