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Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Minorities
NCES 2010-015
July 2010

Indicator 1. Population and Geographic Distributions

The U.S. population has become more diverse over the past two decades as the populations of Hispanics and Asians have increased more rapidly than the populations of Whites and Blacks. In particular, between 1999 and 2000, Hispanics surpassed Blacks as the largest racial/ethnic group other than Whites (U.S. Department of Commerce 2001a).3 The populations of Hispanics, Asians, Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, and those of two or more races are expected to grow faster than the populations of Whites, Blacks, and American Indians/Alaska Natives between 2008 and 2025.

Between 1980 and 2008, there were shifts in the racial/ethnic composition of the resident population of the United States. In 1980, the White population represented about 80 percent of the total population. This percentage decreased to 69 percent in 2000 and to 66 percent in 2008. In contrast, the Hispanic population's share of the total population increased from 6.4 percent in 1980 to 12.6 percent in 2000 to 15.4 percent in 2008. In addition, Asians/Pacific Islanders represented less than 2 percent of the population in 1980 and by 2008, their share had increased to 4.5 percent (Asians represented 4.4 percent and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders represented 0.1 percent of the population). The percentage of the total population who were Black increased from 11.5 to 12.2 percent between 1980 and 2000. Since 2000, the growth rate for the Black population has been similar to the growth rate of the overall population; thus, the Black population continued to represent 12.2 percent of the total population through 2008.

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Between 2008 and 2025, these patterns of population change are expected to continue. For example, the Hispanic population is expected to grow at a faster rate than most other races/ethnicities. In 2025, about 21 percent of the population is expected to be of Hispanic ethnicity. In addition, the growth rate for Whites is expected to be slower than the rate for other races/ethnicities, decreasing their share of the total population. In 2025, the distribution of the population is expected to be 58 percent White, 21 percent Hispanic, 12 percent Black, 6 percent Asian, 2 percent two or more races, 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native, and less than 1 percent Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

View Table View Table 1a

Racial/ethnic composition varies regionally and from state to state. In 2008, the West had higher percentages of its population who were Hispanic, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and of two or more races when compared with the national proportions. In the West, the population was 28 percent Hispanic, 9 percent Asian, 0.5 percent Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, 2 percent American Indian/Alaska Native, and 2 percent persons of two or more races. In contrast, the Midwest had lower percentages of these racial/ethnic groups when compared with the national percentages. In the Midwest, the population was 6 percent Hispanic, 2 percent Asian, 1 percent each American Indian/Alaska Native and persons of two or more races, and less than 0.05 percent Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Hawaii had the highest percentage of its population who were Asian (38 percent), Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (9 percent), and of two or more races (16 percent). New Mexico had the highest percentage of its population who were Hispanic (45 percent). Other states with large percentages of their population who were Hispanic included California (37 percent) and Texas (36 percent). The District of Columbia had the highest percentage of its population who were Black (53 percent) when compared with the 50 states.

In contrast to other states, several states had smaller percentages of its population who were Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and of two or more races. In such states as Maine, Vermont, West Virginia, New Hampshire, and Iowa, those racial/ethnic groups combined represented less than 10 percent of the population.  

View Table View Table 1b

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3 In 1999, Blacks represented 12.1 percent of the population and Hispanics represented 11.5 percent (U.S. Department of Commerce 2001b). In Census 2000 (table 1a) Blacks represented 12.2 percent of the population and Hispanics represented 12.6 percent.


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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education