The United States is becoming more diverse, as the white share of the population declines and Hispanic, Asian, and African American populations grow — and that change is happening quickly in certain places.
While whites remain the largest racial or ethnic group nationwide, accounting for 60% of all Americans, 109 counties in 22 states from California to North Carolina have gone from majority white to majority nonwhite since 2000, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data.
The study looked only at counties with a minimum population of 10,000 in 2018. Those counties represent 77% of the nation’s 3,142 counties and include 99% of the population.
Overall, 293 counties were majority nonwhite in 2018, most of them in California, the South, and the East Coast, Pew said.
In coming years, several large majority-white counties may flip. Those include Fairfax County, Va.; Pima County, Ariz.; Milwaukee County, Wis.; and Cobb County, Ga. All have populations that are less than 52% white.
In 21 of the 25 biggest counties by population, nonwhite groups taken together make up more than half of residents. Eight of these counties were majority white in 2000 but have since changed: San Diego, Orange, Riverside, and Sacramento in California; Clark in Nevada; Broward in Florida; Tarrant in Texas; and Wayne in Michigan.
Hispanics were the largest nonwhite population in all those counties except in Wayne, which includes Detroit, and where the African American population was the largest nonwhite group, the study said.
Another way to consider the nation’s changing demographics, Pew said, is to consider how few counties shifted the opposite way. From 2000 to 2018, only two counties went from minority white to majority white: Calhoun County in South Carolina and West Feliciana Parish in Louisiana, each with populations of only about 15,000.