Aug 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

More than 400 U.S. counties are now minority white

Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Map: Connor Rothschild and Naema Ahmed/Axios

White, non-Hispanic Americans now account for less than six in 10 people in the U.S. — a more precipitous drop over the past decade than experts expected — and they're no longer the racial-ethnic majority in 13% of U.S. counties.

The big picture: America's identity is shifting with its population.

  • Redistricting will decide how partisan power is divvied up for the next decade — but in some states, those politically driven decisions may obscure these deeper statistical trends.

By the numbers: White, non-Hispanic Americans are about 58% of the U.S. population, according to data from the 2020 census released on Thursday. That's lower than the estimates of 60%, and it compares with about 64% in 2010.

  • They are no longer the racial-ethnic majority in 400 of the nation's 3,100+ counties and county equivalents, up from 340 a decade ago.

Be smart: The pace of the decline may reflect a combination of actual change plus new ways the Census Bureau is asking about demographic identity to capture Americans who identify with more than one race.

The intrigue: Nonwhiteness and diversity are actually two different measures. The Census also has developed a way to calculate diversity based on how likely it is that two people chosen at random within a boundary will be of different races or ethnicities.

  • The least diverse state, by this measure, is Maine, at 19%. The most diverse is Hawaii, at 76%.
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