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Diplomacy in Action

New Portrait of America: First 2010 Census Briefs

Marc J. Perry, Chief, Population Distribution Branch, U.S. Census Bureau; and Roberto R. Ramirez, Chief, Ethnicity and Ancestry Statistics Branch, U.S. Census Bureau
Washington, DC
April 5, 2011

Date: 04/05/2011 Location: Washington, DC Description: Marc J. Perry, Population Distribution Branch, U.S. Census Bureau, briefs at the Washington Foreign Press Center on ''The U.S. Portrait of New America: First 2010 Census Briefs.'' - State Dept Image

 2:00 P.M. EDT

MODERATOR: Welcome to the Foreign Press Center. Today, we have a program which consists of two briefings. The first briefing will be with two officials from the Census who will give you the numbers of the latest census reports. And the second briefing, which will start at 3:15, will be with Dr. Frey, who is the demographer, who will give you an analysis of the numbers and what these numbers mean for U.S. politics, public policy, and even foreign affairs . We’ll have a coffee break, so you’re welcome to enjoy some drinks.

Let’s start the first briefing with Mark Perry and Roberto Ramirez from the Census Bureau.

MR. PERRY: Great, thanks very much. Good afternoon. What I’m going to be talking about with you for the next few minutes are some of the early findings from the 2010 Census with respect to population growth, population decline, and just basic redistribution of the population over the last ten years. I’m going to begin with a very quick recap of national level trends and then sort of drill down geographically from there, so looking at Census regions, states, metropolitan areas, and large cities.

So this past December, the Census Bureau announced that the April 1, 2010 population was 308.7 million, which was up 27.3 million or 9.7 percent increase from Census 2000. In this first chart here, we see the total population change in the United States for the last six decades. The blue bars represent numeric increase, and the black line shows the percentage increases for each of those decades.

You’ll notice that the 27.3 million population increase this decade was down somewhat from last decade. The gain for the 1990s was 32.7 million. Similarly, the percentage increase this decade, 9.7 percent, was also down somewhat from the 1990s when the gain was 13.2 percent. This was, in fact, the lowest percent gain since the 1930s.

Of course, population growth rates varied widely within the country. Looking at the four census regions, as you can see on this map, we see that the largest percentage increases this past decade were in the South, which was up just over 14 percent, and the West, which was up just under 14 percent. Together, those two regions contain nearly 85 percent of the country’s entire population growth this past decade.

Several other items that I’ll note on this map: This was the first decade in the last hundred years when the South grew faster than the West. Every other decade, the West was the fastest growing region. Also during this decade, the West surpassed the Midwest as the nation’s second-largest region.

Let’s now look at states. On all of the maps that I’m going to be showing today, green indicates growth, dark green indicates the fastest growth, pink and purple indicate population loss. The fastest growing states, all in green on this map, were all located in the West or the South. Most of the states in the Northeast and the Midwest parts of the country grew at slower rates. Michigan, which you’ll see as shaded pink in this map, had a small percentage decline in population, as did Puerto Rico.

The overall geographic patterns this decade were pretty similar to the 1990s. While most states did have slower growth this decade as compared to last, five states, as shown in this map outlined in the red circles, did have faster growth this decade: Hawaii, Maine, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The District of Colombia also grew this decade for the first time since the 1940s.

We’ll now turn to metropolitan statistical areas, which are basically sort of large cities and their immediate surrounding suburban territory where large numbers of people commute into the central cores. The metro population this decade grew by 10.8 percent, which was a bit faster than the national rate of 9.7 percent. The United States is increasingly metropolitan; a record 83.7 percent of the U.S. population now lives inside a metro area. That’s edging up a bit from 82.8 percent in 2000. Also, more than 90 percent of the country’s total population growth this decade occurred inside metro areas.

In this map, we see metro area population growth for the 1990s. Again, the areas shown in dark green are the ones that grew the fastest. Those in the – in sort of the light pink had population declines. During the 1990s, the fastest growing metro areas were in the South and West. Some of the metro areas in upstate New York, western Pennsylvania and other parts of the Midwest had small population declines. Overall metro areas grew faster last decade than this decade.

So here we see the pattern for 2000-2010 for metro areas. Fewer metro areas grew rapidly that is, at 30 percent or more – and a larger number of metro areas in the Northeast and the Midwest had population decline. No metro areas in the West region had population decline. So those five fastest growing metro areas this decade in terms of percentage increases were Palm Coast, Florida; Saint George, Utah; Las Vegas, Nevada; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Cape Coral, Florida. Those are all shown in the red circles on this map. Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Atlanta’s metro areas all gained over 1 million people over the last ten years.

We’ll now turn to counties and county equivalents – that is, parish – we call them parishes in Louisiana, municipios in Puerto Rico, et cetera. This map shows percent change in population by county for the 1990s. Dark green counties on the map grew by 50 percent or more, which was over four times the U.S. average, so that’s very fast growth. Counties shaded purple, which are mainly in the midsection of the country, had population declines of 10 percent or more. Metro area patterns are visible on this map. In Georgia, for instance, you can see in the northern part of the state a band of dark green counties. That’s the Atlanta metro area. Similarly, in Texas, each of those bands of, sort of, dark green counties, that would be Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio, and Houston’s metro areas.

This is what the pattern looked like this decade. You’ll notice far fewer dark green counties on the map. So two-thirds of all the counties in the United States grew this decade, but most of them grew at lower rates. I’m going to toggle back and forth a couple times between this map and the last one so you can sort of appreciate this decade’s patterns and compare it to last. So here we have this decade, there’s the 1990s, here’s 2000 to 2010, and again the 1990s. The big picture patterns are pretty similar, but there are some differences within each of the regions.

Among counties that started this decade with at least 10,000 people, two of them more than doubled in population over the decade. They’re both shown on this map with the red circles – Kendall County, Illinois, which is in Chicago’s western suburbs, and Pinal County, Arizona, which contains Phoenix’s southern suburbs, both more than doubled. Many of the country’s fastest growing counties this decade are, like these two counties, on the outer edges of metro areas. They’re the outskirts of the large cities containing fast-growing suburban and exurban territory. But as Kendall County, Illinois reminds us, not all of the rapid population growth in the country are in the South or the West. There are some pockets of rapid population growth even in the Midwest and the Northeast. So for example, in the Midwest, we see that Dallas County, Iowa, which is near De Moines; Hamilton County, Indiana, which is just north of Indianapolis; and Delaware County, Ohio, which is just north of Columbus, all grew by more than 50 percent this decade.

I’ll now compare and contrast a few other patterns for this decade and the last decade. Starting here, the big circle, this is the Great Plains region of the United States. Many of its more rural and thinly-populated counties had population declines of 10 percent or more in the 1990s, as you can see on this map. Moving ahead to 2000 to 2010, many of these same counties continue to lose population this decade, many declining by more than 10 percent again. I will note, however, that some parts of the Great Plains have seen modest population rebounds this decade. So here we see the western part of North Dakota circled in red here. North Dakota’s population grew by 30,000 this decade, which might not seem like much but it was 10 times the increase that it saw in the 1990s. Most of North Dakota’s population gains are within its several metro areas, but its population rebound this decade was also helped by increases in the western part of the state, and that’s related to some employment gains in the energy industries.

In the Midwest, we see a different story. So during the 1990s, as you can see in this map, most of the counties in the area had modest population gains. So they are shades of green. Then if we look ahead to 2000 to 2010, many of these same counties switched from population growth to population decline. Similarly, in the lower stretches of the Mississippi Valley, a number of counties had population decline in the 1990s. In some cases, these were decades-long declines in population. We move ahead to 2000 to 2010, those same counties, a very noticeable band of counties declined by 10 percent or more during this past decade.

In the West, the interior west, population growth during the 1990s was generally very rapid. Many counties grew by 50 percent or more during the decade. If we look ahead to 2000 to 2010, the region is still home to a lot of population growth. For instance, in the state of Utah, every single one of its counties grew this decade, but the percentage declines were generally more modest than they were in the 1990s.

Now we’ll turn to cities. This map shows the 20 largest cities in the United States in the year 2010. I’ll note here one of these cities, Louisville-Jefferson County, it’s new to the 20 largest cities. Its growth largely reflects the fact that the city of Louisville consolidated with surrounding Jefferson County during the decade.

Other cities that are new to the top 20 this decade include Fort Worth, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; and El Paso, Texas. Baltimore, Boston, Memphis, and Milwaukee all fell out of the list this decade. Twelve cities gained more than 100,000 people this decade. Eight of them were among the 20 largest on the previous slide. Others include Las Vegas, Nevada; North Las Vegas, Nevada; Bakersfield, California; and Raleigh, North Carolina. Biggest gains were in Fort Worth, Texas; Charlotte; San Antonio; and New York, all of which gained more than 150,000 people.

The cities with the largest percentage increases in their population this decade were also largely in the South and the West. Among cities that started the decade with 10,000 people or more, the ten fastest-growing cities are shown on red in this map. All of these rapidly growing cities are suburbs of larger cities which are shown as the black dots on this map. So for instance, we see that Lincoln, California is a rapidly growing suburb of Sacramento; Plainfield is a rapidly growing suburb of Chicago; Surprise, Arizona and Goodyear, Arizona are both booming suburbs of Phoenix; et cetera.

I’ll conclude my comments here with this map which shows the overall distribution of the population by county in the year 2010. The sizes of the diamonds on this map are proportional to each county’s population. The heavily-populated Boston to Washington corridor is very prominent on this map as are some of the more populous metro areas across the country. This map also reminds us how thinly populated much of the country actually remains. It’s possible to travel through the country’s midsection from Canada to Mexico without passing through any heavily-populated areas.

More information on population distribution and change can be found in our 2010 census brief that was released recently. My contact information is listed here, I’ll have business cards afterwards, and I thank you for your attention.

MR. RAMIREZ: Good afternoon. Let me adjust this mike real quick. I’m honored and excited to speak with you here today about national-level results on race and origin from the 2010 census. Many of the findings that we share with you today are part of our report, the Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin, which was released during last month’s press conference. I will walk with you today – walk with you through some of our major 2010 findings on current racial and ethnic population group distributions, and discuss growth at the national level and at lower levels of geography with a focus today on the Hispanic origin population. These data provide insights to our nation’s changing racial and ethnic diversity and illustrate a new portrait of America.

First, a quick overview of the 2010 Census questions on Hispanic origin and race. The U.S. Census Bureau collects race and Hispanic origin information following the guidance of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, which we call OMB, and their 1997 revisions to the standards for the classification of federal data on race and ethnicity. These federal standards mandate that race and Hispanic origin are separate and two distinct concepts, and that when collecting these data via self-identification, which our Census is, two separate questions must be used, which you can see here on the screen – questions 5 and 6 that were on the Census form.

In 1997, OMB issued revised standards which state that there are two minimum categories for data authenticity – Hispanic or Latino, and non-Hispanic or Latino. And there are also five minimum categories for data on race – white, black or African American, American Indian and Alaskan native, Asian, native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander. For respondents unable to identify with any of these five OMB categories, OMB approved the Census Bureau’s inclusion of a sixth category – some other race – which you can see at the bottom of question 6. The reporting of more than one race is accepted by marking more than one box.

The next slide shows an image of the 2010 Census question on Hispanic origin. For the purpose of this briefing, I will focus on this question only. The 2010 Census question on Hispanic origin identified five separate response categories and one area where respondents could write in a specific Hispanic origin group.

The first response category is intended for respondents who do not identify as Hispanic. The remaining response categories as shown in the slide – Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban, and another Hispanic – and write-in answers can be combined to create the OMB category of Hispanic origin. The first numbers all represent – are from the responses on the question on Hispanic origin I just – that I just illustrated. Throughout the presentation, I will use orange bars to denote the Hispanic origin data. The Hispanic population crossed the 50 million mark in 2010, and people of Hispanic origin represent 16.3 percent of the total U.S. population. Back in 2000, the Hispanic population numbered 35.3 million and Hispanics made up about 12.5 percent of the U.S. population.

Metadata users like yourself like to examine the race and Hispanic origin results side by side – recall two separate questions, two separate concepts – and this yields additional insights to explore. This approach provides mutually exclusive groups shown here as non-Hispanic race groups in the blue, in the blue bars, and as a total Hispanic group with people of any race in orange. In 2010, the two largest major race groups in the U.S. population were non-Hispanic white at 63.7 percent and non-Hispanic black at 12.2 percent, as shown in the blue bars. Additionally, the purple bar at the bottom of the graph represents people who reported their race and ethnicity as something other than non-Hispanic white alone, which we refer as the minority population for this report. In the 2010 Census, just over one third of the U.S. population was minority.

Another interesting 2010 Census finding I’d like to share with you pertains to the racial and ethnic makeup of people under the age of 18, or kids. When we examined the data for kids, we found the distributions are strikingly different than data for the adult population, people 18 years and over – older. Most striking is that nearly half – 46.5 percent of all kids – are a minority, the purple bar at the bottom of the graph. In 2010, 23.1 percent of kids were Hispanic; 14 percent were non-Hispanic black; 4.3 percent were non-Hispanic Asian, and 3.8 percent were non-Hispanic multiple race as shown in the blue bars in the graph. Looking at kids in the United States offer insights to the racial and ethnic composition of younger generations in this country and offer glimpses of what may – the future may bring.

This slide illustrates a growth of these populations over the last decade. Here you’ll see that the U.S. total population grew by 9.7 percent, as shown in the yellow bar, since 2000. And while all major groups increase in population size, they all grew at different rates. The vast majority of the growth in the total population came from increases in the minority population – purple bar way to the far right of the graph. The minority population grew by 28.8 percent over the decade, and in contrast, growth was relatively slow for the non-Hispanic white population at 1.2 percent.

Over the past decade, two groups, the Hispanic-origin population and the non-Hispanic Asian alone population experienced the fastest rates of growth at 43 percent. Of the 27.3 million people added to the total population since 2000, 25.1 million were minorities, and more than half of the growth – 15.2 out of the 27.3 – came from increases in the Hispanic-origin population.

The different patterns of growth for kids are even more striking. Overall, the total population under the age of 18 grew by 2.7 percent, shown here in the yellow bar. Kids who represented a minority group grew by 21.9 percent, shown in the purple bar. However, there are 9.8 percent decline in the number of kids who were non-Hispanic white. The number of non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native kids also declined. At the middle of the graph, you see a tremendous growth in the non-Hispanic Asian, 31.2; Hispanic, 38.8; and especially multiple race kids at 46.3 percent.

Okay. To provide even more insights to our national trends, we present county-level maps which illustrate the geographic patterns of race and ethnic reporting in the United States. This map shows the percent of the county that was minority. The dark blue represents counties that were 50 percent or more minority in 2010.

A band of high-proportion minority counties stretch from the Southwest through states lining the U.S.-Mexico border from Texas to California. The Hispanic population’s also concentrated along the Southwest part of the United States, particularly in California and Texas, where nearly half – 46.5 percent of Hispanic population – reside.

Counties with large minority populations were concentrated along the East Coast from Massachusetts to Florida and within counties in the Gulf Coast states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. New York, in the Northeast part of the United States, and in Florida in the Southeast, had the third and fourth-largest Hispanic populations in 2010, 3.4 million and 4.2 million respectively.

This map illustrates the percent change in the minority population between 2000 and 2010 for counties with a minority population of at least a thousand people in 2010. The blue areas illustrate increases and the orange areas illustrate decreases in the proportion of the county that was minority.

Minority population growth was concentrated in counties in the Pacific Northwest – in Washington state and Oregon – the Pacific Southwest, western Arizona, southern Nevada, and areas of the interior West. These same geographic areas also experienced high Hispanic population growth rates in 2010.

Counties in the Northeast, in Florida, and in clusters throughout the Southeastern states also had significant growth in their minority populations. Counties in southern Florida and counties along the East Coast from New York to South Carolina also have significant growth in Hispanic populations, particularly in the Southeastern part in the United States, such as counties in South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas, and down to central and southern Florida, as illustrated in this map.

In conclusion, we have learned that our nation’s population has become more racially and ethnically diverse over the past 10 years. In your press packets, you will find a copy of our report, The Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin. My co-author, Karen Humes, is with me here today, and we are happy to answer your questions on the report findings. We look forward to your questions. Thank you.

MODERATOR: If you have any questions, raise your hand, please wait for the mike, and please state your name and your media organizations. Any questions?

There’s one (inaudible).

QUESTION: Thank you. I am Haykaram Nahapetyan with the Armenian press. As I understood from these bars, between 1950 and 1960, the population of the United States was around 150 million, which is half of the number that is now, as far as I understood, but still the population growth was 28 million. And now having population over 300 million, the graph was only 27 million. What’s the reason of the decrease? I understood that one of the reasons was that majorities that say – the majority part are having less children because the minority kids are overwhelming, you mentioned. And what about the migration, also? Did the migration also decrease?

And just another quick question. As I mentioned, I am with the Armenian press. Do you have any statistics about the Armenian minority of the country? Thank you.

MR. PERRY: Excuse me. I’ll take the first couple of questions, and he’ll take the last.

The – is this – this is the slide you were talking about?


MR. PERRY: Yeah. The – yeah, those – that 1950-to-1960 – excuse me – that 28 percent increase, that’s the – essentially the American baby boom. There was very high fertility in the late 1940s through the early 1960s, so the – essentially a 28 percent population increase over one decade. That’s pretty substantial.

Since then, I mean, it’s a combination of – it’s essentially populations go up in two ways: having more births than deaths, and having more people move in than move out. And both of those have – essentially, with the 1990s, as an exception, both of those have been a little bit on a downward trend. And –

MR. RAMIREZ: Also answer the second question?

MR. PERRY: Sure.

MR. RAMIREZ: I believe you asked about the Armenian population? Well, we don’t have that data available from the actual Census 2010, but we do have it from the American Community Survey, which is our last – largest sample survey that we conduct on an annual basis.

Are you familiar with our American fact finder search engine on the website? There’s an excellent table up there where you’ll get this information. It’s from our ancestry question on that form. And I can tell you right now, sir, as of 2009, the Armenian population was right under half a million, 484,840. Okay? I’ll tell you the table number afterwards. Thank you.

QUESTION: John Zang with CTI TV of Taiwan. Can you elaborate a little bit on the growth of Asian population? It’s 30 – it’s like 31.2 percent increase over the last 10 years. What are the areas that we see the growth of the Asian population? Do you have anything on the Chinese population? Thank you.

MR. RAMIREZ: That’s an excellent question. We don’t have – well, we’re looking into that right now. We barely had enough time ourselves to look at all this data, but I could tell you briefly, for the Hispanic-origin population, looking at vital statistics data, we know – our national estimates program, not from the census itself, we know that what’s fueling the growth is primarily natural increase – births over deaths, about 60 percent versus 40 percent of international immigration. But for the Asian population, we have similar – kind of opposite results. The growth is being fueled mostly by immigration. But we don’t have all the specific numbers yet. Hopefully, we’ll have more information coming out later this year.

MR. PERRY: Chinese later in the year.

QUESTION: Hi, Xian Wen from People’s Daily. Do you have some figures about the so-called – the illegal immigrants in this country?

MR. RAMIREZ: We do not.

QUESTION: Ansgar Graw from German newspaper Die Welt. Could you explain the growth of the Hispanic population? How important was the immigration and how important is the birthrate?

MR. RAMIREZ: Well, we know that the Hispanic population’s a very young population compared to the U.S. total population, so you have a lot more women in childbearing ages, so they have – their fertility rates are higher.

As I described earlier, looking at our vital statistics data – national estimates data that’s separate from the Census – we know that this past decade, what’s mostly fueling the growth is births – native births versus immigration, although like I said before, a good component of the Hispanic population, about 40 percent, is fueled by immigration, so it is an important attribute of the total Hispanic growth, okay? But as I said, we’ll have more updated tables and information regarding the growth hopefully later this year as we get in – more into the data.

MODERATOR: Can we go to New York? New York?

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you for taking questions. Yoshiya Ogawa, Nikkei, Japan. I have two questions. One is regarding the white being the majorities in this country right now, but it is – I think it’s been said that by 2050, the white will become minorities. Given this latest Census, do you have any forecast that – when it will likely be that the white will be a minority in this country?

And then the other question is: Given this growing population of minorities under age 18, what would be the impact of the aging white and also the young minorities in these countries have on the social as well as economic impact on these countries? Thank you.

MS. HUMES: Good afternoon. My name is Karen Humes. As Roberto mentioned, I work with him at the Census Bureau. And regarding your first question, we do have population projections that the Census Bureau produces. And I believe right now, the population projections estimate that by the year, perhaps, 2042, that is when we may see a majority minority population.

And I know you also had a question about children under the age of 18 and how the Asian population would have – could affect – did you say social programs or things of that nature. If you are interested in that kind of impact analysis, I think perhaps maybe the next speaker, Bill Frey, would be able to provide more insights into that.

MODERATOR: Yeah, that’s what the next briefing is all about, so if that’s what your question is going to be, the impact, save it for the next briefer.

QUESTION: Hi, I’m Chris Wernicke from the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. A question about – to the extent that you are prepared for this economic development, per capita income and – there used to be huge differences on a regional basis, especially between the old South and the old North, almost connects still to the Civil War, and that’s actually the background of my question.

How is the – how could you – could you give us an overview how the differences between the old North and the old South that persisted for so many decades, how they have developed recently?

MR. PERRY: It’s an interesting question. I can – I’m – I can speak to a little bit of it sort of at a broad trend. I mean, essentially, the – with the growth of the South and the West in recent decades, which has primarily been fueled by migration from the Northeast and Midwestern states, we see a little bit of mitigation of some of the past – some of the very stark regional differences have moderated a bit in recent decades. So for instance, you look at educational attainment; there used to be very stark divides at a regional basis, and essentially with educated people from other regions sort of moving in. There’s been a little bit of a blurring of some of the real sharp differences.

Essentially, on the – on an economic front, you’ve seen very rapid economic growth in many of the Sunbelt states in recent decades. That’s also sort of helped to bridge some of the gap between, say, the old – the wealthier states in the Northeast and Midwest versus some of the other states, particularly in the South. So, I mean, there still are differences at – certainly at a state level. They are not as stark as they would have been several decades ago.

QUESTION: Thank you. Richard Latendresse with TVA, Canadian TV. Marc, I’d like to hear you a little more on the drop-off population in certain urban centers. You talked about Boston not being anymore in the 20 most --


QUESTION: -- populated urban centers. I know certain cities have even lost population. Can you tell me more about that?

MR. PERRY: Sure, and I should note here, by the way, that, for instance, Boston fell off the list of the top 20 largest cities, but Boston still grew. It grew 1 or 2 percent over the decade, so it did actually see some population growth, but just not enough to stay on the list of the top 20.

Among large cities, there were wide disparities in overall population growth. Sort of the big picture is if you grew in the 1990s, you tended to still grow in this last decade. If you declined in the 1990s, you probably still declined this decade. There were some differences. Washington, D.C., where we are, was a big departure from that. Washington dropped pretty sharply in the 1990s and it rebounded this decade by – I believe it was about 5 percent.

Certainly, some of the cities in the Midwest – obviously, we’ve heard about Detroit and Detroit’s 25 percent decline over the decade. There were some other cities that declined more than 10 percent. I believe Cleveland dropped about 17 percent. Youngstown, Gary, Chicago, a few other cities also had population declines.

The – one thing to build a little bit on what Roberto said a minute ago, I would caution people to remind themselves that population growth is due to a couple different factors. It’s not just migration; it’s also the relationship between births and deaths. And particularly in some cities where the population is older, natural decrease is a part of that. So when we say, for instance, that a city’s population dropped by 25,000, that doesn’t mean 25,000 people left. It means maybe some people left, there was also – there could have been more deaths than births. It was probably a multitude of factors.

QUESTION: Thank you. Raghubir Goyal, India Globe & Asia Today. My question is: I know you are talking about the population in the U.S. One, Asian population is growing in the U.S. and they are predicting in the next 10 or 20 years it might increase more than expectation.

Second, do you also follow population increase in other countries? Like now in India, Delhi will have 18 million people and India will have 1.7 billion people.

MR. PERRY: Yeah, I’ll let Roberto handle, I think, the first part of that, at least.

MR. RAMIREZ: We don’t have those numbers with us, but the Census Bureau does have an international department that actually looks and helps conduct censuses throughout the world. In fact, I think we were just there to help India, I believe, or some other countries recently. But unfortunately, we are only talking about the U.S. Census here today.

QUESTION: As far as the Asian population in the U.S.?

MR. RAMIREZ: Well, as I presented earlier, yes, the Asian population, the non-Hispanic Asian population, grew by 43 percent, which is one of the fastest along with the Hispanic population. So yes.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Hi, I’m Tom Vieregge with the Die Presse from Austria. I’m just wondering how many people refused to answer the questions in the Census. I never read any numbers of it. So how accurate are your numbers?

MR. RAMIREZ: Okay. Well, I’m going to give a very high-level response to that. Well, we actually had about a 74 percent response rate to our Census forms in 2010, which was comparable to Census 2000. Previously, between – previously, before 2000, they were – had been dropping, but – so we believe our data quality has been maintained and we actually have had response rates, so --

QUESTION: 74 percent and (inaudible) is a calculation, 200 percent?

MR. RAMIREZ: No, no, actually, what we do – the way we conduct our Census is that it’s a mail-out – mail-back form, right? The housing unit receives the form, the owner fills it out and sends it back. If you do not send your form, we actually send a Census enumerator about six times to your house. So we have – we go back and enumerate everybody.

MODERATOR: Any other questions?

QUESTION: So I guess you are working with assumption about the people who tend not to give the information for, like – I would guess as a layman in this that you have a calculation that people who live here as undocumented people, that they don’t respond that easily as, let’s say, a well-established white person. Do you – how do you make these estimates, or do you in any way correct it?

And a more general, very journalistic question: There’s talk about what real America means. After all these datas, what is real America? Where do I find it?

MR. RAMIREZ: Now, those are very good questions you’re asking, and unfortunately I will not be able to answer most of your questions. But I can tell you this: If you’ve seen our 2010 Census form, there’s only ten questions on there. It’s one of the shortest we’ve had in history. And by the way, we do not ask about place of birth or citizenship on it. So the answer to your questions about the undocumented population, in our Census, we include everybody. All residents as of April 1st, 2010 are counted.

MR. PERRY: I’ll take the second question, actually. It was – what was it? Where is the real America?


MR. PERRY: The great thing is it’s everywhere. I mean, if you want to look at the America of 30 or 40 years ago, there are some parts of the country that you can go to and you can squint and you will see that America. If you go to – some of the places I showed on my map, some of those rapidly growing suburbs, that’s a different – it’s a different side of the country. And we – I mean, we talk about it all the time, the diversity in this country, and it’s compelling. If you get out and you travel around, you see that the parts of the country, they – we’re all over the place in terms of how we look. And so for me, I mean, I would say essentially the real America is wherever you are, because it’s either a better representation of our past, or it looks pretty close to where we are right now, or it’s going to give you a good bet of what we’re going to look like 30 years from now.

QUESTION: A quick follow-up to an answer, Roberto, you just gave about – just – so 74 percent response rate and 308 million Americans. So, like, do you consider that – is there an extrapolation of the number of Americans out of the 26 percent that didn’t answer? That’s my question. Do you understand what I mean?

MR. RAMIREZ: Well, I believe you’re talking about for those housing units that did not initially respond to the Census, right?

QUESTION: What I mean is 74 percent equals 308 million people?

MR. RAMIREZ: No, no, no.


MR. RAMIREZ: No. The 308 million includes people who responded and did not respond, because then we went back and enumerated those housing units that did not respond. We physically sent a person, an enumerator, to the door to enumerate them.

QUESTION: So by extension, I understand that in the 308 million, you count the undocumented people living here too?

MR. RAMIREZ: We count everybody.

QUESTION: Okay, thank you.


MR. PERRY: Actually, excuse me. Can I also add to that? I don’t know how many of you have read the blog that the Census Bureau director does on a very regular basis on our website, but he has this pretty fantastic blog written by himself in his own voice. And he sort of – if I’m remembering correctly, around Census Day last year and when the returns started coming in, he did start addressing some of those issues about sort of the initial response rate, sort of how we went from there to essentially our final numbers, data quality indicators, a lot of that. There’s a lot more detail on that than sort of probably either of us can address right now. At, top right-hand corner, blogs.

MODERATOR: One last question.

QUESTION: Thanks. I’m Kanya D'Almeida from IPS. And both of you were talking about the fact that enumerators are sent only to housing units, so I’m wondering how you account for the transient population across the country. And if you do have that data, is it categorized based on residence and who has residence and who doesn’t and who actually has homes and who doesn’t?

MS. HUMES: Hi, good afternoon again. Actually, we actually conduct enumerations at what we call service-based facilities. So when it comes to the population who may be experiencing homelessness, we actually go and enumerate people at what we call emergency and transitional shelters for people experiencing homelessness. And we also go and enumerate people who may be gathering at places like soup kitchens or visiting mobile food vans. So in that particular way, we are able to try to do the best that we can to include in the Census people who don’t have traditional housing.

Also, the Census Bureau works with local officials to try to pre-identify different areas where there are known gatherings of people who do not have traditional housing. So it could be, for example, under a particular bridge or behind a particular warehouse where it’s known that you find these particular populations. So we do have a whole operation that’s put in place for the Census to try to make sure we capture that population. And we do have in our decennial tabulations that will be coming out from our Summary File 1 products, which will start coming out in June, where we will actually provide counts for people who we did enumerate in emergency and transitional shelters.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Our next briefing is going to be at 3:15, and Dr. Frey is going to do an analysis and he’ll answer some of the questions that you asked before. And we have coffee outside, so please come back at 3:15.

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