Whites are now in the minority in nearly one in 10 U.S. counties, the Census Bureau reports. As of 2006, non-Hispanic whites made up less than half the population in 303 of the nation’s 3,141 counties, according to figures the bureau released Aug. 9. Whites were a minority in 262 counties in 2000, up from 183 in 1990.
The Census Bureau’s report has population estimates by race and ethnicity for every county in the nation. They are the first such estimates since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, the Associated Press reports. The biggest changes in were in Orleans Parish, La., home to New Orleans. The share of non-Hispanic whites in Orleans Parish grew from 27 percent in 2005 to 34 percent in 2006, while the share of blacks dropped from about 68 percent to 59 percent.
According to the report, Slope County, N.D., is the whitest county in the country (99.3 percent non-Hispanic white), while whites are the smallest minority in Starr County, Texas, where 2.1 percent of the population is non-Hispanic white.
Many of the nation’s biggest counties have long had large minority populations, but that diversity is spreading. Prince William County, Va., has seen its Hispanic population more than double since 2000, to nearly 70,000 last year. Non-Hispanic whites account for a little more than half the population, down from about two-thirds in 2000. By 2050, minorities will account for half of U.S. residents, according to Census Bureau projections.