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The Skanner News from Wire Reports
Published: 25 March 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a surprising show of growth, Hispanics accounted for more than half of the U.S. population increase over the last decade, exceeding estimates in many states as they crossed a new census milestone: 50 million, or 1 in 6 Americans. The Skanner News Video

Oregon's overall minority population grew by 46 percent jumping from 16.5 percent of the population to 21.5 percent. Washington's minority population grew by 49 percent, rising from 21 percent to 27.5 percent.

Meanwhile, more than 9 million Americans checked more than one race category on their 2010 census form, up 32 percent from 2000, a sign of burgeoning multiracial growth in an increasingly minority nation. The Census Bureau on Thursday released its first set of national-level findings from the 2010 count on race and migration, detailing a decade in which rapid minority growth, aging whites and the housing boom and bust were the predominant story lines.

The final count: 196.8 million whites, 37.7 million blacks, 50.5 million Hispanics and 14.5 million Asians.

Hispanics and Asians were the two fastest growing demographic groups, increasing about 42 percent from 2000.

The number of non-Hispanic whites, whose median age is now 41, edged up slightly. Declining birth rates meant their share of the total U.S. population dropped over the last decade from 69 percent to roughly 64 percent.

"This really is a transformational decade for the nation," said William H. Frey, a demographer at Brookings Institution who has analyzed most of the 2010 data. "The 2010 census shows vividly how these new minorities are both leading growth in the nation's most dynamic regions and stemming decline in others."

"They will form the bulk of our labor-force growth in the next decade as they continue to disperse into larger parts of the country," he said.

Latino population growth during the past decade was most rapid in the South, where many states have seen their Latino populations double since 2000. For the first time, Hispanic population growth outpaced that of blacks and whites in the region, changing the South's traditional "white-black" image.

The final figures come as states in coming months engage in the contentious process of redrawing political districts based on population and racial makeup, with changes that analysts believe will result in more Hispanic-majority districts.

The population changes will result in a shift of 12 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, where a state's representation depends on its population.

The changes also will alter the number of presidential electoral votes in 18 states. Those are cast by state delegates based on the state's representation in the House plus its two U.S. Senate members. Most states picking up electoral seats, which include Texas and Florida, are Republican-leaning, even as most of their growth is now being driven largely by Democratic-leaning Hispanics.

2010 Census on Cities

All 10 of the most populous metro areas in 2010 grew over the last decade. Approximately one out of every 10 people in the United States lived in either Los Angeles or New York, the nation's two most populous metro areas. Several metro areas accounted for large portions of their respective state's 2010 population and growth since 2000. Las Vegas accounted for almost three-quarters of Nevada's population and over four-fifths of its growth. The Atlanta metro area was responsible for more than half of Georgia's 2010 population and more than two-thirds of the state's growth. The Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston metro areas together accounted for almost half of the population of Texas and more than half of the state's growth.

Overall, the fastest growing metro areas in the country were Palm Coast, Fla. (92.0 percent), St. George, Utah (52.9 percent), Las Vegas, Nev. (41.8 percent), Raleigh, N.C. (41.8 percent) and Cape Coral, Fla. (40.3 percent).

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