It has been anecdotally evident for years that the nation’s population is becoming less white. In fact, certain parts of the country are now beginning to reach a tipping point, with counties flipping fast away from white majority populations to minority majority populations.
According to data published today by the Pew Research Center, 78 counties in 19 states, between 2000 and 2013, saw minority populations taken together reach greater than 50 percent of total county population.
Alamosa County in Colorado near the New Mexico border, population 16,253, was one of them. It went from 54.2 percent white in 2000 to 49.6 percent in 2013. It is the only county in Colorado so far to flip.
But Alamosa fits with the larger trend noted by the researchers. The shift to greater diversity is happening faster in some parts of the country than in others, and mostly in the sun belt west — specifically in west Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
Pew notes that only two counties moved in the other direction, going from minority white to majority white: Calhoun County in South Carolina and West Feliciana Parish in Louisiana.
Pew based its research on census data. Researchers note that whites still make up the overall majority of the population in the nation, at 63 percent.