US becoming more diverse – and quickly in some areas

109 counties went from majority White to majority nonWhite since 2000, study shows.

population
JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES/TNS
In 21 of the 25 biggest counties by population, non-White groups taken together make up more than half of residents.

BY JEFF GAMMAGE
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER/TNS

The United States is becoming more diverse as the White share of the population declines and Hispanic, Asian and African American populations grow — and that change is happening quickly in certain places.

While Whites remain the largest racial or ethnic group nationwide, accounting for 60% of all Americans, 109 counties in 22 states from California to North Carolina went from majority White to majority non-White since 2000, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Census data.

The study looked only at the counties with a minimum population of 10,000 in 2018, but those counties represent 77% of the nation’s 3,142 counties and include 99% of the population. 

Overall, 293 counties were majority non-White in 2018, most of them concentrated in California, the South, and the East Coast, Pew said. 

In coming years, several large, majority-White counties may flip in coming years. 

Those include Fairfax County, Va.; Pima County, Ariz.; Milwaukee County, Wis.; and Cobb County, Ga. All have populations that are less than 52% White. 

Counties include Broward

In 21 of the 25 biggest counties by population, non-White groups taken together make up more than half of residents. 

Eight of these counties were majority White in 2000 but have since changed: San Diego, Orange, Riverside and Sacramento in California; Clark in Nevada; Broward in Florida; Tarrant in Texas, and Wayne in Michigan. 

Hispanics were the largest non-White population in all those counties except in Wayne, which includes Detroit, and where the African American population was the largest nonWhite group, the study said. 

The opposite way

Another way to consider the nation’s changing demographics, Pew said, is to consider how few counties shifted the opposite way. 

From 2000 to 2018, only two counties went from minority White to majority White: Calhoun County in South Carolina and West Feliciana Parish in Louisiana, each with populations of only about 15,000. 

Among the 109 counties that shifted from majority White to majority non-White between 2000 and 2018, 26 had been at least 60% White in 2000.

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