The Growing Majority-Minority Population

Source: The Nielsen Co.

By Gregory Fisher

Headlines continue to chronicle the nation’s demographic growth of its minority populations. So it should come as no surprise that each new data release from government agencies shows the trend growing in momentum. For example, in 2012 the U.S. Census Bureau reported that, for the first time in U.S. history, more minority babies were born than white, non-Hispanic (non-minority) babies. Projections suggest that the United States as a whole will become “majority-minority” sometime in the 2040s.

As the nation’s demographic landscape continues to transform, it is interesting to look at this national trend and see how it plays out on a more local level. America is geographically a large country. And to that extent, minority populations still remain fairly concentrated. For example, 27.3 percent of all minorities can be found in just 15 U.S. counties.

The above map offers a snapshot of U.S. counties that are currently estimated to be majority-minority, according to recent data from The Nielsen Co. In 2000, 8.4 percent (265) of U.S. counties were majority-minority. Today, it is estimated that those numbers have climbed to 11.4 percent (358) of U.S. counties. Over the past 12 years, Texas has led the way with an additional 28 counties that are now majority-minority. Other top county contributors were California (10), Georgia (seven) and Virginia (six).

Some counties bucked the national trend. For example, there were six U.S. counties that were majority-minority in 2000 and are now majority-majority (Webster, Ga.; Colfax, N.M.; W. Feliciana, La.; Calhoun, S.C.; Surry, Va.; and Terrell, Texas).

Interestingly, of the nation’s top 15 minority population counties, only one is not a majority-minority county: Maricopa, Ariz., located in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Looking to the future, we see the next big counties that will likely have made the shift to majority-minority by 2020’s Census. The following counties all have total populations over 500,000 and minority populations that have at least doubled since 2000:

• Collin County: Dallas Metro Area
• Denton County: Dallas Metro Area
• Lee County: Cape Coral, Fla., Metro Area
• Utah County: Provo, Utah, Metro Area
• Macomb County: Detroit Metro Area
• Johnson County: Kansas City, Mo./Ks., Metro Area
• Will County: Chicago Metro Area
• Snohomish County: Seattle Metro Area
• Wake County: Raleigh, N.C., Metro Area

—Gregory Fisher is a senior data product manager for The Nielsen Co.