The Eight Cities Where Minorities Are Now in the Majority

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The ethnic landscape of America’s cities has changed dramatically in the past decade. Populations of 22 of the 100 largest cities now have minority groups that together are in the majority. Of course, the question is not whether the change is bad — it is not. Instead, the question is whether it has any implications that state and federal governments should consider to better address economic and other concerns.

Unfortunately, the reality is that minorities remain at a disadvantage with respect to economic and social measures like unemployment, education and median income. For example, racial diversity can affect unemployment. While national unemployment is 9.1%, it varies among the ethnic groups. Among whites, unemployment is 8.1%. Among blacks, it is 15.9% and among Hispanics, 11.3%. Because different areas have different racial compositions, solutions to joblessness may need to be affected through local programs, rather than national ones that treat all regions and cities the same.

Ten years ago, white Americans were the majority of the population in nearly every large city in America. At the time, the 13 cities without white majorities were in southern California, southern New Mexico, southern Texas and southern Florida. Each of these had a large Hispanic population in 2000.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program’s “State of Metropolitan America” to identify the cities where minorities are now in the majority.  The survey found that “Non-whites and Hispanics accounted for 98 percent of population growth in large metro areas from 2000 to 2010. Forty-two of the 100 largest metro areas lost white population.” According to the report, “Smaller metro areas and areas outside of metropolitan regions, by contrast, remain overwhelmingly white.”

It is in the largest cities that the shifting ethnic mix is most notable. Whites are less than 50% of the residents in San Diego, Washington DC, New York City, Memphis and Las Vegas. They were in the majority in those cities 10 years ago. Similarly, the portion of the white population has fallen even further in several cities that already had white minorities in 2000, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose in California, as well as Miami and Houston.

The rapid immigration of white populations into the U.S. ended 90 years ago and has been replaced by an influx of Asian and Hispanic immigrants, many of whom now have been here for more than a generation. Similarly, a century ago the black population was concentrated primarily in the Deep South. Many blacks migrated north for industrial jobs in the 1920s and 1930s. Growth in the black population has added to the ethnic diversity of many large northern cities.

These are the eight cities where minorities are now in the majority.