Minorities becoming Majority

August 12, 2007

Demographics continue to shift in the United States. The
United States has more than 100 million minorities (based on July 2005 census data reported in May 2006). The New York Times recently notes that Minorities Now Form Majority in One-Third of Most-Populous Counties:

In a further sign of the United States’ growing diversity, nonwhites now make up a majority in almost one-third of the most-populous counties in the country and in nearly one in 10 of all 3,100 counties, according to an analysis of census results to be released today.

The shift reflects the growing dispersal of immigrants and the suburbanization of blacks and Hispanics pursuing jobs generated by whites moving to the fringes of metropolitan areas.

From July 1, 2005, to July 1, 2006, metropolitan Chicago edged out Honolulu in Asian population, and Washington inched ahead of El Paso in the number of Hispanic residents. In black population, Houston overtook Los Angeles.

“The new wave of immigration, along with its continued dispersal to the suburbs and Sun Belt, is transforming the places which are now being classified as multiethnic and majority minority,” said William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution.

“The new melting pots are not large international gateways,” Professor Frey said, adding, “Rather, many are fast-growing suburbs themselves.”

In 36 counties with more than 500,000 residents each, non-Hispanic whites are now a minority, up from 29 counties of that size in 2000.

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So far this decade, they added, “there are also new areas of growth, including exurban counties in the Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas, plus parts of Texas, central Florida, and a few other states.”

Since 2000, the Hispanic population more than doubled in metropolitan Winchester, Va.; Scranton, Pa.; Cape Coral, Fla.; and Hagerstown, Md.. The largest numerical increases were in metropolitan Los Angeles (576,630); Riverside, Calif., (545,152); Dallas (472,222); Houston (470,157); and New York (418,720).

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