What 2016 Population Data Say About Race and Ethnicity in America

Posted July 7, 2018
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

In 2016, 61% of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion iden­ti­fied as white, 18% as His­pan­ic or Lati­no, 12% as black or African Amer­i­can and 5% as Asian. About 2% of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion iden­ti­fied as mul­tira­cial. Less than 1% of res­i­dents iden­ti­fied as either Amer­i­can Indi­an and Native Alaskan or as Native Hawai­ian and oth­er Pacif­ic Islander.

About the U.S. Cen­sus Bureau

The Cen­sus Bureau — our nation’s pri­ma­ry source of pop­u­la­tion data — has changed how it mea­sures race and eth­nic­i­ty over time. Today, the bureau tracks five racial cat­e­gories: 1) white; 2) black or African-Amer­i­can; 3) Amer­i­can Indi­an or Alas­ka Native; 4) Asian; and 5) Native Hawai­ian or oth­er Pacif­ic Islander.

Since the 2000 Cen­sus, respon­dents have been able to iden­ti­fy as more than one race. Sep­a­rate­ly, the bureau also tracks how many peo­ple iden­ti­fy as His­pan­ic, which is a des­ig­na­tion that can apply to indi­vid­u­als of any racial category.

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