FOR THE WEEK OF AUG. 16, 2021
Look for a photo or article that reflects the diversity of your city or state, at least in part.
Show an issue in Congress or your legislature that's important to you or your community. Tell why.
Share two facts or quotes from any political or government coverage.
New results of last year's national head count show that America became more diverse and more urban over the past decade, and that the white population dropped by 8.6% -- its first decline since the census began in 1790. Whites were 57.8% of the country's 331.4 million people in 2020, down from 63.7% in 2010. This is the first time the portion of white people is below 60 percent. Hispanics, who doubled their population share over the past three decades to 62.1 million people (18.7 percent) in 2020, are believed to account for half of the nation's growth since 2010. "The U.S. population is much more multiracial and much more racially and ethnically diverse than what we have measured in the past," noted Nicholas Jones of the Census Bureau.
The biggest immediate impact of figures issued last week will be the redrawing of all 435 U.S. House districts to assure an approximately balanced population in each congressional district (an average of 761,000 people each), though that's not possible in seven states with just one seat (Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Delaware). Boundaries of legislative districts for state representatives and senators also will change.
The detailed, local-level population results arrive months late because of Covid-related delays, which means the complex process will happen more quickly as states try to finish by early 2022 at latest. (In April, the Census Bureau announced that seven states each lose one House seat because of population shifts. Texas gains two seats and six others -- Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon -- pick up one each.)
Redistricting decisions in the coming months will be perhaps the largest determining factor in whether Democrats keep their nine-seat U.S. House majority in November 2022 voting. States with the most growth were in the West and the South, which have seen an influx of people moving in from other countries and other states. The new data also will shape how $1.5 trillion in annual federal spending is distributed among states, cities and businesses.
Census Bureau says: "These data play an important role in our democracy, and also begin to illuminate how the local and demographic makeup of our nation has changed over the last decade." -- Ron Jarmin, acting director, at media briefing last Thursday
California racial shift: Hispanics became the state's largest racial or ethnic group, growing to 39.4% from 37.6% over the decade. The share of white people dropped from 40.1% to 34.7%.
Scholar says: "Twenty years ago if you told people this [white population share decline] was going to be the case, they wouldn't have believed you. The country is changing dramatically." -- William Frey of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.