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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 2013

Asians Fastest-Growing Race or Ethnic Group in 2012, Census Bureau Reports

The U.S. Census Bureau announced Asians were the nation's fastest-growing race or ethnic group in 2012. Their population rose by 530,000, or 2.9 percent, in the preceding year, to 18.9 million, according to Census Bureau annual population estimates. More than 60 percent of this growth in the Asian population came from international migration.

By comparison, the Hispanic population grew by 2.2 percent, or more than 1.1 million, to just over 53 million in 2012. The Hispanic population growth was fueled primarily by natural increase (births minus deaths), which accounted for 76 percent of Hispanic population change. Hispanics remain our nation's second largest race or ethnic group (behind non-Hispanic whites), representing about 17 percent of the total population.

These statistics are part of a set of annual population estimates released today by race, Hispanic origin, age and sex. They examine population change for these groups nationally, as well as within all states and counties, between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012. Also released were population estimates for Puerto Rico and its municipios by age and sex.

"Asians and Hispanics have long been among our nation's fastest-growing race or ethnic groups," noted Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau's acting director.

Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders (climbing 2.2 percent to about 1.4 million), American Indians and Alaska Natives (rising 1.5 percent to a little over 6.3 million), and blacks or African-Americans (increasing 1.3 percent to 44.5 million) followed Asians and Hispanics in percentage growth rates.

Six More Counties Become Majority-Minority

The nation's total minority population increased by 1.9 percent and was 116 million, or 37 percent, of the total population in July 2012. (The minority population includes people in any category other than non-Hispanic white alone.) More than 11 percent (353) of the nation's 3,143 counties were majority-minority as of July 1, 2012. Six of these counties became majority-minority populations since July 1, 2011: Mecklenburg, N.C. (Charlotte); Cherokee, Okla.; Texas, Okla.; Bell, Texas; Hockley, Texas; and Terrell, Texas.

The population of children younger than 5 is close to becoming majority-minority nationally, standing at 49.9 percent minority in 2012.

"The proportion of young children that is minority has been increasing since the 2010 Census and if this proportional growth continues, we expect that the crossover to majority-minority for this group will occur within the next couple of years," Mesenbourg said.

Nation Ages, But Some Parts Become Younger

Note: The news release incorrectly listed the nation's median age in 2012 as being 0.1 years higher than is correct. The correct median age for the U.S. in 2012 is 37.4.

The nation's median age climbed to 37.4 years in 2012, up from 37.3 one year earlier. There were some areas of the country, however, that became younger over the period. Six states experienced a decline in median age, led by North Dakota, where it fell by 0.5 years, from 36.6 to 36.1. The other states or equivalents with a drop in median age were Hawaii, Alaska, the District of Columbia, Kansas and Oklahoma. Likewise, median age declined for 382 counties, with Williams, N.D., experiencing the largest decrease, 1.7 years, from 36.6 to 34.9.

In 2012, there was a greater than 13-year difference between the states with the highest median age (Maine at 43.5) and lowest (Utah at 30.0). Among counties, the contrast is far more stark: about two generations. Sumter, Fla., with a median age of 64.8, stood at one extreme, and Madison, Idaho, at 23.0, was at the other. There were 53 counties where the median age was greater than 50, and 68 counties where it was less than 30.

Highlights for each race group and Hispanics, as well as minorities as a whole, age groups, and both sexes, at the national, state and county levels follow:

Hispanics

  • California had the largest Hispanic population of any state on July 1, 2012 (14.5 million), as well as the largest numeric increase within the Hispanic population since July 1, 2011 (232,000). New Mexico had the highest percentage of Hispanics at 47.0 percent.
  • Los Angeles County had the largest Hispanic population of any county (4.8 million) in 2012 and the largest numeric increase since 2011 (55,000). Starr County -- on the Mexican border in Texas -- had the highest share of Hispanics (95.6 percent).

Blacks

  • New York had the largest black or African-American population of any state or equivalent as of July 1, 2012 (3.7 million); Texas had the largest numeric increase since 2011 (87,000). The District of Columbia had the highest percentage of blacks
    (51.6 percent), followed by Mississippi (38.0 percent).
  • Cook, Ill. (Chicago) had the largest black or African-American population of any county in 2012 (1.3 million), and Harris, Texas (Houston) had the largest numeric increase since 2011 (20,000). Holmes, Miss., was the county with the highest percentage of blacks or African-Americans in the nation (83.1 percent).

Asians

  • California had both the largest Asian population of any state (6.0 million) in July 2012 and the largest numeric increase of Asians since July 1, 2011 (136,000). Hawaii is our nation's only majority-Asian state, with people of this group comprising 56.9 percent of the total population.
  • Los Angeles had the largest Asian population of any county (1.6 million) in 2012 and the largest numeric increase (25,000) since 2011. At 60.9 percent, Honolulu County had the highest percentage of Asians in the nation.

American Indians and Alaska Natives

  • California had the largest American Indian and Alaska Native population of any state in 2012 (1,057,000) and the largest numeric increase since 2011 (13,000). Alaska had the highest percentage (19.5 percent).
  • Los Angeles County had the largest American Indian and Alaska Native population of any county in 2012 (232,000), and Maricopa, Ariz., the largest numeric increase (4,000) since 2011. Shannon County, S.D. -- on the Nebraska border and located entirely within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation -- had the highest percentage (93.5 percent).

Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders

  • Hawaii had the largest population of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders of any state (364,000) in 2012. California had the largest numeric increase since 2011 (6,000). Hawaii had the highest percentage (26.2 percent).
  • Honolulu had the largest population of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders of any county (238,000) in 2012. Los Angeles County had the largest numeric increase since 2011 (1,100). Hawaii County had the highest percentage (34.3 percent).

Non-Hispanic White Alone

  • California had the largest non-Hispanic white alone population of any state in 2012 (15.0 million). Texas had the largest numeric increase in this population group since 2011 (78,000). Maine had the highest percentage of the non-Hispanic white population (94.1 percent).
  • Los Angeles had the largest non-Hispanic white alone population of any county (2.7 million) in 2012. Maricopa County, Ariz., had the largest numeric increase in this population since 2011 (24,000). Leslie County, Ky., comprised the highest percentage (98.4 percent) of non-Hispanic whites.

Minorities

  • Five states or equivalents were "majority-minority" in 2012: Hawaii (77.2 percent minority), the District of Columbia (64.5 percent), California (60.6 percent), New Mexico (60.2 percent) and Texas (55.5 percent).
  • Maverick, Texas, had the largest share (96.8 percent) of its population in minority groups of any county, followed by Webb, Texas (96.4 percent) and Starr, Texas (96.1 percent). 

Age Groups

  • Two groups of children saw their population decline between 2011 and 2012: those under age 5 (from 20.1 million to just under 20 million) and high school-age children (age 14 to 17) -- from 16.9 million to 16.7 million. In contrast, the number of elementary school-age children -- age 5 to 13 -- rose from 36.9 million to just over 37 million.
  • Nationally, the 65-and-older population grew 4.3 percent between 2011 and 2012, to 43.1 million, or 13.7 percent of the total population.
  • Florida had the highest percentage of its total population age 65 and older in 2012 (18.2 percent), followed by Maine (17.0 percent) and West Virginia (16.8 percent). Alaska had the lowest percentage (8.5 percent), followed by Utah (9.5 percent) and Texas (10.9 percent). 
  • Among the nation's counties, Sumter, Fla., had the highest proportion of its population age 65 and older (49.3 percent), followed by Charlotte, Fla. (36.0 percent) and La Paz, Ariz. (34.9 percent). Chattahoochee, Ga. (3.6 percent) was at the other extreme.
  • The 85-and-older population grew by about 3 percent from 2011 to 2012, to almost 5.9 million. The number of centenarians grew to almost 62,000.
  • Utah had the highest percentage of its total population under age 5 at 9.0 percent, and Vermont (4.9 percent) the lowest. Among counties, the respective extremes were claimed by Shannon, S.D. (11.6 percent) and Sumter, Fla. (2.2 percent).
  • In 2012, there were 197 million working-age adults (age 18-64), representing 61.6 percent of the total population, an increase of about 736,000 people from 2011.
  • New Hampshire experienced the largest increase in median age among states from 2011 to 2012, from 41.6 to 42.0. Among counties, the honor belonged to Lake, S.D., whose median age rose 1.4 years to 42.8.

Gender

  • There were only 10 states where males made up the majority of the population on July 1, 2012. Alaska had the highest percentage of men at 52.1 percent, followed by Wyoming (51.1 percent), North Dakota (50.8 percent), Nevada (50.4 percent) and Hawaii (50.4 percent).
  • The District of Columbia had the highest percentage of females of any state or equivalent at 52.3 percent, followed by Rhode Island (51.6 percent), Maryland (51.6 percent), Delaware (51.5 percent) and Massachusetts (51.5 percent).

We have learned that the embargo of the Washington, D.C., population estimates by demographic characteristics has been broken. We are working to make the estimates for Washington, D.C., ONLY public as soon as possible. NO OTHER ESTIMATES MAY BE RELEASED PRIOR TO 12:01 A.M. EDT, THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 2013. The embargo for the nation, states and other communities REMAINS IN EFFECT.

-X-

Unless otherwise specified, the statistics refer to the population who reported a race alone or in combination with one or more races. Censuses and surveys permit respondents to select more than one race; consequently people may be one race or a combination of races. The detailed tables show statistics for the resident population by "race alone" and "race alone or in combination."

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 of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin. Starting with the 2000 Census, the question on race asked respondents to report the race or races they consider themselves to be. Hispanics may be of any race. Responses of "Some Other Race" from the 2010 Census are modified in these estimates. This results in differences between the population for specific race categories shown for the 2010 Census population in this release versus those in the original 2010 Census data.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: July 15, 2014