DataBank Indicator

Racial and Ethnic Composition of the Child Population

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Between 1980 and 2015, the percentage of children in the United States who are Hispanic nearly tripled, from 9 to 25 percent. Their share is projected to increase to more than one-quarter (26 percent) of the child population by 2020.

Importance

The United States has a long history of ethnic and racial diversity in its population. That diversity has accelerated in recent decades, a trend which is expected to continue into the future.

Race and ethnicity have important implications for culture, identity, and well-being. Children of different races and ethnicities often show large discrepancies in well-being, including health, mortality, school performance and attainment, and access to family and community resources.[1]
These and other disparities are also evident in adulthood.[2]

According to the National Research Council, race is a social category determined both by genetically transmitted physical markers (skin color, hair texture, and so on), and by the “individual, group, and social attributes” associated with those characteristics. Race is distinguished from “ethnicity,” which does not include physical characteristics as part of its definition.[3]

Over time, the federal government has changed the way it defines and measures race. All race and ethnicity information is now based on individuals’ self-report (or, in the case of children, that of their parent or other responsible adult). However, current Census Bureau revisions allow survey respondents to identify themselves as being of more than one race. Additionally, ethnicity has been defined as an attribute distinct from race. Thus, individuals with Hispanic/Latino ethnicity may be of any race. This new classification was first used in 2000, and has since been implemented in all federal surveys and administrative data collection efforts.[4] However, labels for race and ethnicity remain controversial, and there are further changes expected in the options that will be offered in the 2020 Decennial Census.

Trends

60_fig1From 1980 to 2000, the proportion of non-Hispanic white children in the U.S. population fell from 74 to 62 percent. (Appendix 1)
Between 2000 and 2010, the percentage of children who were non-Hispanic white only (following the new classification system used in the 2000 decennial census, in which respondents were given the option of identifying with multiple race categories) declined from 61 to 54 percent, and is projected to decline to 50 percent by 2020. (Figure 1)

The percentage of the child population that is non-Hispanic black has stayed relatively constant, at about 15 percent since 1980, and it is expected to decline only slightly, to 14 percent, by 2020. However, because of changes in the race categories used by the Census Bureau, estimates for 2000 and later years are not directly comparable with earlier estimates. (Figure 1)

60_fig2The proportion of children who are ethnically Hispanic has been growing steadily, from 9 percent in 1980 to 25 percent in 2015, and is projected to be 26 percent in 2020. (Figure 2) In 2010, 68 percent of Hispanic children were of Mexican origin, which was 16 percent of the total child population. Nine percent of Hispanic children in the U.S. were of Puerto Rican origin, six percent had a Central American origin (mainly Salvadoran, at 2.5 percent, and Guatemalan, at 1.6 percent), and four percent had a South American origin (the largest group being Colombian, at 1.2 percent). Other large Hispanic groups include Dominicans and Cubans (each accounting for two percent of Hispanic children). (Appendix 3)

Among Asians, the largest origin groups in 2010 were Asian Indians alone (21 percent of Asian children), Chinese (20 percent), Filipinos (15 percent), Vietnamese (12 percent), and Koreans (9 percent). About six percent of children who were Asian-alone were of mixed ancestry.
(Appendix 3)

According to data from the 2010 Census, non-Hispanic children of more than one race constituted roughly four percent of the child population, an increase of two percent compared with the 2000 census. (Figure 1) Among all children who were identified as being of more than one race, the majority (four percent of all children) were white combined with one other race, with two percent identified as white and black, one percent identified as white and Asian, and 0.6 percent as white and American Indian or Alaska Native. (Appendix 2)

State and Local Estimates

State-level child population estimates from 2000 through 2015 by race and Hispanic origin are available from the KidsCount Datacenter.

Estimates from the American Community Survey are
available for states, counties, congressional districts, metropolitan areas,
cities, and census tracts from the Census Bureau.

International Estimates

None available.

Related Indicators

Data Sources

Data for 2015: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division (2016) Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex, Age, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States and States: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015. Available at: http://www.census.gov/popest/data/national/asrh/2015/index.html.

Data for 1980-2015 and projections: Federal Interagency Forum on
Child and Family Statistics. (2016). America’s Children: Key National
Indicators of Well-Being, 2016, Tables POP1 and POP3. Federal Interagency
Forum on Child and Family Statistics, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing
Office. http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables.asp

Data on multiple races for 2000: Unpublished estimates from the
2000 Census, produced by the Population Reference Bureau.

Data on multiple races and ethnicities for 2010: Table QT-P1: Age
Groups and Sex. 2010 Census Summary File 2. Available on American Factfinder
at: http://factfinder2.census.gov

Raw Data Source

All estimates in Table 1 are from the Census
Bureau’s Population Projections and Estimates Branch, based on models that draw
on many data sources.

Estimates based on the 1990 Census are available
from the Census Bureau at http://www.census.gov/popest/data/historical/1990s/index.html

All estimates in Appendices 2 and 3 are from the
2000 and 2010 Decennial Censuses.

http://www.census.gov/main/www/cen2000.html
(2000 Census)

http://www.census.gov/2010census/
(2010 Census)

 

1980 1985 1990 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Total Number of Children (in millions) 63.7 62.6 64.2 69.5 70.2 70.1 71.4 71.9 72.4 72.7 72.9 73.1 73.3 73.5
Race and Ethnicity
White (includes Hispanic) 82 81 80 79 79 79 78 78 76.8 76.5 76.3 76.0 75.7 75.2
White, non-Hispanic 74 72 69 66 65 64 64 63 61.2 60.4 59.7 58.9 58.2 57.4
Black only (includes Hispanic) 15 15 15 16 16 16 16 16 15.6 15.6 15.6 15.5 15.5 15.5
Black, non-Hispanic 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 14.8 14.8 14.8 14.7 14.6 14.5
Hispanic1 9 10 12 14 15 15 16 17 17.2 17.8 18.3 18.9 19.5 20.1
Asian or Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic 2 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.9 4.0 4.1
Asian only 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.7 3.8 3.9
American Indian or Alaska Native2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.0 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9
Two or More Races 2.2 2.3 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.9
Projections
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2020 2030 2040 2050
Total Number of Children (in millions) 73.8 74.0 74.1 74.1 74.1 73.9 73.7 73.6 73.6 73.6 76.2 80.3 82.6 85.9
Race and Ethnicity
White (includes Hispanic) 75.1 74.8 74.4 74.1 73.7 73.6 73.4 73.2 72.9 72.7 71.9 69.9 67.9 65.8
White, non-Hispanic 56.6 55.8 55.0 54.3 53.6 53.2 52.8 52.4 51.9 51.5 49.8 46.6 42.5 38.8
Black only (includes Hispanic) 15.4 15.4 15.3 15.3 15.2 15.2 15.1 15.1 15.1 15.1 14.9 14.8 14.8 14.8
Black, non-Hispanic 14.5 14.4 14.3 14.2 14.1 14.0 13.9 13.8 13.8 13.8 13.5 13.4 13.2 13.1
Hispanic1 20.8 21.5 22.1 22.7 23.2 23.6 23.8 24.1 24.4 24.6 25.7 27.2 29.8 31.9
Asian or Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 5.0 5.1 5.4 6.2 7.0 7.6
Asian only 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 5.2 6.0 6.8 7.4
American Indian or Alaska Native2 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.7
Two or More Races 3.0 3.2 3.3 3.5 3.7 3.8 3.9 4.0 4.0 4.1 4.7 5.8 6.8 7.9
1`People of Hispanic origin may be of any race.2Includes American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut who are not Hispanic.Notes: Beginning in 2000, respondents were able to select multiple races. Therefore estimates after 2000 are not strictly comparable to earlier estimates.Source: Data for 1980-2015 and projections from Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. (2016). America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2016, Tables POP1 and POP3. Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables.asp. Data for 2015: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division (2016) Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex, Age, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States and States: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015. Available at: http://www.census.gov/popest/data/national/asrh/2015/index.html.

Appendix 2 – Number and Percentage of Single- and Multi-Race Children Under Age 18: 2000 & 2010

2000 2010
Number Percent Number Percent
Total 72,293,812 100.0 74,181,467 100.0
Population of one race: 69,436,926 96.0 70,013,071 94.4
White only 49,598,289 68.6 48,418,349 65.3
Black or African American only 10,885,696 15.1 10,841,316 14.6
American Indian and Alaska Native only 840,312 1.2 888,372 1.2
Asian only 2,464,999 3.4 3,251,636 4.4
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander only 127,179 0.2 157,604 0.2
Some other race only 5,520,451 7.6 6,455,794 8.7
Population of two or more races 2,856,886 4.0 4,168,396 5.6
Population of two races: 2,638,229 3.6 3,805,319 5.1
White; Black or African American 562,914 0.8 1,241,752 1.7
White; American Indian and Alaska Native 337,298 0.5 438,148 0.6
White; Asian 445,082 0.6 817,662 1.1
White; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 46,250 0.1 67,337 0.1
White; Some other race 772,663 1.1 698,572 0.9
Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native 58,325 0.1 84,959 0.1
Black or African American; Asian 49,141 0.1 85,720 0.1
Black or African American; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 11,165 0.0 18,923 0.0
Black or African American; Some other race 164,092 0.2 148,731 0.2
American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian 16,774 0.0 18,377 0.0
American Indian and Alaska Native; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 2,736 0.0 4,208 0.0
American Indian and Alaska Native; Some other race 31,731 0.0 38,501 0.1
Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 40,313 0.1 45,133 0.1
Asian; Some other race 86,408 0.1 78,493 0.1
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race 13,337 0.0 18,803 0.0
Population of three races: 197,254 0.3 329,808 0.4
White; Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native 47,418 0.1 99,133 0.1
White; Black or African American; Asian 14,032 0.0 42,263 0.1
White; Black or African American; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 1,876 0.0 6,199 0.0
White; Black or African American; Some other race 26,110 0.0 27,807 0.0
White; American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian 12,789 0.0 24,155 0.0
White; American Indian and Alaska Native; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 2,368 0.0 4,151 0.0
White; American Indian and Alaska Native; Some other race 11,196 0.0 13,276 0.0
White; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 44,436 0.1 66,623 0.1
White; Asian; Some other race 17,178 0.0 20,015 0.0
White; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race 3,521 0.0 3,744 0.0
Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian 2,382 0.0 4,040 0.0
Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 443 0.0 967 0.0
Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Some other race 2,653 0.0 3,286 0.0
Black or African American; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 2,343 0.0 3,713 0.0
Black or African American; Asian; Some other race 3,497 0.0 3,372 0.0
Black or African American; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race 835 0.0 1,387 0.0
American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 1,260 0.0 1,543 0.0
American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian; Some other race 846 0.0 1,312 0.0
American Indian and Alaska Native; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race 235 0.0 623 0.0
Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race 1,836 0.0 2,199 0.0
Population of four races: 18,389 0.0 29,947 0.0
White; Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian 4,400 0.0 9,484 0.0
White; Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 486 0.0 1,424 0.0
White; Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Some other race 1,912 0.0 3,755 0.0
White; Black or African American; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 1,200 0.0 3,203 0.0
White; Black or African American; Asian; Some other race 728 0.0 1,406 0.0
White; Black or African American; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race 180 0.0 308 0.0
White; American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 3,720 0.0 6,408 0.0
White; American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian; Some other race 610 0.0 847 0.0
White; American Indian and Alaska Native; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race 156 0.0 208 0.0
White; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race 4,131 0.0 1,857 0.0
Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 314 0.0 422 0.0
0.0 0.0
Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian; Some other race 146 0.0 257 0.0
Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race 43 0.0 68 0.0
Black or African American; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race 277 0.0 186 0.0
American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race 86 0.0 114 0.0
Population of five races: 2,736 0.0 3,083 0.0
White; Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 1,871 0.0 2,146 0.0
White; Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian; Some other race 269 0.0 493 0.0
White; Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race 32 0.0 74 0.0
White; Black or African American; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race 151 0.0 136 0.0
White; American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race 365 0.0 234 0.0
Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race 48 0.0
Population of six races: 278 0.0 216 0.0
White; Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race 278 0.0 216 0.0
Note: Racial subgroups with fewer than 100 members in the United States are excluded from this table.
Sources: Data for 2000: Unpublished estimates from the 2000 Census, produced by the Population Reference Bureau. Data for 2010: Table QT-P1: Age Groups and Sex. 2010 Census Summary File 2. Available on American Factfinder at: http://factfinder2.census.gov

 

Appendix 3: Number and Percentage of Children Under Age 18 with Asian or Hispanic Origins, by Country of Origin: 2010

Child Population Percent of Hispanic Population Percent of Total Population
Total Hispanic 17,130,891 100.0 23.7
Mexican 11,688,578 68.2 16.2
Puerto Rican 1,545,107 9.0 2.1
Cuban 377,398 2.2 0.5
Dominican 407,356 2.4 0.6
Central American (excludes Mexican) 1,014,529 5.9 1.4
Costa Rican 31,050 0.2 0.0
Guatemalan 266,235 1.6 0.4
Honduran 156,377 0.9 0.2
Nicaraguan 77,592 0.5 0.1
Panamanian 40,586 0.2 0.1
Salvadoran 433,560 2.5 0.6
South American 626,140 3.7 0.9
Argentinean 48,004 0.3 0.1
Bolivian 23,160 0.1 0.0
Chilean 28,087 0.2 0.0
Columbian 204,749 1.2 0.3
Ecuadorian 132,687 0.8 0.2
Paraguayan 5,278 0.0 0.0
Peruvian 116,452 0.7 0.2
Uraguayan 12,384 0.1 0.0
Venezuelan 50,005 0.3 0.1
Spaniard 162,585 0.9 0.2
Child Population Percent of Asian Population Percent of Total Population
Total Asian alone 3,251,636 100.0 4.5
Asian Indian alone 691,684 21.3 1.0
Chinese alone 664,807 20.4 0.9
Chinese (except Tiawanese) alone 632,162 19.4 0.9
Tiawanese alone 30,456 0.9 0.0
Filipino alone 500,003 15.4 0.7
Vietnamese alone 389,513 12.0 0.5
Korean alone 277,738 8.5 0.4
Pakistani alone 110,181 3.4 0.2
Hmong alone 103,404 3.2 0.1
Japanese alone 82,251 2.5 0.1
Cambodian alone 61,082 1.9 0.1
Laotian alone 46,556 1.4 0.1
Bangladeshi alone 37,926 1.2 0.1
Burmese alone 30,278 0.9 0.0
Thai alone 22,505 0.7 0.0
Indonesian alone 12,657 0.4 0.0
Nepalese alone 10,983 0.3 0.0
Sri Lankan alone 8,026 0.2 0.0
Bhutanese alone 4,061 0.1 0.0
Mongolian alone 3,829 0.1 0.0
Malaysian alone 2,587 0.1 0.0
Singaporean alone 399 0.0 0.0
Okanawan alone 153 0.0 0.0
More than one Asian origin 191,013 5.9 0.3
Note: Racial subgroups with fewer than 100 members in the United States are excluded from this table.
Sources: Table QT-P1: Age Groups and Sex. 2010 Census Summary File 2. Available on American Factfinder at: http://factfinder2.census.gov

Endnotes


[1]Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. (2002).
America’s Children: Key national indicators of well-being. Available
online at http://www.childstats.gov

[2]Blank, R. (2001). An overview of trends in social and economic well-being, by
race. Chapter 2 in America becoming: Racial trends and their consequences,
Volume 1.
Neil J. Smelser, William Julius Wilson, and Faith Mitchell,
Editors. Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.
Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Available online at http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9599.html

[3]Smelser, N., Wilson, W., Mitchell, F. (2001). Introduction. In America
becoming: Racial trends and their consequences, Volume 1.
Neil J. Smelser,
William Julius Wilson, and Faith Mitchell, Editors. Commission on Behavioral
and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
Available online at http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9599.html

[4]Office of Management and Budget. (1997). Revisions to the standards for the
classification of federal data on race and ethnicity. Available online at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg_1997standards

 

Suggested Citation:

Child Trends Databank. (2014). Racial and ethnic composition of the child population. Available at: https://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=racial-and-ethnic-composition-of-the-child-population

 

Last updated: July 2016

 

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