US Census: White population is in decline, multi-racial is way up

The 2020 Census data is out today, but this one was conducted during the pandemic, making the collection and dissemination of data more difficult than past efforts. Plus, the Trump administration stopped door-knocking a month early, leading some to question the accuracy of the count.

Meanwhile, U.S. Census Bureau Acting Director Ron Jaman says the data is high quality: “These results will also help inform how hundreds of billions of dollars will be distributed each year nationwide. The data we are releasing today meet our high data quality standards, and I’m proud to release them to the American public.”

The Census shows that for the first time, America’s white population has declined, and now non-white people comprise more than one-third of the country. However, white is still the most dominant racial group in 90% of the counties in the United States.

Across the board, there’s a higher percentage of people identifying as more than one race, from 9 million people in 2010 to 34 million now.

“We often think about race as static boxes. Can a candidate capture the Latino vote, the Black vote, the Asian vote? … Candidates, parties, etc. are gonna have to think a little more deeply about what it means to engage different communities and individuals who are identifying with multiple communities,” says Sara Sadhwani, a member of California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission and a political science professor at Pomona College.

She points out that the Census Bureau is moving away from the terms “majority” and “minority” when describing populations. “What we are seeing there is the Census Bureau saying, ‘Hey look, the population of the United States is very complex, we can’t distill it down into such nominal terms … when there’s so many other pieces of that story that need to be unpacked.”



  • Sara Sadhwani - political science professor at Pomona College, member of California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission