2010 Census: The Country's Diversification Continues

Mar 24, 2011

By Hannah Matthews

Young children are the most racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse of any age group-but they are not unique. They are leading the way for a country that is growing in diversity.

Today, final state level data from the 2010 Census were released. The data provide a rich picture of the country's population that will be analyzed across multiple substantive areas by demographers and researchers in the months and years to come. The data show that more than half of the increase in the total U.S. population was due to an increase in the country's Latino population, which grew by 43 percent. At 50.5 million people, Latinos now comprise 16 percent of the U.S. population. The Asian population experienced an equal pace of growth (43 percent) rising to 14.7 million people, nearly 5 percent of the total population. (Note that Hispanic/Non-Hispanic origin and Race are asked as two separate questions on the Census.)

Texas joined three other states (California, Hawaii, and New Mexico) and the District of Columbia in having a "majority-minority" population, where more than half of the population is minority. Based on 2009 data, we know that the number of states with "majority-minority" child populations is even higher.

In part, immigration trends contribute to increasing racial and ethnic diversity. From 1990 to 2000, the foreign-born U.S. population grew by 57 percent. From 2000 to 2009, the pace of growth continued at 24 percent. At 12.5 percent of the US population, immigrants now comprise a larger share of the total population since the 1920's. Among the child population, the share of children with immigrant parents is 25 percent.

CLASP will continue to highlight additional Census data as it's released, particularly those that focus on the characteristics of young children and their families. We're also hosting an upcoming policy event that will explore the changing demographics of children with a focus on trends in child well-being.

The data confirm that now is the time to focus early childhood policies and practices on delivering high-quality services that are accessible and appropriate for culturally diverse children and their families. As our population as a whole continues to diversify, our public policies must follow suit.

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