Most of the media commentary that followed last week's release of Census 2020 data focused on trends in the racial demographics of the country and the country's growing rural-urban divide.
On August 12, the U.S. Census updated population counts released in April 2021 that will lay the groundwork of the redistricting process that redraws the political maps of the United States every ten years.
As noted in numerous previous articles on Planetizen, the Census 2020 process was troubled from the outset by seemingly deliberate mismanagement by the Trump administration, legal controversies that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and the public health concerns swirling around Covid-19. Now, on the precipice of a redistricting process that is sure to spark more legal and political controversies, the new Census data has produced a number of narratives likely to add fuel to the fire of the culture wars around the United States.
The dominant narratives from the August data drop include shrinking white and rural populations (a Planetizen blog post by Michael Lewyn detailed the urban growth documented in the Census data) and minorities as the driver of population growth in the country. These themes played out both in national stories and local stories, as shown in most of the links below. Local news also covered total population figures, with one city, Detroit, threatening to challenge the findings of the troubled census process.
To make some narratives of your, own the IPUMS National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) is offering six 2020 redistricting data tables at any geographic level from the whole nation, down to the Census block level. 2020 NHGIS shapefiles are also coming soon. (NHGIS provides free online access to summary statistics and GIS files for U.S. censuses and other nationwide surveys.)
Urban Versus Rural
- Shrinking Rural America Faces State Power Struggle (Pew, August 10, 2021)
- Vast Stretches of America Are Shrinking. Almost All of Them Voted for Trump. (Slate, August 14, 2021)
Racial Demographic Shift
- All population growth in U.S. driven by minorities, upcoming census data likely to reveal (The Washington Post, August 10, 2021)
- America's white population expected to shrink (Axios, August 11, 2021)
- How the racial makeup of where you live has changed since 1990 (The Washington Post, August 13, 2021)
- New 2020 census results show increased diversity countering decade-long declines in America’s white and youth populations (Brookings, August 13, 2021)
- Are You White? It May Depend on How You’re Asked (Bloomberg, August 17, 2021)
- Five Census Findings You May Have Missed (The New York Times, August 17, 2021)
- The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, was the fastest-growing metro area over the last decade. (The New York Times, August 12, 2021)
- Detroit to challenge 2020 census findings which show 10.5% population decline (Crain's Detroit Business, August 12, 2021)
- New York City adds 629,000 people, defying predictions of its decline. (The New York Times, August 12, 2021)
- Census: Columbus grows as population in rural Ohio shrinks (Associated Press, August 12, 2021)
- Boston is losing Black population, new census data show, even as it could soon elect it first Black mayor (The Boston Globe, August 13, 2021)
- State of change: Minorities now driving more of Utah's population growth than white people (DeseretNews, August 15, 2021)
- Census: Asheville grows; its Black population shrinks (Citizen Times, August 16, 2021)
- Nashville area's population climbs to nearly 2M people (Mufreesboro Post, August 16, 2021)
- Colorado sixth fastest growing state in U.S., as some rural areas see population declines (The Tribune, August 16, 2021)
- Breaking Down the Data Drop from the Census (MetroNews, August 16, 2021)
- California population grew 6% in the 2010s, Census says (OC Register, August 16, 2021)
- 2020 Census: Total population of every Alabama city, town and county (AL.com, August 16, 2021)
- Census Reveals Growing Diversity In Washington Region, Increasing White Population In D.C. (DCist, August 17, 2021)
- Census growth means more funding, enhanced planning for places like Cincinnati (Spectrum News 1, August 17, 2021)
- 2020 census numbers show where our region is growing and where it isn’t (Greater Greater Washington, August 18, 2021)
As always, when it comes to Census news, a hat tip is owed to the All Things Census Twitter feed managed by D'Vera Cohn, senior writer and editor at the Pew Research Center.
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