Number of "majority minority" U.S. cities grows: Brookings

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Posted: Aug 31, 2011 2:08 PM
Number of "majority minority" U.S. cities grows: Brookings

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The ethnic map of U.S. cities has drastically changed in the last decade, which could affect how major metropolitan areas provide social, educational and health services, according to a study released by the Brookings Institution.

Non-white people and Hispanics accounted for 98 percent of the population growth in metropolitan areas from 2000 to 2010, Brookings found in its analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census.

By 2010, minorities made up more than half the population in 22 of the 100 largest metro areas, it said. That compares with 14 areas in 2000 and five in 1990.

"Overall, most of these 'majority minority' metro areas are located in California and Texas, where Hispanics dominate the minority population," Brookings said.

The research group found that "diverse Hispanic and Asian communities who speak a variety of languages and represent different origins" are growing in many cities.

"When juxtaposed against the needs of long-standing black communities, especially in more segregated northern metropolitan areas, it is clear that 'one size fits all' approaches will no longer apply," Brookings said.

It also found that the black population remains "the dominant minority in many metropolitan areas" and that during the past decade, the group has shifted into new cities and has had an "accelerating return to the South."

All of the 100 largest cities showed declines in the white population from 2000 to 2010 and areas that gained large numbers of whites during the first decade of the new century were in the Mountain West and Southeast.

Those cities also attracted minorities, and only nine cities gained more new white residents than minority ones from 2000 to 2010. They included Provo, Utah, and Boise, Idaho, in the West, and Nashville, Tennessee, in the South.

When it comes to Hispanic and Asian populations, those groups tend to cluster in the same places. Nearly half of all Hispanics in the United States live in 10 cities.

"The Asian population, while much smaller than the Hispanic population, grew just as rapidly in the 2000s," Brookings said, noting that the numbers of Asian immigrants grew, especially those from India. "Yet, as a group, Asians are more concentrated in their major settlement areas than are Hispanics."

Brookings found that one-third of Asians live in three metropolitan areas -- Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

Politicians parse the decennial census while making decisions such as the boundaries of Congressional districts and school funding that can have huge impacts on local communities.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Dan Grebler)