Census Figures Bring Home The Message Again - Whitey Wake Up
WASHINGTON (AP) - Racial and ethnic minorities accounted for roughly 85 percent of the nation's population growth over the last decade - one of the largest shares ever - with Hispanics accounting for much of the gain in many of the states picking up new House seats.
Preliminary census estimates also suggest the number of multiracial Americans jumped roughly 20 percent since 2000, to over 5 million.
The findings, based on fresh government survey data, offer a glimpse into 2010 census results that are being released on a state-by-state basis beginning this week. New Jersey, Mississippi, Virginia and Louisiana were the first to receive the census redistricting data, which will be used in the often contentious process of redrawing political districts based on population and racial makeup.
The state numbers released Thursday reflected much of the racial change as well as the lingering impact of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated coastal populations in the South. For instance:
-In Louisiana, New Orleans' population last year was 343,829 people, lower than expected as the city struggled to repopulate after Katrina more than five years ago. An interim census estimate last year had put the population at 355,000. The new count was a 30-percent decline from 2000.
-Mississippi's most populous coastal county, Harrison, saw a small decrease in population following Katrina - the first time officials recall that it didn't grow.
-The number of Hispanics in Virginia nearly doubled, representing 7.9 percent of total residents. Non-Hispanic whites represented roughly 65 percent of the state's population, down from about 70 percent in 2000. Multiracial Americans also jumped and now make up 2.3 percent of the state's population.