Immigration drove white, Asian population growth in 2022

New York: Without immigration, the white population in the U.S. would have declined last year.

Immigration also propelled the expansion of the Asian population, which was the fastest-growing race or ethnic group last year in the U.S., while births outpacing deaths helped propel growth in Hispanic, Black, tribal and Hawaiian populations.

Population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau show what drove changes in different race, ethnic and age groups last year, as well as since the start of COVID-19’s spread in the U.S. in April 2020. The country had grown to 333.2 million people by the middle of last year, a 0.4% increase over the previous year, according to the 2022 population estimates.

For white residents in the U.S., immigration drove the expansion. Without it, the white population, including those who identify as more than one race, would have dropped last year by more than 85,000 people instead of growing meagerly by more than 388,000 residents, or 0.1%.

The data released Thursday speak to the complexity of the nation’s ever-shifting population patterns and reinforce a level of nuance not always reflected amid the political debate over immigration. “Immigrant and refugee communities bring talent, culture and a set of skills that are needed in our community,” said Arrey Obenson, president and CEO of the International Institute of St. Louis, which helps newcomers adapt to life in the U.S.

Since the start of the pandemic in April 2020, the white population has grown by 391,000 people, all of it driven by immigration.

The United States last year had 260.5 million people who identified as white, including those who identify as more than one race. Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, had the biggest jump in the white population of any county, gaining more than 35,000 new white residents last year. Arizona’s largest county also had the biggest gain in the overall population of any U.S. county, with a jump in 2022 of almost 57,000 new residents due to domestic migration.

Immigration also drove Asian growth last year, accounting for two-thirds of the 577,000-person increase in people who identify as Asian, including those who identify with more than one race. That 2.4% bump was the largest of any race or ethnic group, and there were 24.6 million Asians in the U.S. last year.

King County, Washington — home to Seattle — added almost 21,500 Asian residents, the most of any U.S. county last year.

The Hispanic population in the U.S. grew by more than 1 million people last year, the biggest jump in pure numbers of any race or ethnic group. Two-thirds of that expansion was driven by natural increase, or births outpacing deaths. More than 63.3 million people identified as Hispanic last year, a 1.7% increase over the previous year.

The biggest Hispanic growth in pure numbers was in Harris County, Texas, home to Houston, which added almost 35,000 Latinos last year.

Image courtesy of The Hill

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