For years the term “All-American” conjured up an image of a blue-eyed blonde. As the United States grows more diverse, however, the public will likely come to redefine what an “American” looks like. That’s because in some regions of the country one would be hard pressed to spot a blue-eyed blonde. In fact in four U.S. states—California, New Mexico, Texas and Hawaii—people of color now outnumber whites. The same goes for the District of Columbia. What makes these states unique? This overview of information about the four majority-minority states and Washington, D.C., reveals how their demographics will likely be the nation’s future.
The Aloha State is unique among the nation’s handful of majority-minority states in that it has never had a white majority since it became the 50th state on Aug. 21, 1959. In other words, it has always been majority-minority. First settled by Polynesian explorers in the eighth century, Hawaii remains an area heavily populated by Pacific Islanders. More than 77 percent of Hawaiian residents are people of color, making it the state with the highest percentage of minorities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 statistics, the most recent available, Hawaii’s population is 38.5 percent Asian, 26 percent white, 10. 1 percent Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 9 percent Latino and two percent black. These demographics reveal that Hawaii isn’t just a tropical paradise but the proverbial American melting pot.
Minorities make up more than 60 percent of the Golden State’s population, according to the Census Bureau. Latinos and Asian Americans are both the driving forces behind that trend as well as the fact that the white population is aging rapidly. By the middle of 2013, demographers expect California’s Hispanic population to be 39 percent, the same as the white population. Shortly after that the Latino population will surpass the white population for the first time since California became a state in 1850, demographers told the Los Angeles Times. By 2060, researchers predict that Latinos will make up 48 percent of California, while whites will make up 30 percent of the state, Asians 13 percent and blacks four percent.
The Land of Enchantment, as New Mexico is known, has the distinction of housing the highest percentage of Hispanics of any U.S. state. According to the Census Bureau, 46.7 percent of the population there is Latino. Overall, 59.8 percent of New Mexico’s population belongs to an ethnic minority group. Just over 10 percent of New Mexicans are Native American, 2.5 percent are black, and 1.6 percent are Asian. Whites make up 40.2 percent of the state’s population.
The Lone Star State may be known for cowboys, conservatives and cheerleaders, but Texas is far more diverse than stereotypes paint it to be. Minorities comprise 55.2 percent of its population. Slightly more than 38 percent of Texans are Hispanics, followed by 12.2 percent who are black, 4 percent who are Asian, and 1 percent who are Native American. Whites comprise 44.8 percent of the Texas population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A number of counties in Texas are majority-minority, including Maverick, which is 96.8 percent minority and Webb, which is 96.4 percent minority, and the Wade Hampton Census Area, which is 96.2 percent minority. While Texas boasts a rising Latino population, its black population has increased as well. From 2010 to 2011, the black population of Texas rose by 84,000—the highest of any state.
District of Columbia
The U.S. Census Bureau regards the District of Columbia as a “state equivalent.” This area is also a majority-minority. African Americans comprise more than 50 percent of D.C.’s population, while Hispanics comprise 9.5 percent and Asians 3.7 percent. Whites make up 35.3 percent of this region. The District of Columbia boasts the highest percentage of blacks of any state or state equivalent.