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From Home Furnishing Business

Diversity in America – Part I: Hispanics and Asians Make Significant Population Gains

Editor’s Note: The January issue of HFB introduced the Diversity topic. In this issue Statistically Speaking offers as Part 1 an in-depth profile of current America. Part 2, in the March issue will focus on how these cultural shifts have impacted the population geographically.

Since the turn of the century, diversity in America has continued to grow – impacting the political climate, education and the economy. One common thread in the home furnishings industry is that all Americans need and purchase home furnishings, regardless of ethnicity. However, understanding the components of diversity adds perspective to our retail landscape.

In the timeframe of six years 2010 to 2016, the U.S. resident population grew 4.7 percent – from 281.4 million to 323.1 million. As shown in Table A, all races grew in number but only White (Non Hispanics) have lost share of the population.

Census Bureau Race Classifications

White (Non Hispanic) encompasses Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Per the Census Bureau classification, people from the Middle East are considered White. There are an estimated 3.6 million Arab-Americans in the United States, but that doesnt include other ethnic groups that could put the total Middle Eastern and North African population above 10 million. According to the Census Bureaus American Community Survey about one million people from the Middle Eastern region are first-generation immigrants to the United States.

White Hispanics are not considered a race by the U.S. Census Bureau but an ethnicity. For the purpose for this report, White Hispanics have been broken out into its own classification.

Asians include persons from the Far East, South Asia, and Asian Indian.

Other race or ethnic classifications are Black/African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian Island or Other Pacific Island, and 2 or More Races.

Population Growth by Race or Ethnic Group

Whites (Non Hispanic) represent 61.1 percent of the population in 2016, down from 69.1 percent in 2000 and 63.9 percent in 2010. Meanwhile, White Hispanics already surpassed Blacks and African Americans in number by 2010 as the second largest ethnic group. In 2016 White Hispanics grew to 15.6 percent of the population compared to 13.3 percent for Blacks and African Americans. Asians, the fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S., grew from 3.6 percent to 5.7 percent of the population in 2016 (Table B).

The U.S. added 14.4 million additional residents between 2010 and 2016. By far, White Hispanics added the most at 5.9 million followed by Asians at 3.2 million, and Black/African Americans at 2.7 million.  Of note is that while mixed-race persons represent only 2.6 percent of the U.S. population, in the six-year period they grew by an additional 1.5 million persons. Meanwhile, Whites (Non Hispanic) added just 643,174 residents to the total population in six years (Table C).

As shown in Table D, the contribution to population growth 2010 and 2016 came primarily from the White Hispanics, 41.2 percent of the total. But the one-year growth rates in 2010 to 2011 and more recently 2015 to 2016 illustrate the growing contribution of Asians to the population who represented 14.8 percent of the growth 2010 to 2011 but jumped to 23.9 percent 2015 to 2016.

The 14.4 million new residents to the U.S. population 2010 to 2016 account for an overall 4.7 percent growth as shown in Table E. Persons of 2 or more races was the fastest growing category increasing 21.4 percent to a total of 8.5 million residents or 2.6 percent of the population. Asians, at only 5.7 percent of the population in 2016, increased 20.8 percent in the six-year period and White Hispanics grew 13.3 percent. Whites (Non Hispanic) and Blacks/African Americans experienced the lowest growth at 0.3 percent and 6.8 percent respectively.

Natural Increase vs. Foreign Immigration

A resident population grows by two methods: (1) Natural Increase, which is the net result of births minus deaths, and (2) Net Foreign Immigration. Of the 14.4 million additional residents over the six-year period since 2010, 59.3 percent of the growth can be attributed to Natural Increase and 40.7 percent to Foreign Immigration (Table F).

Natural Increase

For the White (Non Hispanic) population, Natural Increase (births minus deaths) has been negative since the early 2000s meaning more have died than were born. Between 2010 and 2016, Whites (Non Hispanic) experienced a net natural decrease of 397,697 residents. As the aging Baby Boomers continue to die in record numbers and younger Millennials delay childbirth, this decline is expected to escalate.

By far, the much younger White Hispanic population has the greatest net result of births minus deaths accounting for over half of the Natural Increase of the total population occurring between 2010 and 2016 (Table G).

For the six-year period, the Birth to Death Ratio (the number of births per death) totaled 1.5 for the entire United States. Both younger ethnic groups in the U.S., the White Hispanic population and Asian population have much higher rates of births versus deaths – 5.8 and 3.4 in a six-year period (Table H).

The impact of the aging White (Non Hispanic) population is shown in Table I. Whites still represent 61 percent of the population and 50.1 percent of all births. However numbers of deaths are overwhelming among Whites (Non Hispanic) totaling 78.8 percent of all deaths 2010 to 2016. This negative Natural Increase trend among Whites (Non Hispanic) is expected to continue for years to come. Meanwhile, the younger White Hispanic group 2010 to 2016 represented 22 percent of all births, but only 5.7 percent of deaths.

Net Foreign Immigration

Net Foreign or International Immigration accounts for 40 percent of the population increase 2010 to 2016 growing the U.S. population by 2 percent. During that time foreign immigrants added an additional 5.8 million people over six years.  In 2016 alone the U.S. experienced a Net Foreign Immigration of almost one million (999,163 persons) compared to 703,824 in 2011.

White Hispanics represented the largest chunk of immigration in the early part of this decade representing 46.4 percent all Net Foreign Immigration in 2011. However, by 2016 that number had fallen significantly to 24.1 percent. 

The biggest growth in Net Foreign Immigration has come from Asians who represented 24.3 percent of all immigrants in 2011 but 39.9 percent in 2016. In the six-year period, 2.3 million Asians immigrated to the U.S. compared to 1.3 million White Hispanics, 1 million Whites (Non Hispanic) and 851,355 Blacks. Table J shows the percentages.

For furniture and home furnishings retailers, the broadening ethnic diversity of U.S. households presents unique opportunities for products that address the cultural tastes and preferences of these new residents.

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