Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Minorities
NCES 2007-039
September 2007

Chapter 1. Demographics

Indicator 1: Population and Geographic Distributions
Indicator 2: Nativity
Snapshot of Hispanic and Asian subgroups: Nativity
Indicator 3: Family Type
Indicator 4: Families With Children Living in Poverty
Snapshot of Hispanic and Asian subgroups: Families with Children Living in Poverty
Indicator 5: Parental Education

The first chapter in this report presents demographic information that provides context for the education-specific data presented in later chapters. In order to understand the status of minorities in this country's education system, it is important to understand the relative size of each minority group, where they come from, and where they live. For this reason, indicators 1 and 2 describe the U.S. population in terms of race/ethnicity, geographic distribution, and nativity. In 2005, minorities made up one-third of the population. Between 1999 and 2000, Hispanics surpassed Blacks as the country's largest minority group, while Asians/Pacific Islanders have experienced the largest rate of growth in the past two decades (indicator 1). The Western United States had a higher proportion of minorities than any other region. Hawaii had the highest percentage of minorities of any state, followed by the District of Columbia (indicator 1). Some 12 percent of the population in 2005 was born outside the United States. Asians were the racial/ethnic group with the highest proportion of persons who were foreign-born, followed by Hispanics (indicator 2).

Indicators 3, 4, and 5 examine families with children under age 18 residing in the United States. Poverty and family structure influence a child's learning environment. In 2005, across all racial/ethnic groups except Blacks, the majority of families were married couples (indicator 3). Some 16 percent of all families with children under 18 residing in the United States were living in poverty. Overall, the percentages of families with children living in poverty were higher for Blacks, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Hispanics, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders than for Whites and Asians (indicator 4). In 2005, Asian/Pacific Islander and White children were more likely than Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native children to have mothers with a bachelor's degree and fathers with a bachelor's or graduate degree (indicator 5).