Fast Facts: Virginia’s Growing Diversity
What We Can Learn from Virginia’s Demographic Changes
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Recent U.S. Census Bureau data suggest that by 2050, our country will no longer have a clear racial or ethnic majority. To plan for this time, we must adopt a progressive agenda that will reflect and best include our richly diverse population. But in order to understand how demographic change will affect our politics and policy, we need to learn from the places that are in the vanguard of our demographic transition.
Virginia is a prime example of such a place. Consider the following statistics:
- Residents of color. Residents of color account for three of every four new Virginia residents (701,696 people or 76 percent) since 2000. That figure dwarfs the number of new white residents (220,813 people or 24 percent) in the same period.
- Foreign born. One in every 10 residents is foreign born, with the majority hailing from Asia (40 percent) or Latin America (36 percent). In the past decade alone, the state’s Asian residents grew by 220,000 and its Latino population grew by 300,000. There are almost 100 languages other than English spoken in homes across Virginia, with Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog among the most popular languages.
- Demographic trends. In the past three years, 12 percent of Virginia’s births were Hispanic children while 19 percent were African American and 6 percent were Asian American. The majority of the under-18 population were people of color in 22 localities in 2000, rising to 32 localities in 2010.
By studying Virginia’s ongoing changes and what they mean for different segments of the population, we can be better prepared to ensure the unprecedented growth of communities of color also yields future prosperity. In looking at trends across the state, we can work to close racial and ethnic disparities across the board with innovative policies that work for all.
To learn more, please see:
- Progress 2050: New Ideas for a Diverse America by Vanessa Cárdenas, Julie Ajinkya and Daniella Gibbs Léger
- Toward 2050 in America: A Roundtable Report on the Old Dominion’s Increasing Diversity by Julie Ajinkya and Sam Fulwood
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