(WASHINGTON) -- The American landscape shifted dramatically compared with a decade ago, becoming more Hispanic, multi-racial and mobile with people moving toward the Sun Belt and away from cities to suburbs.
With the final local data from the 2010 Census set to be released Thursday, the country witnessed a significant change in its racial composition.
The expansion in the Hispanic or Latino population accounted for more than half of the growth across the country over the past decade, rising by more than half in three-quarters of the states released thus far.
In Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland and six other states, the Hispanic population more than doubled, and in the booming Southwest, Hispanics accounted for the greatest spike in growth. In the state of New Mexico, the Hispanic population eclipsed the white population for the first time, rising to make up more than 46 percent of the state's population compared with the 40 percent for whites. Hispanic populations in California and Texas inched closer to becoming their state's majority.
Some states would have lost a significant amount of their population without the boost in minority growth. Massachusetts grew by just over 198,000 people while its white population fell by 194,000. The 46 percent growth in both the Hispanic and Asian populations boosted its overall population and prevented the state from experiencing a negative growth rate.
A large portion of this minority growth is attributed to the rise of Hispanics in the youth population. In Nevada, 61 percent of children are minorities compared with 41 percent of adults.
In addition to this general uptick in minorities across the country, the locations where many Americans choose to live changed, specifically within the black population as more people identifying themselves as black or African American headed south.
Overall, the Sun Belt experienced some of the greatest population growth in the country. Nevada outpaced the country, expanding by more than 35 percent while Arizona, Utah and Texas followed with growth more than 20 percent.
The Census Bureau will announce the mean center of population later Thursday, but growth trends of the states released thus far suggest it might move slightly to the South. In 2000, it rested in Phelps County, Missouri, and in 1790, the year Washington, D.C. was named the nation's capital, the mean center of population sat in Kent County, Maryland. The mean center represents the middle of the nation's population distribution.
Along with this shift of population to the South, has come a shift from cities to suburbs. The suburbs of southern cities such as Atlanta, Dallas and Houston, saw record gains in overall populations. More than half of the cities with large black populations experienced declines in their populations because of an exodus to the suburbs.
As some cities recorded a loss in population to the suburbs, many cities experienced a racial rebalancing with steadily growing numbers of Hispanics and shifting numbers of whites and blacks. In Thursday's data, demographers expect Washington, D.C. and New York City to increase in the number of whites in their cities for the first time since the 1950s.
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