The Eight Cities Where Minorities Are Now in the Majority

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The rapid immigration of white populations into the U.S. ended 90 years ago and has been replaced by an influx of Asian and Hispanic immigrants, many of whom now have been here for more than a generation.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.
8. Jackson, MS
> White pop. 2000: 53%
> White pop. 2010: 48%
> Pop. increase 2000-2010: 41,860
> Minority pop. change 2000-2010: +42,630
> White pop. change 2000-2010: -770

Jackson, which makes up most of the Jackson metropolitan statistical area (MSA), now has a more nonwhites than whites. While Jackson’s total population increased by nearly 42,000 people between 2000 and 2010, the white population dropped by nearly 800 people. According to Brookings, the growing population has been almost entirely Hispanic. The organization also notes that this demographic shift has coincided with a rise in segregation in city neighborhoods.

7.  Las Vegas, NV
> White pop. 2000: 60%
> White pop. 2010: 48%
> Pop. increase 2000-2010: 575,504
> Minority pop. change 2000-2010: +468,218
> White pop. change 2000-2010: +107,286

Las Vegas has experienced the greatest decline in white population in the country, with a decrease of 12 percentage points. Hispanics currently make up 29% of the metropolitan area’s population, and this share is expected to increase over time. According to the Nevada Department of Education, Hispanic students make up the largest student group in the state. Because of the widespread use of Spanish, it takes several years before students are proficient in English, according to the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Nevada Department of Education, as reported by Nevada’s KLAS-TV 8 News NOW.

6. Memphis, TN
> White pop. 2000: 52%
> White pop. 2010: 46%
> Pop. increase 2000-2010: 110,896
> Minority pop. change 2000-2010: +127,604
> White pop. change 2000-2010: -16,708

The Memphis, Tennessee, MSA added more 110,000 people between 2000 and 2010, roughly an 8% increase of the population, even as it lost more than 16,000 white residents. The nonwhite population now eclipses the former majority of whites 54% to 46%. According to regional newspaper The Tri-State Defender, the city is seeking to follow “The Atlanta Model,” where Mayor Richard Duffy’s established programs are designed to encourage minority entrepreneurs. If this is successful, we may see the numbers of African-Americans continue to increase in the region.

5. Modesto, CA
> White pop. 2000: 57%
> White pop. 2010: 47%
> Pop. increase 2000-2010: 67,456
> Minority pop. change 2000-2010: +83,034
> White pop. change 2000-2010: -15,578

Forty-two percent of Modesto’s total population is Hispanic. The state’s poor economy has hurt minorities in California particularly hard. For white people, the unemployment rate in the state in July 2011 was 11.6%. For Hispanics, the rate was 14.3%. For the entire Modesto population, unemployment is 17.5% — the fifth highest in the country.

4. New York City, NY
> White pop. 2000: 53%
> White pop. 2010: 49%
> Pop. increase 2000-2010: 574,107
> Minority pop. change 2000-2010: +1,132,670
> White pop. change 2000-2010: -558,563

The largest MSA in the U.S. is in and around New York City, and it has more than 18.8 million people. Over the past decade, the greater New York region has lost more than half a million white residents, while gaining 1.1. million nonwhites. Whites now represent 49% of the population, with Hispanics representing 23%, African-Americans 16% andAsians 10%. To date, New York, Los Angeles and San Fransisco contain more than a third of the total Hispanic population of the U.S.

3.  Oxnard, CA
> White pop. 2000: 57%
> White pop. 2010: 49%
> Pop. increase 2000-2010: 70,121
> Minority pop. change 2000-2010: +96,702
> White pop. change 2000-2010: -26,581

The Oxnard metropolitan area, with a population currently about 820,000, has added just under 80,000 Hispanic residents since 2000 and lost more than 25,000 white residents. Hispanics have gone from making up 33% of the population in 2000 to 40% in 2010. The Ventura County Star notes that the growth may continue as “agriculture remains the county’s economic engine and one of the largest employers of Latinos.”

2. San Diego, CA
> White pop. 2000: 55%
> White pop. 2010: 48%
> Pop. increase 2000-2010: 281,480
> Minority pop. change 2000-2010: +330,266
> While Pop. change 2000-2010: -48,786

In 1990, 68% of the population of the San Diego MSA was white. Over the course of just two decades, that number dropped to 48%. The Southern California area is now 32% Hispanic and has the tenth-largest population of Hispanics among all major U.S. cities, at approximately 990,000. A third of those residents were added in just the past 10 years.

1.  Washington, DC
> White pop. 2000: 55%
> White pop. 2010: 49%
> Pop. increase 2000-2010: 785,987
> Minority pop. change 2000-2010: +727,968
> White pop. change 2000-2010: +58,019

Washington DC falls within the top ten metropolitan areas for largest growth of the black, Asian and Hispanic populations. The city’s white population increased as well, though the percentage of whites among the overall population has decreased. According to a report by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, the number of students in DC schools has grown by almost 119,000 from 1995 to 2010. Of those, a little more than 1,000 are white.

Charles B. Stockdale, Michael B. Sauter, Douglas A. McIntyre

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