WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Census Bureau just released the second in a series of 2010 Census briefs, Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010, which looks at our nation's changing racial and ethnic diversity and provides a snapshot of the racial and Hispanic origin composition of the United States.
The examination of racial and ethnic group distributions nationally shows that while the non-Hispanic white alone population is still numerically and proportionally the largest major race and ethnic group in the United States, it is also growing at the slowest rate. Conversely, the Hispanic and Asian populations have grown considerably, in part because of relatively higher levels of immigration.
Hispanic Population Growth
More than half of the growth in the total U.S. population between 2000 and 2010 was because of the increase in the Hispanic population. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, rising from 35.3 million in 2000 to 50.5 million in 2010. The rise in the Hispanic population accounted for more than half of the 27.3 million increase in the total U.S. population. By 2010, Hispanics comprised 16 percent of the total U.S. population of 308.7 million.
The non-Hispanic population grew relatively slower over the decade at about 5 percent. Within the non-Hispanic population, the number of people who reported their race as white alone grew even slower (1 percent). While the non-Hispanic white alone population increased numerically from 194.6 million to 196.8 million over the 10-year period, its proportion of the total population declined from 69 percent to 64 percent.
The overwhelming majority (97 percent) of the total U.S. population reported only one race in 2010. This group totaled 299.7 million. Of these, the largest group reported white alone (223.6 million), accounting for 72 percent of all people living in the United States. The black or African-American population totaled 38.9 million and represented 13 percent of the total population.
Approximately 14.7 million people (about 5 percent of all respondents) identified their race as Asian alone. There were 2.9 million respondents who indicated American Indian and Alaska Native alone (0.9 percent). The smallest major race group was Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone (0.5 million), which represented 0.2 percent of the total population. The remainder of respondents who reported only one race, 19.1 million people (6 percent of all respondents), were classified as "some other race" alone.
Nine million people reported more than one race in the 2010 Census and made up about 3 percent of the total population. Ninety-two percent of people who reported multiple races provided exactly two races in 2010; white and black was the largest multiple-race combination. An additional 8 percent of the two or more races population reported three races and less than 1 percent reported four or more races.
Three quarters of multiple race combinations were comprised of four groups in 2010: white and black (1.8 million), white and"some other race" (1.7 million), white and Asian (1.6 million), and white and American Indian or Alaska Native (1.4 million).
The population reporting their race as white, either alone or with at least one other race, was the largest of all the alone-or-in-combination categories (231.0 million) and represented about three-fourths of the total population. About 14 percent of the total population reported their race as black, either alone or with at least one other race, which was the second-largest of the alone-or-in-combination categories (42.0 million). There were 21.7 million people classified as some other race alone or in combination and 17.3 million people classified as Asian alone or in combination in the 2010 Census, making up 7 percent and 6 percent of the total population, respectively. The two smallest alone-or-in-combination categories were American Indian and Alaska Native (5.2 million) and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (1.2 million), making up 2 percent and 0.4 percent of the total population, respectively.
Asian Population Growth
The Asian alone population grew faster than any other major race group between 2000 and 2010, increasing by 43 percent. The Asian alone population had the second-largest numeric change (4.4 million), growing from 10.2 million in 2000 to 14.7 million in 2010. They gained the most in share of the total population, moving up from about 4 percent in 2000 to about 5 percent in 2010.
In the 2010 Census, just over one-third of the U.S. population reported their race and ethnicity as something other than non-Hispanic white alone (i.e. "minority"). This group increased from 86.9 million to 111.9 million between 2000 and 2010, representing a growth of 29 percent over the decade.
Geographically, particularly in the South and West, a number of areas had large proportions of the total population that was minority. Nearly half of the West's population was minority (47 percent), numbering 33.9 million. Among the states, Californialed the nation with the largest minority population at 22.3 million.
Between 2000 and 2010, Texas joined California, the District of Columbia, Hawaii and New Mexico in having a "majority-minority" population, where more than 50 percent of the population was part of a minority group. Among all states, Nevada's minority population increased at the highest rate, by 78 percent.
Race and Hispanic Origin Data
The Census Bureau collects race and Hispanic origin information following the U.S. Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) standards for collecting and tabulating data on race and ethnicity. In October 1997, the OMB issued the current standards, which identify five race groups: white, black or African-American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. The Census Bureau also utilized a sixth category — "some other race." Respondents who reported only one race are shown in these six groups.
Individuals were first presented with the option to self-identify with more than one race in the 2000 Census, and this continued in the 2010 Census. People who identify with more than one race may choose to provide multiple races in response to the race question. The 2010 Census results provide new data on the size and makeup of the nation's multiracial population.
Respondents who reported more than one of the six race groups are included in the "two or more races" population. There are 57 possible combinations of the six race groups.
The Census Bureau included the "some other race" category for responses that could not be classified in any of the other race categories on the questionnaire. The vast majority of people who reported only as "some other race" were of Hispanic or Latino origin. Data on Hispanics or Latinos, who may be of any race, were obtained from a separate question on ethnicity.