Dear Commons Community,
The New York Times has a featured article this morning entitled, Behind the Surprising Jump in Multiracial Americans, describing how families across the country have grown more diverse. A design change in the US Census Form also allowed the government to report people’s identity in greater detail. Here is an excerpt from the article.
“The Census Bureau released a surprising finding this week: The number of non-Hispanic Americans who identify as multiracial had jumped by 127 percent over the decade. For people who identified as Hispanic, the increase was even higher.
The spike sent demographers scrambling. Was the reason simply that more multiracial babies were being born? Or that Americans were rethinking their identities? Or had a design change in this year’s census form caused the sudden, unexpected shift?
The answer, it seems, is all of the above.
Multiracial Americans are still a relatively small part of the population — just 4 percent — but the increase over the decade was substantial and, the data shows, often surprising in its geography. The number of Americans who identified as non-Hispanic and more than one race jumped to 13.5 million from 6 million. The largest increase in non-Hispanic Americans of two or more races was in Oklahoma, followed by Alaska and Arkansas.
Americans who were mixed race recorded a wide range of identities. People who identified themselves as both white and Asian made up about 18 percent of the total number of non-Hispanic multiracial Americans in 2020. Those who reported their race as both white and Black accounted for 20.5 percent. Americans who were both white and Native American were 26 percent of the total, according to Andrew Beveridge, who founded Social Explorer, a data analytics company.
Part of the rise in people identifying as multiracial was simply the growing diversity of the American population. As the newest immigrants, largely from Asia and Latin America, have children and grandchildren, and those Americans form families, they are much more likely to marry outside their racial or ethnic groups than their parents were. Among newlywed Hispanic people who were born in the United States, about 39 percent marry someone who is not Hispanic, according to the Pew Research Center. For Asian people, that number is about the same.
But the increase can also be attributed in part to changing ways in which Americans identify themselves — and the ways the government categorizes them.”
This bodes well for our country and its diversity.