The U.S. Census Bureau has released a 2010 Census brief, The White Population: 2010, that shows the white population continued to be the largest race group in the nation, representing 75 percent of the total population, but grew at a slower rate than the total population.
The white alone population grew by 6 percent from 211.5 million in 2000 to 223.6 million in 2010. In comparison, the total U.S. population grew by 9.7 percent over the decade from 281.4 million in 2000 to 308.7 million in 2010. While the white alone population increased numerically over the 10-year period, its percentage of the total population declined from 75 percent to 72 percent.
The white alone-or-in-combination population experienced slightly more growth than the white alone population, growing by 7 percent. However, both groups grew at a slower rate than not only the total U.S. population but also all other major race and ethnic groups in the country.
Hispanics Accounted for Three-Fourths of White Population Growth
Whites who identified as being of Hispanic origin increased by 56 percent between 2000 and 2010. Of the 231.0 million white alone-or-in-combination population in the 2010 Census, 29.2 million, or 13 percent, reported they were Hispanic, up from 9 percent in 2000.
Whites who reported one race and identified as Hispanic accounted for 70 percent of the growth of the white alone-or-in-combination population. Multiple-race whites who identified as Hispanic accounted for another 4 percent of the growth of the white alone-or-in-combination population. Thus, Hispanics accounted for about three-fourths of the increase in the white alone-or-in-combination population.
However, non-Hispanic single-race whites contributed 16 percent of the growth of the white alone-or-in-combination population in 2010, and non-Hispanic multiple-race whites accounted for 10 percent of the growth.
White Multiple-Race Reporting Increased by 37 Percent
The multiple-race white population increased by 2 million, or 37 percent, over the last decade. More than half of this growth was attributed to the white and black population, and more than one-third was because of the white and Asian population. The white and black population grew by 134 percent, or more than 1 million people. The white and Asian population increased by 87 percent, or more than 750,000 people, over the decade.
Multiple-Race White Population Increased by at Least 8 Percent in Every State
Of the 10 states that saw the largest increase in the multiple-race white population, nine were in the South. South Carolina had the largest percentage increase in the multiple-race white population (112 percent), followed by North Carolina (111 percent), Delaware (95 percent), Georgia (93 percent), Kentucky (82 percent), Mississippi (81 percent), Tennessee (80 percent), West Virginia (76 percent) and Maryland (74 percent).
White Population Growth was Fastest in the West and South
According to the 2010 Census, of all respondents who reported white alone-or-in-combination (including Hispanics and non-Hispanics), 36 percent lived in the South, 24 percent lived in the Midwest, 22 percent lived in the West, and 18 percent lived in the Northeast.
The fastest growth of the white alone-or-in-combination population between 2000 and 2010 was in states in the West and South. Nine states in the West experienced growth greater than 10 percent in their white alone-or-in-combination population: Arizona (21 percent), Nevada (21 percent), Utah (20 percent), Idaho (19 percent), Hawaii (19 percent), New Mexico (16 percent), Colorado (16 percent), Wyoming (13 percent) and Alaska (12 percent).
In the South, the white alone-or-in-combination population grew by more than 10 percent in four states (Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida) and the District of Columbia. The white alone-or-in-combination population did not experience growth greater than 10 percent in any Midwestern or Northeastern state.
Non-Hispanic White Alone Population Declined in 15 States
Eleven of the states with declines in their non-Hispanic white alone population were in the Northeast and the Midwest. The non-Hispanic white alone population declined in two-thirds of Northeast states: Connecticut (-4 percent), Massachusetts (-4 percent), New Jersey (-6 percent), New York (-4 percent), Pennsylvania (-2 percent) and Rhode Island (-6 percent).
Nearly half of the states in the Midwest saw a decline in the non-Hispanic white alone population: Illinois (-3 percent), Iowa (-0.3 percent), Kansas (-0.2 percent), Michigan (-3 percent) and Ohio (-2 percent).
Fewer states in the South saw declines in the non-Hispanic white alone population: Louisiana (-2 percent), Maryland (-4 percent) and Mississippi (- 0.3 percent). California was the only state in the West with a non-Hispanic white alone population that declined (-5 percent).
Percentage of Non-Hispanic White Alone Population Increased in Cities
In nine of the 20 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the United States, the percentage of the non-Hispanic white alone population living inside versus outside the largest principal cities increased (Los Angeles, the District of Columbia, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Atlanta, Miami, Boston and San Diego). This unique pattern differed largely from the total population, where the percentages of people living inside the largest principal cities decreased in 19 of the 20 largest metro areas.
Race and Hispanic Origin Definitions
People who reported only one race on their 2010 Census questionnaire are referred to as the race “alone” population. For example, respondents who marked only the “white” category would be included in the white alone population. This population can be viewed as the minimum number of people reporting white.
Individuals who chose more than one of the six race category options on the 2010 Census form are referred to as the race “in combination” population. One way to define the white population is to combine those respondents who reported white alone with those who reported white in combination with one or more other races. Another way to think of the white alone-or-in-combination population is the total number of people who reported white, whether or not they reported any other races.
“Hispanic or Latino” refers to a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin. Statistics on Hispanics or Latinos, who may be of any race, were obtained from a separate question on ethnicity. Whites may have reported they are either Hispanic or not Hispanic.