New U.S. Census Bureau data released today show that the percentage of white residents — in both Santa Clara County, in California and across the U.S.— declined for the first time in history.
The numbers released by the Census Bureau today also revealed continuing increases in the population of U.S. metro areas compared to a decade ago, as the bureau also released detailed databases of the 2020 numbers so governments across the country can begin redistricting efforts.
The numbers— the basis of new boundaries for local, state and federal electoral districts beginning in 2022— arrived several months behind schedule, and will be published in easier-to-understand versions Sept. 30.
In Santa Clara County, people who identify as Asian are now the largest racial group or ethnic group for the first time, representing 38.9% of the county’s 2020 population of 1,936,239, according to census numbers released today. The county’s Asian population grew by more than one-third, by nearly 190,000, over the 2010 census numbers.
Santa Clara County’s Hispanic or Latino population grew, but at a slower pace, by just over 8,000 people, in the last decade. This group represents 25.2% of the 2020 population count for the county.
The 2020 Census reported about 71,000 additional white residents over 2010, while the county proportion of the population of this group fell to 28.7%.
The new U.S. Census data released on Thursday also showed significant increases nationally among people who identify as multi-racial, with Hispanic and Asian populations driving much of the nation's population growth between 2010 and 2020.
Santa Clara County was one of the fastest growing counties in California in the past decade, growing to 1,936,259, an 8.7% increase, the fifth-fastest-growing among the state’s top 10 counties in population.
The fastest-growing counties were Trinity, with just 16,000 people, at 16.9%, followed by Placer and nearby San Benito, at 16.2% growth over the last decade.
The census also today reported that Santa Clara County had the third highest percentage of growth in housing units in the state, adding more than 56,000 units.
The most populous county in the United States in 2020 remained Los Angeles County with over 10 million people. New York City remained the largest city in the U.S. in 2020 with 8.8 million people. The new data showed that 312 of the 384 U.S. metro areas gained population between 2010 and 2020.
While the white population remained the largest race or ethnicity group in the United States, with 204.3 million people identifying as white alone, as a proportion of the entire U.S. population, it decreased 8.6% over 2010.
The Hispanic or Latino population, which includes people of any race, was 62.1 million in 2020. The Hispanic or Latino population in California grew about 11% to become the largest ethnic or racial group in the state, while nationally the Hispanic population grew 23%.
“We are excited to reach this milestone of delivering the first detailed statistics from the 2020 Census,” said acting Census Bureau Director Ron Jarmin at a televised mid-day press conference.
The new numbers represent where people were living as of April 1, 2020, and will be available for the nation, states and communities down to the block level.
The Census Bureau also released data visualizations, America Counts stories, and videos to help illustrate and explain these data. These resources are available on the 2020 Census results page. Advanced users can access these data on the FTP site.
Today’s release also reveals changes in the size and distribution of the population across the U.S.
The population of U.S. metro areas grew by 9% from 2010 to 2020, resulting in 86% of the population living in U.S. metro areas in 2020, compared to 85% in 2010.
“Many counties within metro areas saw growth, especially those in the south and west. However, as we’ve been seeing in our annual population estimates, our nation is growing slower than it used to,” said Marc Perry, a senior demographer at the Census Bureau. “This decline is evident at the local level where around 52% of the counties in the United States saw their 2020 Census populations decrease from their 2010 Census populations.”
The 2020 census reveals that the U.S. population is much more multiracial and more diverse than what has been measured in the past, census officials said.
The percentage of the national population identifying as white dropped to 57.8% over the last decade, compared to 63.7% in 2010. During the same period, the Hispanic percentage grew to 18.7%, and Blacks held steady nationally at 12.1%.
“We are confident that differences in the overall racial distributions are largely due to improvements in the design of the two separate questions for race data collection and processing, as well as some demographic changes over the past 10 years,” said Perry in a statement..
Nicholas Jones, director and senior advisor for race and ethnicity research and outreach at the Census Bureau, added: “Today’s release of 2020 Census redistricting data provides a new snapshot of the racial and ethnic composition and diversity of the country. The improvements we made to the 2020 Census yield a more accurate portrait of how people self-identify in response to two separate questions on Hispanic origin and race, revealing that the U.S. population is much more multiracial and more diverse than what we measured in the past.”