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Chapter 1: Demographics

The first chapter in this report presents demographic information that provides background and context for the education indicators presented in later chapters. In order to describe the status of the various racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. education system, it is important to provide contextual information on the relative size of each group, where the members of those groups come from, and other background characteristics.

Indicators 1 and 2 describe the size and distribution of the U.S. population in terms of race/ethnicity and nativity. Between 1990 and 2016, the Hispanic population more than doubled, from 22.6 to 57.8 million (Indicator 1). In contrast, during this period the White population increased by 5 percent (from 189 to 198 million), the Black population increased by 37 percent (from 29.4 to 40.3 million), and the American Indian/Alaska Native population increased by 33 percent (from 1.8 to 2.4 million). Beginning in 2000, separate data on Asians, Pacific Islanders, and individuals of Two or more races were collected. From 2000 to 2016, the Asian population increased by 72 percent (from 10.5 to 18.0 million), the Pacific Islander population increased by 55 percent (from 370,000 to 572,000), and the population of individuals of Two or more races increased by 97 percent (from 3.5 to 6.8 million).

In 2014, about 97 percent of children under age 18 were born in the United States (Indicator 2). The percentages of Asian children (79 percent), Pacific Islander children (90 percent), and Hispanic children (94 percent) born in the United States were below the average of 97 percent for all children; in contrast, the percentages of Black children (97 percent), White children and children of Two or more races (99 percent each), and American Indian/Alaska Native children (rounds to 100 percent) born in the United States were above the average for all children.

Indicators 3 and 4 examine the living arrangements and poverty status of children under the age of 18. In 2014, the majority of children under age 18 lived with married parents, with the exception of Black and American Indian/Alaska Native children. A higher percentage of Asian children (82 percent) lived with married parents than of White children (73 percent), Pacific Islander children (65 percent), Hispanic children and children of Two of more races (56 percent each), American Indian/Alaska Native children (43 percent), and Black children (33 percent).

About 21 percent of children under 18 were in families living in poverty in 2014, according to the official poverty measure (Indicator 4). From 2000 to 2014, the poverty rate increased for Black (from 31 to 37 percent), Hispanic (from 28 to 31 percent), and White children (from 9 to 12 percent), but did not change measurably for Asian children.