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The number of white people in America has declined for the first time since 1790

New Census numbers show population growth in the U.S. is slower than it's been in nearly 100 years.

Updated: August 13, 2021 - 11:28am

The number of white people in the United States has dropped for the first time since 1790, according to new data from the 2020 Census.

Data from the 2020 count of people living in America shows that the country has become substantially more ethnically diverse, particularly in the under-18 category. Additionally, the country's population grew 7.4% in the last ten years, a slower rate than any decade since the 1930s. 

The numbers indicate that growth in the American population for the last decade has been driven by minority populations. While whites still make up a little less than 58% of the American population, that figure dropped below 60% for the first time since the census-taking began.

The share of the white population was 63.7% in 2010, and is now 57.8%, the lowest on record. The actual number of non-Hispanic whites fell as well, shrinking from 196 million in 2010 to 191 million in 2020. 

The director of race, ethnicity and outreach – Nicholas Jones – at the Population Division of the Census Bureau said, "The U.S. population is much more multiracial and much more racially and ethnically diverse than we measured in the past."

In more than half of American counties, more people died than were born during the last decade. Small counties – with populations of fewer than 50,000 – on average, lost population. Counties with populations greater than 100,000 mostly added to their numbers. 

"Many [counties that lost population] no longer have the demographic resilience to grow again and recent data suggests that population losses in this decade will be substantial," said Kenneth Johnson, a senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire. He added "Once natural decrease begins it is almost certain to continue."

 

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