Posts Tagged ‘Census’

U.S. census shows a blurring of racial lines

August 13, 2021

At a time of increasing talk about race and racial distinctions, the U.S. Census reports the lines dividing traces are becoming more blurred.

It noted that almost all the U.S. population increase from 2010 to 2020 consisted of Americans with two or more racial identities.

Whites remained in the majority. 

In 2020, there were 204.3 million Americans who called themselves white, down 8.6 percent from the previous census.  The non-Hispanic “white alone” U.S. population was 60.1 percent of the total in 2020, down from 63.7 percent in 2010.  But there were an additional 23.3 million who considered themselves white plus something else—boosting the white population to 235.4 million.

Hispanics can be of any race.  There were 62.1 million of them in the U.S. in 2020.  They comprised 18.5 percent of the U.S. population in 2020, up from 16 percent in 2010.

Americans of “some other race” were the second largest racial category, after whites.

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Some 49.9 million Americans called themselves “some other race,” meaning something other than white, black, Asian, native American or some other recognized racial category.

“Some other race” can include national identities, including Mexican, Cuban or the like, so growth in this category probably included a lot of Hispanics. 

The 48.9 million African-Americans were the third largest category.  The “black alone” U.S. population was 12.4 percent in 2020, virtually unchanged from 13 percent in 2010.

Some 33.8 million Americans called themselves multi-racial in 2020, up from 9 million in 2010.

One report indicates that 10 percent of all American married couples, and 17 percent of new marriages, are of individuals of different races or ethnicities.

I’m old enough to remember when this would have been considered shocking.  Back in the 1960s, when I attended the wedding of my friend Jim Yeatts, who was white, to Georgianna Bell, who was black, the Chief of Police of my home town reported this fact to my employer.  Now it would be taken in stride.

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There are two ways to interpret current population changes.  One is that American society is becoming more inclusive.  The other is that it is the dominant group that is becoming more inclusive.

Originally the dominant group consisted of white Anglo-Saxon Protestants, or WASPs, the descendants of the original English settlers.  My German immigrant ancestors were excluded. 

Later the top group expanded to include all white Protestants, then all white people of “Judeo-Christian” heritage and now all non-Hispanic whites.

I predicted years ago that the dominant group would expand itself to include white Hispanics and persons of mixed race who consider themselves white.  If you count the Hispanic whites, whites were 76.3 percent of the 2020 population.

The bad thing about this is that African-Americans would still be a minority and still excluded from the dominant group.

I hope the blurring of racial distinctions in the U.S. continues.  This is the only hope for the survival and flourishing of the United States as a nation. 


U.S. Census Bureau Quick Facts.

Local Population Changes and Nation’s Racial and Ethnic Diversity by the U.S. Census Bureau.

2020 U.S. Population More Racially and Ethnically Diverse Than Measured in 2010 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Number of interracial marriages increasing in the United States by Brian Lowe for the Global Times.

Why I told the government I am white

April 7, 2010

When I attended the University of Wisconsin in the 1950s, a classmate was asked by his landlady if he would have any objection to her renting to a Negro tenant; my friend and all the other students in the rooming house were white. My classmate said “no,” and the other tenants also said “no.” The landlady then approached the landlady next door, who said she certainly would object! The first landlady then told the black student that she personally wouldn’t object to renting to him, but there was too much objection.

In those days Madison, Wisconsin, was considered one of the most liberal communities in the United States, as it is now. Yet the handful of black students had an enormously difficult time finding a place to live. They would come to town a month before classes opened just to find places they could stay. Racial discrimination in other walks of life was widespread, legal and socially acceptable. The charters of all the college fraternities and sororities on campus barred black members. During my years there one fraternity defied its national organization by enrolling a black football star.

Some students, black and white, belonged to a campus NAACP chapter and worked against racial discrimination. One of their demands was that the University administration eliminate questions about race on its admissions forms.  A year after the demand was met, they sheepishly asked that the questions be restored. Without that information, they could not do their work.

More than 50 years has passed since then. Civil rights laws have been passed. An African-American man has been elected president. Yet black American citizens still face barriers to employment, to home loans and much else. White felons can get jobs more easily than law-abiding blacks and having a typically “black” name will reduce your changes of even being considered.

A well-meaning white friend of mine dislikes the section of the U.S. Census form saying “race.” She said she will fill it in as “American” or “human being.”  I don’t like legal distinctions based on race, either. I would like to live in a world in which skin color was no more important than eye color or hair color, and people got to choose their ethnicity.

But I don’t live in such a world.  I know my life experiences would have been very, very different from what they were if I had been black.  I am not “color blind”; I am very much aware of race, although I hardly ever talk about it.  I know that if things are going to change, we need information as to how things are now, and that is why I filled out the race question on the Census form.