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Race and Ethnicity Overall

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Race and Ethnicity Overall

Key Facts Race and Ethnicity

A big story of the region is the majority-minority transition.  There will soon be a day when the majority of people will belong to a minority group (any group other than non-Hispanic White alone).  Much of this is attributed to the sizable increases in the number of Hispanics and Asians in the region.

The following charts show the region's race, ethnic, and minority breakdown.  Hispanic and Latino are displayed separately from race because Hispanic and Latino is an ethnic classification and not a race classification.  Hispanic and Latino persons can be of any race.  Minorities are defined as anyone other than a person self-identifying as white non-Hispanic.

Comparative charts that compare 2010 to 2020 will be added real soon.  Check back regularly for additional analysis of the 2020 Census results! 

Decennial Census 

  • Northern Virginia was not majority-minority in 2010 but is now majority-minority in 2020. 

    • ​In 2000, Northern Virginia's minority population was 34.6%, which was fairly similar to Virginia and the United States, with the difference being 4 or 5 percentage points. In 2020, this population was 52.8%.

    • Northern Virginia's rate of increase of the minority population is much greater than the United States and Virginia. The region is now more than 10 percentage points higher than Virginia and the United States.

    • From 2000 to 2010, 88 percent of the net population increase in Northern Virginia came from increases in minorities. From 2010 to 2020, it was 110 percent, meaning that minorities increased while non-minorities decreased in population in the region.

  • Northern Virginia's Hispanic/Latino population share increased from 16.3% to 18.8% from 2010 to 2020.  The percentage change in Hispanics during this same period was 32%.

  • The Multiracial population has changed considerably since 2010 on a regional and national scale.

    • According to the Census Bureau, “The observed changes in the Multiracial population could be attributed to a number of factors, including demographic change since 2010. But we expect they were largely due to the improvements to the design of the two separate questions for race and ethnicity, data processing, and coding, which enabled a more thorough and accurate depiction of how people prefer to self-identify.”  Therefore, comparisons of changes in race between 2010 and 2020 should be viewed with caution. 

    • Nationally, it was measured at 9 million people in 2010 and is now 33.8 million people in 2020, a 276% increase.

    • Nationally, the multi-racial share of the population went from 2.9% in 2010 to 10.2% in 2020.

    • Regionally, it was measured at 93,800 people in 2010 and is now 292,800 people in 2020, a 212% increase.

    • Regionally, the multi-racial share of the population went from 4.2% in 2010 to 11.5% in 2020.


Decennial Census Data

The Decennial Census is based on a survey of the entire population.  It is conducted once a decade.  The 2020 Decennial Census population was released on August 12, 2021.  The Decennial Census regional, county, and city population data is shown in the interactive charts that follow. 

Annual Estimates Data

Annual estimates of population paint a portrait of the annual growth patterns in the towns of Northern Virginia.  Annual estimates are not based on a full census of the population.  Rather they are estimates based on a compilation of multiple administrative data pieces such as birth records and residential building permits.  The estimates are benchmarked to the Decennial Census.  These latest estimates are benchmarked to the 2010 Decennial Census.  The 2020 Decennial Census data was released on August 12, 2021.  Using the results of the 2020 Decennial Census, the annual estimates for 2010 to 2019 shown below will be adjusted later on by the U.S. Census Bureau sometime in 2022.  Until the data is adjusted, the following data will not correspond exactly with the results of the 2020 Census, but the estimates are relatively close.