U.S. Population Grew Larger, Older, More Diverse in Past Decade

By: - December 15, 2020 12:00 am

Posters encourage participation in the 2020 census in Seattle. States and cities are on both sides of a battle over Trump administration plans to exclude immigrants living in the country illegally from congressional representation. Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Dec. 17 to correct the median age for the nation in 2010, which was 37.2, not 27.2

The U.S. population grew to about 332.6 million people in 2020, a 7.7% increase from 2010, and trended older and more diverse, the U.S. Census Bureau said today.

The estimates, based on data such as birth and Medicare records, come in advance of actual counts from the 2020 census, which will be released at a still-unspecified time after pandemic-related delays. The numbers released today barely reflect the effects of the pandemic because they are based on data from April 1, 2020.

The Black population was estimated at 15.1%, up from 14% in 2010. A Hispanic population estimate was released only for people under 30 years old, because of the limitations of older birth records used for other estimates.

The bureau estimated the Hispanic population at 24.6% up to age 29; Hispanics comprised 46.9% of immigrants in that age range.

The median age for the nation was estimated at 38.5, up from 37.2 in 2010.

The overall increase was “what we would expect over 10 years,” and will be used to help gauge the quality of this year’s census count, said Eric Jensen, a senior technical expert for demographic analysis for the bureau.

For instance, the analysis of 2010 data indicated a large undercount of small children and led to more outreach efforts in the 2020 count, he said.

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Tim Henderson
Tim Henderson

Tim Henderson covers demographics for Stateline. He has been a reporter at the Miami Herald, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Journal News.