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Census: Minority Population Tops 100M

The United States is becoming more diverse, with ethnic and racial minorities topping 100 million for the first time in 2006, according to data from the Census Bureau.

The data suggest about one in three Americans was a minority last year.

The nation was 66.4 percent white, non-Hispanic; 15 percent Hispanic; 13.4 percent black; 5 percent Asian, and 1.5 percent American Indian or native Alaskan. Three-tenths of a percent identified themselves as Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

The percentages add up to more than 100, in part because some people identify with more than one race and Hispanics can be of any race.

"To put this into perspective, there are more minorities in this country today than there were people in the United States in 1910, Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon said. "In fact, the minority population in the U.S. is larger than the total population of all but 11 countries."

California led the way with a minority population of more than 20 million, followed by Texas with just over 12 million.

A year ago, the minority population was 98.3 million.

Some highlights:

  • Hispanic was the fastest-growing minority group, enlarging 3.4 percent between July 1, 2005 and July 1, 2006 for a total of 44.3 million. Asian was second with a 3.2 percent growth, totaling 14.9 million.
  • The black population surpassed 40 million and increased 1.3 percent.
  • White, non-Hispanics accounted for less than 18 percent of the nation's population growth. The population of non-Hispanic whites who indicated no other race totaled 198.7 million in 2006.
  • The Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander group has reached 1 million.
  • Four states, along with the District of Columbia, are "majority-minority" in 2006. Hawaii was first (75 percent minority), followed by the District of Columbia (68 percent), New Mexico (57 percent), California (57 percent) and Texas (52 percent). No other state had a minority population exceeding 42 percent of the total.

    Based on the Census data, an analysis by The Associated Press showed that Illinois is the most average state in the country.

    The study examined 21 demographic factors, including race, age, income, education, industrial mix, immigration and the share of people living in urban and rural areas.

    Each state was then ranked on how closely it matched national levels. Illinois was followed by Oregon, Michigan, Washington and Delaware.

    West Virginia was the least typical state: poorer, whiter, more rural followed by Mississippi, New Hampshire, Vermont and Kentucky.