The Gaslamp area in downtown San Diego. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This post originally appeared in the Aug. 13 Morning Report. Get the Morning Report delivered to your inbox.

New Census data released Thursday shows that the U.S., California and San Diego County have gotten less White and more diverse in the past decade.

The data also shows that San Diego remains the eighth most populous city in the country and San Diego County is the fifth largest county, the Times of San Diego reports. The county’s total population grew by 6.6 percent from 3 million in 2010 to nearly 3.3 million in 2020.

You can explore all of the data here, but there are some things from NPR’s Census guru Hansi Lo Wang that you should keep in mind, particularly about what the Census data can’t tell us.

For example, many households didn’t answer the questions about race and Hispanic or Latino origin. Data about Latinos may be skewed – because of the way the Census frames its questions. People of Middle Eastern and North African origins will also be hidden in the data because there is no category for them – an issue San Diego’s large refugee population has been sounding the alarm about.

Now that you’ve taken that all into consideration, here is what the new Census data tells us about race and ethnicity in San Diego County. People who identify as only White made up 49.5 percent of the county’s total population in 2020. That is down from 64 percent in the 2010 Census. The populations of Asians and Latinos have grown significantly. The number of people who identified as Asian grew by 74,661 – a 22.2 percent increase. The number of people who identified as Hispanic or Latino grew by 128,281 – a 12.9 percent increase from 2010. Those who identified as Black or African American alone decreased from 2010 by 2,400 – a 1.5 percent decrease – and those who identified American Indian or Alaskan Native grew by 14,628 – a 55.5 percent increase. Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations decreased slightly by 51 people since 2010. Those who marked two or more races grew by 229.3 percent from 158,425 in 2010 to 521,692 in 2020. The Union-Tribune also did its own breakdown of the data.

But again, take this data with an understanding of the Census’ limitations. We can expect Census over- and undercount rates in 2022.

The data still isn’t fully ready for redistricting yet. It needs to be reformatted and California will be reallocating individuals in its state prisons to their last known address in the data.

Maya was Voice of San Diego’s Associate Editor of Civic Education. She reported on marginalized communities in San Diego and oversees Voice’s explanatory...

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