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Orange County, Fla., the nation's 35th most populous county, is one of six counties to have become majority-minority between 2007 and 2008, according to state and county population estimates by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Majority-minority is defined as more than half the population being of a group other than single-race, non-Hispanic white.
Perhaps best known as home to Walt Disney World and Orlando, Orange County was slightly more than 50 percent minority in 2008, including 25 percent Hispanic and 22 percent black or African-American.
"These estimates paint a detailed portrait of our nation at the national, state and county levels ahead of next year's 2010 Census," said Census Bureau Acting Director Tom Mesenbourg.
Five other U.S. counties also became majority-minority in 2008 - Stanislaus, Calif.; Finney, Kan.; Warren, Miss.; Edwards, Texas; and Schleicher, Texas. Nearly 10 percent (309) of the nation's 3,142 counties were majority-minority as of July 1, 2008 (of that total, 56 have become majority-minority since April 1, 2000).
Starr County, Texas, had the highest percentage minority population (98 percent), followed by two other Texas counties - Maverick (97 percent) and Webb (95 percent). The vast majority of the minority population in all three of these counties was Hispanic.
One county, Webster, Ga., was majority-minority in 2007 but not in 2008.
Four states were majority-minority in 2008: Hawaii (75 percent), New Mexico (58 percent), California (58 percent) and Texas (53 percent). The District of Columbia was 67 percent minority. No other state had more than a 43 percent minority population.
The nation's "oldest" county was La Paz, Ariz., with 34 percent of its population age 65 or older in 2008. It was followed by Highlands, Fla. (32 percent) and Lancaster, Va. (32 percent.)
Chattahoochee, Ga., had the lowest proportion of its population 65 or older (3 percent), followed by Eagle, Colo. (4 percent) and Shannon, S.D. (5 percent).
Among states, Florida had the highest percentage of its total population 65 or older (17 percent), followed by West Virginia (16 percent) and Pennsylvania (15 percent). Alaska had the lowest percentage (7 percent), followed by Utah (9 percent) and Georgia (10 percent).
Unless otherwise specified, the data refer to the population who reported a race alone or in combination with one or more races. The detailed tables show data for both these groups and those who reported a single race only. Censuses and surveys permit respondents to select more than one race; consequently people may be one race or a combination of races.
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>.)