in Current Events, Interesting

U.S. Population by race and gender

For better or worse — I’m not going to argue this point right now — the United States has become a country in which racial and gender “quotas” are important. By that I mean that people pay a lot of attention to the demographics of any particular group, show, or organization.

I’m frequently curious about the actual demographic composition of the country. Seriously, this is something I try to figure out a couple of times each year. I’ve never had any success at finding actual numbers, though. I’m sure they exist somewhere (likely the U.S. Census site) but I haven’t been able to find them.

This morning, however, I found two pieces of info that can help us extrapolate some numbers. These won’t be precise measures of U.S. demographics, but they’ll be close.

In this post, I want to break out the U.S. population by race and gender. This is meant purely for informational purposes. I’m not trying to make any political point here.

First, let’s look at gender.

According to this November 5th report from Statista, gender distribution has remained steady in the U.S. for years. Women make up 51.1% of the U.S. population; men are thus 48.9% of the country.

Next, let’s look at race. For these numbers, I’m using data from the Kaiser Family Foundation (which, in turn, bases its numbers on the American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau).

In 2019:

  • 60.1% of the U.S. population was white.
  • 12.2% of the U.S. population was black.
  • 18.5% of the U.S. population was hispanic.
  • 5.6% of the U.S. population was Asian.
  • 0.7% of the U.S. population was American Indian.

As a sidenote here, I hate the term “latinx” as an alternative to latino or hispanic. It’s a linguistic horror. Hispanics and latinos hate the term too, but some people continue to use it anyhow. This article from Pew Research contains a terrific discussion (and stats) regarding the use of “latinx”.

Because gender distribution is fairly stable across time and across other demographics, we can extrapolate the following numbers:

  • White women make up 30.7% of the U.S. population and are the largest gender/ethnic bloc. White men represent 29.4% of the U.S. population.
  • Black women make up 6.2% of the country. Black men are 6.0% of the population.
  • About 9.5% of the U.S. are hispanic women. Hispanic men are 9.0% of the nation.
  • Asian woman are 2.9% of the nation’s population, and Asian men are 2.7%.

While we’re looking at gender and race, let’s take a quick look at the current demographics of sexual orientation.

In the U.S., 4.5% of the country’s population identifies as LGBT. But the numbers are strikingly different by generation. Millennials (defined as those born between 1980 and 1999) have the highest queer population at 8.2%. Every other generation has a queer population of 3.5% or lower.

In the past, estimates put the transgender population in the U.S. at about two or three people per thousand. In recent years, however, that rate has doubled. The current widely-accepted estimate is that 0.58% of the U.S. is transgender. So, out of every 1000 people, roughly six are “trans” and 994 are ”cis”.

Again, I’m offering these numbers purely for informational purposes. It’s been tricky for me to find these stats in the past, and I want to have place I can grab them, when needed.

Why would I possibly need to know these ratios in every day life? Because, unfortunately, we live in a world where people are quick to judge (and condemn) if you even appear to exhibit bias that deviates from statistical norms. (Here’s an example of what I mean.)

But, more importantly, I really do try to be representative in my work and writing. Knowing what representative actually means in the Real World helps me to do that.

Anyhow, I thought these numbers might be useful and/or interesting to others too. Enjoy!

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