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White Population Growth Fueled by Hispanics

As diversity increases, the number of non-Hispanic Whites stays relatively flat
  • January 16 2012

The White population of the United States has become more diverse, with Hispanics accounting for a greater share then ever. The number of people who identified themselves as White in the 2010 U.S. Census was 5.7 percent higher than 2010, but that growth rate was sizably lower than the 9.7 percent increase of the general population, and much of the increase (81 percent) was attributable to people who reported they are Hispanic.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau brief The White Population: 2010, White people were 72.4 percent of the U.S. population in 2010, down from 75.1 percent in 2000. While the White population increased slightly more than 12 million to 223.5 million, all but 2.2 million of that increase came from people who said they were Hispanic. In fact, Hispanics represented 12 percent of the White population in 2010, up from 8 percent in 2000.

Geographically, 36 percent of the 2010 White population lived in the South, 24 percent in the Midwest, 21 percent in the West, and 18 percent in the Northeast.

Five states, meanwhile, accounted for more than two thirds of the Hispanic White population: California (24 percent), Texas (24 percent), Florida (12 percent), New York (5 percent) and Illinois (4 percent).

During the 2000s, the non-Hispanic White population decreased in 15 states, 11 of which were in the Northeast and the Midwest: Connecticut (-4 percent), Massachusetts (-4 percent), New Jersey (-6 percent), New York (-4 percent), Pennsylvania (-2 percent), Rhode Island (-6 percent), Illinois (-3 percent), Iowa (-0.3 percent), Kansas (-0.2 percent), Michigan (-3 percent) and Ohio (-2 percent).
Fewer states in the South saw declines in the non-Hispanic White population: Louisiana (-2 percent), Maryland (-4 percent) and Mississippi (-0.3 percent). California was the only state in the West with a non-Hispanic White population that declined (-5 percent).

In nine of the 20 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the United States, the percentage of the non-Hispanic White population living inside versus outside the largest principal cities increased (Los Angeles, the District of Columbia, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Atlanta, Miami, Boston and San Diego). This unique pattern differed largely from the total population, where the percentages of people living inside the largest principal cities decreased in 19 of the 20 largest metro areas.


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