Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Florida's Hispanic population boom

The latest demographic data ahead of the 2020 Census show Florida with a vanishing white majority. UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research projects a white minority in Florida by the 2030 Census, meaning Florida will join Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Texas and Nevada as a state without a white majority.

Hispanics — who can be either white or black — have grown to 26% of the state’s population, according to an analysis by demographer William Frey for Brookings Institution. Nationally, racial minorities and Hispanic growth accounted for all the nation’s population growth since 2000, Frey reports. The Hispanic share of the U.S. population eclipsed the black share of population — which has been relatively stable — in 2000 and has continued to grow.

In 2019, the absolute number of white people nationally fell for the third straight reporting period, for a cumulative loss of a half million people. That led to a net loss for the decade — the first time in the nation’s history that the white population failed to grow over a decade. The Census Bureau hadn’t projected that to happen until after 2024, again signaling an acceleration in trends, Frey says. Also last year for the first time, a majority of those under 16 nationally identified as non-white.

The evidence “suggests that past projections of increased racial and ethnic diversity may have been too cautious given the accelerated aging and decline of the white population,” Frey says. “We will know more when the full 2020 Census results are released next year.”

The Florida Trends (2000-19)

  • The non-Hispanic white share of the population in Florida has fallen from 66% in 2000 to 53%. By 2045, it is predicted to fall to 46%.
  • The share of black population has remained steady at around 15.5%. The Bureau of Economic and Business Research predicts it will grow only modestly, to 17.6%, by 2045.
  • The share of Hispanics (who can be either black or white) has grown to 26%. By 2045, it is expected to reach 33%.
  • The fastest-growing ethnic group in Florida, on a percentage basis, is Asian-Americans, although they still comprise only 3% of the state’s population. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Orlando- Kissimmee-Sanford and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metros all added more than 30,000 Asian-American residents between 2000 and 2019. Jacksonville added more than16,000.

Other States (2000-19)

  • Among the 10 largest states, the white populations of California, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois declined, in absolute numbers, between 2000 and 2019. In New York, the number of white residents declined more than 589,000; in California, by more than 600,000.
  • The black populations of Michigan, New York and Illinois also declined in absolute numbers — in Illinois, by nearly 56,000. Florida had the second-largest increase in the number of black residents — 460,233. Texas was first.
  • Among the 10 largest states, only North Carolina had a higher number of new white residents (331,277) than Hispanic (225,702).
  • Florida, which ranked third in the number of new Hispanic residents, had nearly as many new Hispanic residents (1.44 million) as California (1.56 million), which ranked second. Texas grew by more than 2 million new Hispanic residents. Since 2010, Florida has added more Hispanics than all other racial and ethnic groups combined.

As whites from other states migrate here, Florida has gained white population — Southeast Florida was the only major Florida region to have a net loss of whites, in absolute numbers, in the decade. The state’s white population is growing much more slowly than the Hispanic population, however.

The Problem with Statewide Averages in Florida

  • Above average percentages of Hispanics

The fundamental fact about demography in Florida is that most of the state’s local metro areas don’t look anything like the state averages. While the state’s Hispanic population is growing quickly, it remains concentrated in Southeast Florida and around Orlando. 

  • Above average percentages of non-Hispanic whites

Whites still make up a majority in the Lakeland, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Daytona Beach, Melbourne and Sarasota metros, but the white share of the population has dropped in those areas, too — in Sarasota, the metro in Florida with the largest share of non-Hispanic whites, the share has fallen from 86% in 2000 to 77%. 

The Orlando metro has seen the largest demographic shift among Florida metros since 2000. The percentage of non-Hispanic whites has fallen from 66% in 2000 to 45.7%. Hispanics make up 32% of the metro population, while blacks make up 16%.

Non-Hispanic whites have been a minority in Southeast Florida for decades, falling from 44% in 2000 to just 29.7% today. Southeast Florida ranks sixth nationally among the 100 largest metros with the lowest percentages of white population.


Read more in Florida Trend's September issue.
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