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New census report reveals Austin’s ‘diversity explosion’ into majority-minority metro

Report shows Austin’s diversity explosion into majority-minority metro

Downtown Austin skyline
The Austin metro area is experiencing some diverse changes. Photo by Gino Barasa, Visit Austin/Facebook

A new analysis sheds light on just how dramatically the face of Central Texas has changed in the past 10 years.

The analysis, published by the Austin Chamber of Commerce, shows the five-county Austin metro area shifted from a majority-white region in 2010 to a majority-minority region in 2020. The population of non-Hispanic white residents declined from 54.7 percent in 2010 to 49.6 percent last year, according to the analysis, based on U.S. Census Bureau data.

From 2010 to 2020, the area’s population of white residents jumped 20.7 percent, compared with the region’s overall population growth rate of 33 percent. That was the slowest growth rate for any major racial or ethnic group.

During the same 10-year period, the share of:

  • Hispanics grew from 31.4 percent to 31.9 percent.
  • Asians grew from 6.6 percent to 7 percent. The region’s Asian population climbed 96.8 percent during the 10-year span, catapulting it past the Black population to become the area’s third-largest racial or ethnic group.
  • Blacks slipped from 7 percent to 6.6 percent. That compares with a Black population of about 16 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth and about 17 percent in the Houston metro area.

Particularly noteworthy is the boom in the Austin area’s population of multiracial people — those indicating they represent at least two racial groups. In 2010, according to the analysis, 29,225 residents of the Austin area identified themselves as multiracial. That number soared to 93,033 in 2020, a spike of 218.3 percent.

The analysis is based on data that the Census Bureau released in August from the nationwide head count taken in 2020.

The nonprofit Brookings Institution refers to Austin’s and the nation’s tilt toward more racial and ethnic variety as a “diversity explosion.” Aside from Austin, five other big metro areas became majority-minority regions in 2020, according to The New York Times: Dallas-Fort Worth; Atlanta; New Orleans; Orlando, Florida; and Sacramento, California.

“White, non-Hispanic Americans now account for less than six in 10 people in the U.S. — a more precipitous drop over the past decade than experts expected — and they’re no longer the racial-ethnic majority in 13 percent of U.S. counties,” the Axios news website reported in August.