Census: 2011 data confirm trend of population diversity

Census: 2011 data confirm trend of population diversity
Posted at 10:38 AM, May 17, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-17 10:38:02-04
(CNN) — Minorities make up an increasing percentage of the United States population, especially among younger age groups, according to Census Bureau estimates of changes since 2010.

The census defines “minority” as anyone who does not identify themselves as white (as a single race) and non-Hispanic. The total minority population grew half a percentage point between 2010 and 2011 to 36.6%, or 114 million people.

For the first time in the decade, the population of children younger than 1 is primarily non-white or Hispanic: 50.4% of the total population in that age category.

Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders had the highest percentage of children younger than 18 in 2011, at 33.9%. Hispanics were a close second, with 33.5% of the population under 18. In third were American Indians/Alaska natives, a group whose children make up 31.6% of its population. Next were blacks, with 29.6%; Asians, with 25.9%; and non-Hispanic whites, at 19.9%.

Across the United States, 23.7% of the total population is under 18.

Florida, popular with the retired set, was the state with the highest proportion of people older than 65: 17.6% of its population. Alaska was the state with the lowest proportion of seniors, at 8.1% of the population.

Asians remain the fastest-growing minority racial group, with a 3% increase over last year’s population, to 18.2 million. But the fastest-growing ethnic group overall was Hispanics (who can be of any race), expanding by 3.1% since 2010.

California had the largest number of single-race, non-Hispanic whites (15 million). It also had the largest populations of Hispanics (14.4 million), Asians (5.8 million) and American Indians/Alaska natives (1.05 million).

Hawaii was the state with the largest number of native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, with 359,000, and it was the only state in which Asians formed the majority (57.1%) of the population. New York state had the highest number of people identifying as black or African-American, at 3.7 million.