America's white population fell for the first time in US history, 2020 Census data shows

America's white population fell for the first time in US history, 2020 Census data shows
People walk through Herald Square on a warm day on June 7, 2021 in New York City. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images
  • The non-Hispanic white population in the US has shrunk for the first time ever, according to Census data.
  • The white alone population declined by 8.6%, while the Black alone population increased by 5.6%.
  • The Asian population also grew a lot over the decade, by 35.5%.

The white population in America shrunk for the first time in US history, according to US Census data around race and ethnicity released on Thursday.

The dip marks the first time since the Census was implemented in 1790 that the number of people who identify as white has decreased.

In 2010, the white population was 223.6 million and in 2020 it was 204.3 million, a decrease of 8.6%, according to the data. However, the white population is still the largest among groups. Part of this drop is due to an aging population and fewer births.

Additionally, the number of people identifying as white fell below 60% for the first time, dropping to 57.8% in the 2020 Census. The data shows the US is continuing its trend towards becoming a diverse, majority-minority country.

The following chart shows the population changes by race from 2010 to 2020:


Other racial groups actually grew over the decade, unlike those who identified as white alone. For instance, the population of those who identified as Black alone increased by 5.6%. Additionally, the population identifying as two or more races increased by 275.7% over the decade.

As noted in the chart, however, Hispanic or Latino ethnicity is a separate question.

"The number of people who were not of Hispanic or Latino origin who identified as White alone declined at a slower rate, with a -2.6% change," the Census Bureau wrote in a post.

These numbers are important as the Associated Press writes the population figures "could help determine control of the House in the 2022 elections and provide an electoral edge for years to come. The data will also shape how $1.5 trillion in annual federal spending is distributed."

The Census Bureau noted that it made changes to improve capturing just what the population of the US looks like.


"We are confident that differences in the overall racial distributions are largely due to improvements in the design of the two separate questions for race data collection and processing as well as some demographic changes over the past 10 years," the Census Bureau wrote.