UNITED STATES NEWS

Census shows 3.5 million Middle Eastern residents in US, Venezuelans fastest growing Hispanic group

Sep 20, 2023, 9:09 PM

The United States had 3.5 million residents who identify as Middle Eastern or North African, Venezuelans were the fastest-growing Hispanic group last decade and Chinese and Asian Indians were the two largest Asian groups, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The most detailed race and ethnicity data to date from the 2020 census was released Thursday more than three years after the once-a-decade head count, which determines political power, the distribution of $2.8 trillion in annual federal funding and holds up a mirror to how the U.S. has changed in a decade. The delay was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of a new method to protect the confidentiality of participants.

The Census Bureau says the 2020 census provided more details on the nation’s racial and ethnic groups than ever before, offering counts for about 1,550 racial, ethnic and tribal groups, although some tables aren’t available at smaller geographies for some groups because of the new confidentiality methods.

MIDDLE EASTERN OR NORTH AFRICAN POPULATION

The 2020 census was the first to allow respondents to identify themselves as coming from a Middle Eastern or North African country, otherwise known as MENA. While there was no separate MENA category in the 2020 census, respondents were encouraged to write-in their backgrounds, and if they wrote Jordanian or Moroccan, for instance, they could be classified as MENA. The data showed that more than 3.5 million people did so or in combination with another group.

The results come as the Biden administration contemplates updating the nation’s racial and ethnic categories for the first time since 1997. Right now, MENA residents are classified as white, but they would have their own category under the proposed changes. The process also would combine the race and ethnic origin questions into a single query, because some advocates say the current method of asking about race and separately about ethnic origin often confuses Hispanic respondents.

The bureau’s American Community Survey previously has asked a question about ancestry, from which MENA figures could be inferred, but the survey collects data only from 3.5 million households while census forms go to every U.S. household.

“This is a monumental change,” said Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab American Institute, a Washington-based advocacy group. “For us, it’s a wonderful indication of what is to come when we secure a MENA category.”

According to the 2020 census, the two largest groups of people who identified as MENA, either alone or in combination with another group, were Lebanese, with more than 685,000 people, and Iranian with more than 568,000 people. The states with the largest MENA populations were California, Michigan and New York.

HISPANIC POPULATION

Venezuelans were the fastest-growing Hispanic group. They nearly tripled their numbers, from more than 215,000 people to more than 605,000 people from 2010 to 2020, as they fled a political, economic and humanitarian crisis that has lasted the entirety of President Nicolás Maduro’s government.

“This shows, really, what is going on in Venezuela,” said Ernesto Ackerman, president of Independent Venezuelan American Citizens, an advocacy group in Miami. “There is nothing there and it’s getting worse.”

The Biden administration on Wednesday said it was granting temporary legal status to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who are already in the U.S. — quickly making them eligible to work.

Mexicans were, far and away, the largest Hispanic group in the U.S. with a population of 35.9 million people, followed by Puerto Ricans with 5.6 million people and Salvadorans at 2.3 million people.

WHITE POPULATION

Among the census respondents who identified as white, English was the most common detailed group written down on the form where people were asked to elaborate on their backgrounds, with 46.6 million people saying they were English alone or in any combination. They were followed by those identifying as German, with 45 million people, and Irish, with 38.6 million people.

BLACK OR AFRICAN AMERICAN POPULATION

Among the 46.9 million Black respondents, African American was the most common answer, either alone or combined with another group, at 24.5 million people, when asked about their backgrounds. That answer was followed in more or less a tie between Jamaican and Haitian at more than 1 million people each. Nigerians had the next highest responses, with more than 604,000 people, followed by Ethiopians at more than 325,000 people.

ASIAN POPULATION

More than 5.2 million people identified as Chinese, the largest group among respondents who were Asian alone or in combination with another group. They were followed by Asian Indians with 4.7 million people, Filipinos with 4.4 million people and the Vietnamese population at 2.2 million people. The Nepalese population was the fastest growing Asian group, growing from almost 52,000 people in 2010 to almost 206,000 people in 2020. California was home to the largest share of the six most common Asian groups in the U.S. New York had the second-largest share of Chinese residents, while Texas had the second-largest share of Asian Indian residents.

AMERICAN INDIAN AND ALASKA NATIVE POPULATION

For the American Indian and Alaska Native population in the U.S., Cherokee was the largest group alone or in combination with another group, with 1.5 million people. The next highest was Aztec with almost 584,000 respondents and Navajo Nation with more than 423,000. Tlingit was the largest Alaska Native alone or in any combination group, with more than 22,600 people.

SOME OTHER RACE

Almost 94% of the almost 28 million respondents who answered “some other race” for the race question were Hispanic, supporting previous research that showed Hispanics often are unsure how to answer the question with the current race categories. Some 1.9 million respondents who picked “some other race” identified as multiracial or multi-ethnic, and more than a half million said they were Brazilian, either alone or in combination with another group.

___

Follow Mike Schneider on X, formerly known as Twitter: @MikeSchneiderAP.

United States News

Nia Thomas stands in front of her Atlanta home on Feb. 14, 2024. Thomas was bailed out of jail by t...

Associated Press

Churches and nonprofits ensnared in Georgia push to restrict bail funds

ATLANTA (AP) — When she was behind bars in Georgia, Nia Thomas would use toothpaste to stick handwritten flyers to the wall and spread the word about community bail funds that could pay inmates’ bonds, no strings attached. “I was posting the phone numbers in everybody’s rooms, everybody’s dorms, every jail I went to,” Thomas […]

27 minutes ago

Associated Press

Alice Paul Tapper to publish picture book inspired by medical misdiagnosis

NEW YORK (AP) — The new book from bestselling author Alice Paul Tapper, daughter of CNN anchor Jake Tapper, was inspired by a near-fatal health emergency. “Use Your Voice,” with illustrations by Fanny Liem, is a fictionalized take on Alice’s hospitalization in 2021 after she experienced intense stomach pain, chills and vomiting — what turned […]

48 minutes ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Wall Street dips lower as markets wait for Nvidia earrnings, Fed meeting minutes

Wall Street inched lower early Wednesday while markets waited for Nvidia’s quarterly earnings release, which could serve as a litmus test for the AI chip revolution. Futures for the S&P 500 dipped 0.3% before the bell and futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2%. Nvidia’s report, which will come out later in the […]

9 hours ago

FILE - An orca swims past a recreational boat sailing just offshore in the Salish Sea in the San Ju...

Associated Press

To keep whales safe, Coast Guard launches boat alert system in Seattle

SEATTLE (AP) — Photographer Matt McDonald had lived on Puget Sound for years, but had never seen a whale, so he was elated when he spotted a giant marine mammal just off Seattle’s waterfront one evening. The excitement was short-lived. As McDonald tracked the whale in his camera’s viewfinder, a state ferry that dwarfed the […]

10 hours ago

FILE - From left, Glenn Horowitz, Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski appear in criminal court after...

Associated Press

An unusual criminal case over handwritten lyrics to ‘Hotel California’ goes to trial Wednesday

NEW YORK (AP) — A curious criminal case involving handwritten lyrics to the classic rock megahit “Hotel California” and other Eagles favorites is going to trial in a New York courtroom, with opening statements set for Wednesday. The three defendants, all well-established in the collectibles world, are accused of scheming to thwart Eagles co-founder Don […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

Family friend of Texas girl Audrii Cunningham facing charges in 11-year-old’s death, prosecutor says

A family friend of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham was in jail Wednesday as prosecutors say they plan to charge him in the girl’s death after her body was found in a river near her rural Texas home. Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons said the body of the young girl — who went missing last week — […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

FanDuel

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]

Census shows 3.5 million Middle Eastern residents in US, Venezuelans fastest growing Hispanic group