- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 29, 2011

America’s majority-white population kept growing in 2010, thanks to a burgeoning number of “Hispanic whites,” the Census Bureau said Thursday.

In a separate report, the bureau said that the nation’s black population also grew, spurred by a 76 percent jump in the number of people who said they were biracial or multiracial.

The most common combination was being both black and white, said the bureau, which used 2010 census data to give snapshots of the makeup and geographic location of America’s black and white population.

These census reports offer important details about the “different shades” of America, said Brookings Institution scholar William Frey, who studies trends in U.S. demography. The rise in black-white biracial people suggests the country is “making some progress” in its race relations, he said.


Out of nearly 309 million people, 75 percent say they are white, either “alone” or “in combination” with another race, said bureau statistician Lindsay Hixson, co-author of “The White Population: 2010.”

Another 14 percent say they are black, either alone or in combination, and the rest are in categories such as Native American, Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, or some other race.

America’s non-Hispanic white population — defined as people with origins from European, Middle Eastern and Northern African countries — grew only 1 percent in the past decade, from 194.5 million to 196.8 million. When taken as a whole, these whites still represent a majority of the American population, but this majority has shrunk, from 69 percent in 2000 to 64 percent in 2010.

However, when people who are “white alone” are counted with “white in combination,” the white population surges by 14 million people. This translates into 231 million people or 75 percent of the population.

This growth in the white population “was fueled by Hispanics identifying as white,” said Bradford Hepler, another co-author of the white population report. People of Hispanic or Latino origin may choose to be identified as any race, he said, and in 2010, they overwhelmingly chose “white”: That census found 26.7 million “Hispanic whites,” about 10 million more than in 2000.

Among blacks, the “black alone” plus “black in combination” population rose modestly, from 36.4 million in 2000 to 42 million in 2010. This was equal to 14 percent of the nation’s population, up from 13 percent in 2000.

The number of people identifying as both black and white more than doubled, to 1.8 million, while another 1 million said they were black in combination with other races, said Tallese Johnson and Sonya Rastogi, two of the authors of “The Black Population: 2010.”

Most of the U.S. black population lives in 10 states, including Maryland and Virginia, while the District’s black population is 52 percent. White populations grew the fastest in the West and South, as well as in the District, but declined in 15 states, including many in the Northeast and Midwest.