America is already more diverse than you may realize


A few years ago, demographers, Dowell Myers and Morris Levy, conducted an experiment designed to test how Americans responded to the country’s changing demographics. They presented a group of respondents to news stories that framed the increasing diversity of the population in different ways.

They found that talking about the increase itself made many white respondents more optimistic or enthusiastic, including nearly half of White Republicans. But talk of whites becoming a minority prompted many white respondents to express anger or concern — including a third of white Republicans.

This debate over America’s changing demographics permeates much of the current political debate, often implicitly. But this latter framework in particular, while the most widely used, is perhaps particularly misleading because it presents a clearly defined racial demographic when, for most Americans, it is each one.

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I will preface this discussion by noting that this issue is one that I explore at length in my book as I consider how energy will change in the coming decades. There are many details on this subject that are difficult to cover within the confines of a news article, but it is a topic that should be considered when the opportunity arises.

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Such an opportunity arose this week thanks to an investigation by KFF, formerly the Kaiser Family Foundation. KFF looked at Census Bureau data on race and found an interesting aspect of Hispanic racial identity: While most Hispanics identified as White in 2010, only a small percentage done in 2021.

You can see the change below.

This can be confusing for people who don’t follow such things closely. Isn’t their race “Hispanic”? No, no. The government since the 1970s has designated Hispanic as tribe, meaning both White and Hispanic, for example, or Black and no Hispanic. (The Biden administration plans to change this system, it’s important to note.) So we have data on the racial divide among Hispanics.

But why has it changed since 2010? Mainly because the Census Bureau changed the way it reports race.

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“[R]Recent improvements in how the Census and other national surveys ask about race and ethnicity have resulted in increased population diversity,” Samantha Artiga and Drishti Pillai of KFF write, “mainly because of the increase in the number of people who are reported as others. other races or multi-races, especially among the Hispanic population.”

The change among Hispanics has been more dramatic, but similar changes have occurred with Americans in general. For example, in 2010, far more Americans identified themselves as “White only” than “White and other races.” But mainly because of the above-mentioned developments, most US citizens now use the latter definition. (The change in the middle is much easier: The Office has won more and more as people define their races.)

Nationally and in every state, the number of residents who identify as “White and other race” has increased from 2010 to 2020, often doubling. The number of residents who identify as “White alone” has decreased in many areas.

(In the charts below, those who identify as ethnic Hispanics are divided into their groups.)

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In 2010, “White and other race” were usually a small percentage of the country’s population. In 2020, it was often very important. See the increase in gray areas in the communities below. (Percentages for 2010 are shown in the inner circle; 2020 in the outer circle.)

About 6 percent of non-Hispanic White self-identified as White and at least one other race. That’s more than double the 2010 figure.

The picture painted here is not one of a hard-and-fast White population being overtaken by growing numbers of Hispanics, Black Americans, and Asians. Rather, it is the complexity of racism that makes it difficult to know what the so-called majority-minority is, if at all. whether such an act can be as good as pride.

In Myers and Levy’s research, respondents were given a third version of the discussion about diversity change: explaining the permanent White majority by including people of mixed race such as Whites. This was a plan that caused anger and concern – especially among White Republicans.


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