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The U.S. Census Bureau today released national population estimates showing that our nation is becoming older and more racially and ethnically diverse. The estimates found that nearly half (47 percent) of the nation's children younger than five were a minority in 2008, with 25 percent being Hispanic. For all children under 18, 44 percent were a minority and 22 percent were Hispanic.
"These estimates are a prelude to the information we will collect next year in the 2010 Census, giving us an accurate portrait of our nation at the national, state and local level," said Census Bureau Acting Director Tom Mesenbourg.
The nation's overall minority population on July 1, 2008, was 104.6 million, or 34 percent of the total population. Minorities, defined as any group other than single-race, non-Hispanic white, increased by 2.3 percent from 2007 to 2008.
The largest and fastest-growing minority group was Hispanics, who reached 46.9 million in 2008, up by 3.2 percent from 2007. In 2008, nearly one in six U.S. residents was Hispanic.
The Census Bureau estimates the number of Asians at 15.5 million in 2008. Asians were the second fastest-growing minority group from 2007 to 2008, increasing by 2.7 percent.
Following Asians in growth were Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders (increasing 2.4 percent to 1.1 million), American Indians and Alaska Natives (increasing 1.7 percent to 4.9 million) and blacks or African-Americans (increasing 1.3 percent to 41.1 million). The population of non-Hispanic whites who indicated no other race increased by 0.2 percent to 199.5 million.
There were 5.2 million people who were of two or more races in 2008, up 3.4 percent from 2007.
The U.S. population is not only becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, it is also growing older: the median age reached 36.8 in 2008, up 1.5 years since 2000. There were 38.9 million people 65 and older in 2008, comprising 12.8 percent of the total population. Of this group, 5.7 million were 85 years old and older. In 2000, 12.4 percent of the total population was 65 and older.
As the population ages, there are relatively more women than men. For those under age 18, 51.2 percent are male, but the percentage declines to 42.4 percent for the population age 65 and older and to just 32.6 percent for the population 85 and older. Women represent 50.7 percent of the total population.
The total number of children under age 5 was 21 million in 2008, or 6.9 percent of the total population, compared with 19.2 million and 6.8 percent in 2000.
The number of elementary school-age children (age 5 to 13) was 36 million (11.8 percent of the total population) in 2008, down 1.3 percentage points (1 million) from 2000. In contrast, the number of high school-age children (age 14 to 17) increased, from 16.1 million and 5.7 percent of the total population in 2000 to 16.9 million, or 5.6 percent of the total population, in 2008.
There were 191.2 million working-age adults (age 18 to 64) in 2008, representing 62.9 percent of the total population, an increase of 17.1 million and 1 percentage point from 2000.
The federal government treats Hispanic origin and race as separate and distinct concepts. In surveys and censuses, separate questions are asked on Hispanic origin and race. The question on Hispanic origin asks respondents if they are Spanish, Hispanic or Latino. Starting with Census 2000, the question on race asked respondents to report the race or races they consider themselves to be. Hispanics may be of any race. (See U.S. Census Bureau Guidance on the Presentation and Comparison of Race and Hispanic Origin Data <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/compraceho.html.)>