“This is a new area, and the Supreme Court has largely been silent on the issue,” Mr. Wice said. “In some places, the use of citizenship data may dilute the ability of Hispanic communities to be fairly redistricted. Republicans may attempt to base redistricting on citizenship data in New Jersey, so that is one state to keep an eye on.”
The preliminary demographic numbers are based on the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey as of March 2010, as well as comparisons of the 2000 census with 2009 demographic estimates and the 2009 American Community Survey, which samples 3 million U.S. households. According to those figures, minorities represented between 81 percent and 89 percent of the U.S. population growth since 2000, higher than the official 80 percent share in 2000.
The minority growth share in 2010 is the largest in recent memory, with only the influx of European minority immigrants such as Italians, Poles and Jews in the late 1800s possibly rivaling it in scope, said William H. Frey, a demographer at Brookings Institution who analyzed the census data.
• In all, non-Hispanic whites make up roughly 65 percent of the U.S. population, down from 69 percent in 2000. Hispanics had a 16 percent share, compared with 13 percent a decade ago. Blacks represent about 12 percent and Asians roughly 5 percent. Multiracial Americans and other groups made up the remaining 2 percent.
• California, Texas, New York and Hawaii were among the states with the largest number of people who identified themselves as multiracial.
• Some 40 states show population losses of white children since 2000 because of declining birth rates. Minorities represented all of the increases in the under-18 population in Texas and Florida, and most of the gains in the child population in Nevada and Arizona.
“The new engines of growth in America’s population are Hispanics, Asians and other minorities,” Mr. Frey said, “but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. For the under-18 population — potential voters in the not-too-distant future — minorities accounted for virtually all the growth in most U.S. states.”
“Political strategists and advocates, especially in growing states, cannot afford to ignore this surging political wave,” he said.
In December, the Census Bureau officially reported the nation’s population was 308,745,538, up from 281.4 million a decade ago. The growth rate for the past decade was 9.7 percent, the lowest since the Great Depression, with most of the growth occurring in the South and West.
The population changes will result in a shift of House seats taking effect in 2013.
Associated Press writer Suzanne Gamboa contributed to this report.