A Picture of America’s Changing Demographics

Center for American Progress has some compelling graphics on the Census 2010 data that's got folks buzzing about diversity.

By Asraa Mustufa Apr 07, 2011

The Center for American Progress has produced some gripping infographics illustrating emerging demographics, based on the 2010 Census data. There’s also an interactive version. The graphs highlight the huge growth in ethnic and racial diversity across the country that’s been much discussed as Census numbers have trickled out. Both the Hispanic/Latino and Asian populations have increased 43 percent respectively, while the Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander population has grown by 35 percent.

There has also been major growth in people identifying as multiracial, and 85 percent of net population growth has been of people of color. CAP also highlighted trends among youth and young adults, interracial marriage, and digital communication.

So what do all these numbers add up to mean? Thus far, mainstream media has largely declared them proof that America is increasingly post-racial. But population counts don’t speak to equity within the numbers, and multiracial identities don’t change graduation rates, for instance. 

Jamilah King interviewed Colorlines co-founder Jeff Chang, author of "Who We Be: The Colorization of America," following the November 2010 elections. Chang offered some context for these big shifts in demographics and explored the political implications of those changes.

"Boomers are 75 percent white, while those are under 18 will become a majority non-white in the next decade or so. The frontlines of the new culture wars will not be in Washington, D.C. and New York City, but the states where there is the greatest disparity in racial proportions between the generations. Brookings Institute demographer William Frey points out that Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas, New Mexico, and Florida top the list. These will be the real battleground states in the years to come," Chang said.

Interestingly, CAP’s infographics show significant increases in Americans of color in some of those very states, and not all among Latinos, as is often the caricature offered by rightwing fear mongers. For example, California has seen a 30 percent increase in its Asian population in the last 10 years, and Nevada has seen a 115 percent increase in its Asian demographic.

Progress 2050 also made some projections based on the newly released data. According to their findings, the U.S. is set to surpass Mexico in the number of Spanish speakers by 2050, and we will also see a surge in the Muslim American population in the next 20 years.