Census Bureau estimates that 10% of New Hampshire is now a racial or ethnic minority

Monitor staff
Published: 6/22/2019 10:10:31 PM

The slow transformation of New Hampshire’s population has reached a milestone: The latest federal estimate says that 10% of the state is now an ethnic or racial minority.

Specifically, the Census Bureau estimates that in mid-2018, 136,000 of New Hampshire’s 1.356 million residents were either Hispanic or non-white, or both. That’s the first time the minority population has reached a double-digit percentage: exactly 10%.

“It’s not a huge deal but it’s another part of the narrative of what’s happening,” said Ken Johnson, senior demographer at the Carsey School of Public Policy at UNH.

“These are Census Bureau estimates so there is some variability in them and they need to be treated with some caution. However, they generally reflect overall trends and these are consistent with other data in showing the minority population is growing,” Johnson said.

New Hampshire is one of the least racially and ethnically diverse of all the states, but it has been getting more diverse for years. In the 2010 Census, for example, only about 7.5% of the state was minority, meaning the minority share of total population has grown by one-third in just eight years.

Within age groups, the change in recent years is starker. Non-Hispanic whites in New Hampshire tend to be older than minorities, who are often younger people or young families who move here for jobs or other reasons.

Consider this: Between 2010 and 2018, Johnson pointed out, the minority population of people younger than 18 grew by 14%, but for non-Hispanic whites this age group actually shrank by 13%.

The 2018 estimate found that more than one-sixth of New Hampshire residents under the age of 18 are minorities: 40,118 compared to 218,052 non-Hispanic whites.

A similar but less dramatic pattern was visible in the working-age population, people between ages 18 and 64. The minority population in this group grew by 43% while the non-Hispanic white population shrank slightly, by 4%

“In terms of absolute numbers they’re still modest numbers, but that’s where the growth in the working-age population came,” said Johnson.

The changing demographics tend to be clustered in urban areas, particularly Manchester and Nashua, the two biggest cities, as well as Concord and parts of the Seacoast.

“There are large parts of New Hampshire that are as white as they were 50 years ago. But in the city of Manchester, the city of Nashua, you’re talking about some pretty diverse neighborhoods there,” Johnson said.

Manchester public schools, for example, report that more than 70 different languages are spoken by students at home.

Depending on the data you use, New Hampshire is one of the five least-diverse states in the country, having the highest proportion of non-Hispanic white residents. Vermont and Maine are two others.

Hispanic is an ethnic rather than a racial category by Census Bureau designation. People can be considered white and Hispanic at the same time, or black and Hispanic, or any racial category and Hispanic, or they can be any racial category and non-Hispanic.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)



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