Individuals who classify themselves as multiracial are the fastest growing demographic group in the U.S. According to the latest census estimates, the number of multiracial people increased 3.4 percent last year to around 5.2 million. Americans were allowed to identify themselves by more than one race on the census for the first time in 2000 and their numbers jumped 33 percent. This group now makes up 5 percent of the minority population, but it’s suspected that millions more have been uncounted. Experts attribute the rise to greater acceptance and less immigration.Tiger Woods and President Barack Obama, who describes himself as a “mutt,” are high-profile individuals who experts think have made more people self-identify as multiracial. Demographers also cite a decrease in immigration of Hispanics and Asians as to why multiracial people are the fastest growing demographic.
According to population figures as of July 2008, California, Texas, New York, and Florida had the most multiracial people because of higher numbers of second- and later-generation immigrants who are more likely to marry someone of a different race.
Hawaii, however, has the greatest percentage of multiracial people, about 1 in 5 residents. Alaska and Oklahoma are at about 4 percent. And Utah had the greatest growth rate in 2008 compared with the previous year — a possible indication that this mostly white state is becoming more open.
Interracial marriages nationwide have also increased since 2000, tripling to 4.3 million. About 1 in 13 marriages are interracial, with most being a combination of white-Latino, white-American Indian, and white-Asian.
More than 50 percent of the multiracial population is under the age of 20, which is a further indication that interracial marriage is becoming less taboo.
Under new federal rules, K-12 schools will allow students for the first time to indicate whether they are “two or more races” in their official record. This move is expected to change how test scores are categorized, which in turn could alter race disparities and educational funding. [DenverPost.com via AP]
I’m not sure what the affect of allowing students to identify officially with more than one race will have, but history has taught us that what may seem like a good thing in the beginning could prove to detrimental in the long run. I’d hate for schools to lose funding because their students choose to identify one way or the other.