Census data shows big shifts in the US population
So far, the only age-related data released from the 2020 count simply divides the population into two groups: those under 18 and those 18 or older. The agency said it will release more detailed age data next year.
America’s population is becoming more diverse, less rural
The US Constitution requires the government to make a full count of the country’s residents and where they live once every decade. The numbers obtained are used to determine the number of members of each state in the United States House of Representatives. The data also determines how more than $675 billion in federal funds are spent each year, on everything from schools and roads to Medicare Part B benefits.
Data released Aug. 12 shows the country is rapidly making long-predicted changes in racial and ethnic diversity, and in rural and urban populations. Key findings include:
- While the white population continues to be the largest racial group in the country, the number of people who said white was their only race (as opposed to white as part of being biracial or multiracial) decreased by 8 .6% since 2010.
- The number of people who identified as multiracial increased by 276%, from 9 million people in 2010 to 33.8 million people in 2020. In fact, population growth in each racial category was driven primarily by people who are identified as multiracial.
- The country’s Hispanic/Latino population grew by 23% to 62.1 million in 2020. For non-Latinos, the population has only increased by 4.3% since 2010.
- More people – 86% of the population – live in metropolitan areas. The population of metropolitan areas grew by 9% between 2010 and 2020. “Many counties in metropolitan areas have seen growth, especially those in the South and West,” said Marc Perry, senior demographer at the Census Bureau.
The fastest growing major metropolitan area over the past decade has been Phoenix, another area popular with retirees. It increased by 11.2% between 2010 and 2020.
Kenneth Terrell covers employment, age discrimination, work and jobs, careers, and the federal government for AARP. He previously worked for the Education Writers Association and US News and World Reportwhere he reported on government and political news, business, education, science and technology, and the art of living.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to The Villages as a county.