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U.S. child population decreasing, becoming more diverse

November 1, 2021

The number of children in the U.S. has decreased over the past 10 years, and the child population has become more diverse, according to statistics recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau. 

An estimated 77 million children under age 19 live in the United States, according to the 2020 census. From 2000-’10, the U.S. child population grew by 2.1 million, but since 2010, there has been a decrease of 1.6 million children.

The 2020 census documents substantial shifts between 2000 and 2020 in where children live in the U.S. Overall, the number of children living in the Northeast and Midwest decreased, while the number in the South and West increased.

Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Georgia are especially noteworthy. These are states with large populations that also had among the largest relative increases in the number of children. Since 2000, the number of children in Texas increased by 1.6 million, in Florida by 630,000, in North Carolina by 370,000 and in Georgia by 340,000.

In contrast, the number of children in New York decreased by 720,000, in Illinois by 490,000, in Michigan by 490,000 and in Ohio by 330,000.

The U.S. child population also has become increasingly diverse. In 2020, children who are identified as non-White made up 50% of the child population compared to 39% in 2000. In 2020, Hispanic children made up 26%, Black children made up 14% and Asian children made up 5% of the child population. Since 2000, the number of children identified in the census as Hispanic or Asian increased by 6.5 million and 1.5 million, respectively, while those identified as White decreased by 8.5 million and as Black by 700,000. A child’s race and ethnicity are determined by the adult responding to the census for the household.

These data are based on the U.S. Census Bureau reports “State Population by Characteristics: 2010-2020” (published in June 2021)” and “State Demographic Characteristics: 2000-2010” (published in March 2012).

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