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New Census data will reveal a more diverse America

Nearly 120 years ago, African American domestic workers settled the Como neighborhood of Fort Worth. They attended Fourth of July parades and shopped on Horne Street. For many generations, they lived in what appeared to be a small community within the larger city.

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New Census data will reveal a more diverse America

Many young families began to move away towards the end of the 20th century leaving behind small, frame homes that could be renovated. Fort Worth's economic boom made it possible. Hispanics from Mexico and Central America came to Fort Worth to work in construction, manufacturing, and other service jobs. They refurbished homes and contributed to the revitalization of the area.

These new residents have made Como a more diverse place than the surrounding Tarrant County. This is one of many places in America where white residents are not the majority. There is no racial or ethnic group that does.

The Census Bureau will release new data Thursday that will show the extent of the demographic change over the past decade. These numbers will show that there are many counties in 18 states that do not have a majority of racial and ethnic groups. They are mainly located in the South, Southwest, and Southwest. For the first time ever, the non-Hispanic white population will shrink.

According to estimates, about 113 million people - a third of Americans - now live in plurality counties.

Census figures will show the effects of increasing diversity. Virtually all of the U.S. population growth is among people of colour, which were once considered racial and ethnic minorities. However, when there isn't a majority, this label is becoming obsolete.

Estrus Tucker, a Fort Worth resident and diversity consultant, said that the U.S.'s approach to increasing diversity, including whether new barriers are built or knocked down, is a hot topic.

The first set of April census figures showed that the U.S. population growth rate had slowed to a level not seen since before the Great Depression. __S.15__

Due to delays caused in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, data released this week is more than four months late.

Although past census data have shown that the U.S. has seen growth driven by immigration, it's just one factor. The pace of new immigrants from abroad has slowed over the past decade and then disappeared completely during the pandemic. Birth rates are instead driving the change. Hispanic and Asian women have seen their birth rate increase this century, while white women's birth rate has fallen.

According to estimates, less than half of Americans under the age of 18 may be white while over three quarters of Americans over 65 are white.

Manuel Pastor, a professor of sociology at the University of Southern California, says that these ripple effects can be complicated. Pastor believes that the rise in popularity of Donald Trump was due to an anxiety among whites about racial changes.

Pastor stated, "You have an aging white electorate who doesn't seem to want to invest in a young populace that propels people towards success -- schools and infrastructure." "There is a segment of the population, myself included, that loves Korean taco trucks popping out... On the other hand, some people feel great dislocations and loss of their personal identity."

Some see the growing number of people of color as a new opportunity to exercise political power. Tarrant County was once one of the most Republican-leaning big-city counties in the country. But recent elections have shown how changing demographics are shifting the county towards Democrats. In almost 50 years, President Joe Biden became a first-ever Democratic presidential candidate to win the area. A Republican mayor was elected earlier in the year. However, a diverse group of young Democrats won Forth Worth City Council.

"We are finally getting there where we have people representing our -- who are we?" Pamela Young, a Black woman, is the lead criminal justice coordinator for United Fort Worth. This grassroots community organization is based in Texas. It gives me hope and joy.

This week's data will be used to redraw legislative and congressional districts. This will set off a round partisan fighting for representation in an ever-diversifying nation. Texas and Florida are two Republican-led states that have new congressional seats. This is where the growth is taking place in Democratic-leaning cities.

Researchers aren't convinced that the census definition of a decline in white population is accurate. Hispanics are large numbers and growing numbers identify themselves as white. A larger percentage of the population is mixed-race and ethnic. Marta Tienda, a Princeton sociologist, said that this is a sign that socially constructed boundaries are being blurred.

Tienda stated, "This is a positive change so the narrative of declining white population is statistical absurdity."

The Census Bureau decided this year to stop using the terms "majority", "minority," and "minority" in measuring diversity. They said that these words hinder its ability to "illustrate the complex racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity of the U.S. Population." Instead, it is using a number of new measures, including an index, a score, and a map.

The increase in counties without a majority racial/ethnic group in the last decade was primarily concentrated in counties that have some of the fastest-growing cities in America -- Austin, Charlotte and Fort Worth. It was also evident in rural counties, such as Texas County, Oklahoma, that had lost their population.

In the state's remote panhandle, there was once a beef-packing facility that employed an overwhelmingly white workforce. The plant was closed and the employment moved to a pork-processing facility, which brought in workers from Latin America, Africa, and other parts.

The white population declined and Guymon's main street was closed, but areas with large Latino populations grew. The county now has 47% Latinos, 5% Black and 43% White. Schools in the county speak several dozen languages, and they are full to capacity. One third of the 20,000 residents live below 18.

The school district seeks approval for a $70million bond measure to finance new buildings. Supporters know that they face a difficult battle in conservative county where older white residents still control an electorate that rejected previous bond measures.

"I've heard people literally say, 'I won’t pass that bond, because those people don’t deserve my tax money'," Julie Edenborough, director federal programs for Guymon school district, said.

In 2016, however, the $20 million bond measure was narrowly passed in an indication of changing attitudes. Many long-time residents were grateful for the newer arrivals. Melyn Johnson, the director of Main Street Guymon (a business group), stated that "we'd be falling apart without them." "To keep it going, we need people."

Fort Worth's Como neighborhood is buzzing with energy. This is due to the recent city commitment of $3.2 million for street improvements, sidewalks, and streetlights.

Tucker stated, "You can see the diversity in so much of the county." "You can see glimpses of this diversity shifting in the elected offices. It's not enough, but it is coming."

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