Census: More people identify as mixed race
The census map shows America's multirace population as a percentage of county populations.
September 27th, 2012
02:35 PM ET

Census: More people identify as mixed race

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) - Before 2000, you had to pick one: White, black, Asian, American Indian, Alaska Native or some other race. But now you can tick multiple boxes on the U.S. Census Bureau's race category.

The 2010 census provided the first glimpse of trends in multirace reporting since it was the second time such an option was available. And what it shows is that people who say they are a mix of races grew by a larger percentage than people who reported a single race, according to the data released Thursday.

People who reported a background of mixed race grew by 32% to 9 million between 2000 and 2010. In comparison, single-race population increased 9.2%.

In all, the U.S. population increased by 9.7% since 2000. Many multiple-race groups increased by 50% or more.

But that does not necessarily mean there are many more children of interracial couples.

Sociologist Kris Marsh said that it could be that many people who checked only one box in 2000 have decided to celebrate their diversity and checked multiple boxes this go-around. Say you are white but you know that you have some Asian blood in you. Or take the example of Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. She says she has Native American ancestry and could have ticked two boxes in the census.

Elizabeth Warren: Is she, or isn’t she Native American?

Multiple-race category celebrates American diversity. But it could have consequences, said Marsh of the Maryland Population Research Center.

It could lower the number of people who are counted solely as African-American or Native American, said Marsh,  and take away from political representation for those minority groups.

"I don't want to discount this (multiracial) group," she said. "But I do think there are some challenges."

The largest multirace groups in the 2010 census were white and black (1.8 million); white and “some other race” (1.7 million); white and Asian (1.6 million); and white and American Indian and Alaska Native (1.4 million).

The white and some other race responses mainly reflect people who reported white with a Hispanic origin. Hispanic or Latino is an ethnic, not racial, category in the census.

Of the 50 million people who self-identify as Latinos, more than 18 million checked the some other race box in the 2010 Census, up from 14.9 million in 2000.

The multirace groups that grew the most were the white and black population (by 134% to more than 1 million people) and the white and Asian population (by 87% to about 750,000).

The census showed 16 states where the people who reported more than one race exceeded 200,000 or more. The top three were California, Texas and New York. Each of those states reported a multiple-race population of 500,000 people or more.

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Filed under: Census • Ethnicity • Race • Who we are
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. H

    asian + latino nice too

    black: best skin tone, ass and lips

    white: best nose

    asain: best eyes and legs

    hispanics: best hair

    September 27, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moncada

      That is your opinion; my opinion:

      Whites have the best skin tones, hair and features.

      Blacks have the behind, only.

      Asians, by statistics, are the smartest.

      Hispanics have no specific "look."

      September 27, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • jbcal

        I guess those women who are having their lips injected never got the memo about your opinion.

        September 28, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
      • Bryan

        yeah, whites have the best skin tone...... Whites don't even believe that because if you did, you wouldn't be running to tanning beds and beaches trying to darken your skin like blacks and hispanics. Every summer its the same thing. Some white person will come up and say "I'm almost as dark as you...heh heh".

        September 28, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
      • Maria

        Is that why Whites Tan to look like hispanics and blacks which both have the lovely skin tones!!

        October 2, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter Trainor

      Most Hispanics I know are WHITE!! They also come in blacks, Asians and Jews and plenty of brown Native American Indians.

      September 28, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. Andrew

    I'm sure many people don't realize the extent to how mixed their ethnicity is. I'm sure in reality these numbers are much higher.

    September 27, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • alan

      I agree. But when people self-identify in this manner (on a survey) they may say that if their own parents didn't call themselves mixed race it means that they aren't either.

      September 28, 2012 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. antonio

    Hey Smart Black Guy, What are you talking about? Do you care to elaborate? If you're really smart like your name implies explain yourself. You should stop generalizing people. If you even know what that means.

    September 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Steven Bradley

    Gee, that's odd, I prefer the term multi-ethnic since genetically there is only one race of human. I am an old mulatto and have always believed we would take over America eventually. Statistical evidence is abundant; a new world is coming soon, maybe even before I move along.

    September 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Marcus

    Its not race, it is ethinicity, the race is human.

    September 27, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Professor Smith

      Actually, it is race. Human is a species. Learn your stuff.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • Adam

        Err... Professor??? ...the previously held concept of three races of humans has been dismissed by the academic community for many years... there is only one race and one (living) species (as proven by DNA).

        September 27, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • fyre

        Nope, the professor is correct. As much as I hate mixing genetics and race due the controversy and ethical issues, not all populations of humans have the same hominid ancestry (ie Neanderthal ancestry is limited to Europeans, Denisovan ancestry limited to Australian aborigines). Even though we've all got different ancestry, we're all human beings, though.

        September 28, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. Clark Nova

    Scientists everywhere have reject the theory of race for decades. It's taking forever for the US Government to get its thinking out of the 19th century. Legal recognition of the existence of 'races' is the surest way to enable the practice of racism.

    September 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Christina

    Perhaps it is time to eliminate the check boxes and begin identifying ourselves as American.

    September 27, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Well said. I've go even further and saw we should eliminate all race based aid as well.

      September 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One


        Edit button please, CNN.

        September 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • fiftyfive55

        quit being logical and telling the truth,it annoys some folks

        September 28, 2012 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
      • Carlos

        Yea race based aid isn't needed, it's not like a large percentage of Blacks live in ghettos. People who argue for this do it because they hate to see their tax money helping black people or people of other races than their own, or they want to keep other races left behind so that white can always dominate. Hate to break it to you but America will one day no longer be white. I would bet that in the south parts of America will attempt to secede and form their own white nation through violent means. White people will be the downfall of this country because alot of them just refuse to unite with their fellow man, they think they're the perfect race.

        September 28, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Jules

      Um, the census doesn't just track Americans. It tracks everyone living here.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |