On Feb. 3, 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau released the first detailed demographic data for states and local areas from the 2010 Census. Racial and ethnic characteristics of the total and voting-age populations were released for geographic areas down to the city block level.

Four states were included in this initial release: Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia; data for the remaining states will be released in the coming weeks. State governments use these data to draw new congressional and state legislative district boundaries. But others will use the information to track key demographic trends during the past decade. An interactive map of the data from these four states is at: http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/.

Here are a few of the highlights from the recent data release:

  • The population in New Orleans, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, fell 29 percent during the past decade, from 484,674 in 2000 to 343,829 in 2010. This is a bigger drop than was predicted based on intercensal population estimates, which put New Orleans’ 2009 population at 354,850. 
  • Results show the continuing growth of racial/ethnic minorities in the U.S. population. Of the four states included in this release, the share of minorities increased most rapidly in New Jersey, where minorities made up 41 percent of the population in 2010, compared with 34 percent in 2000. Asian Americans and Hispanics led population growth in that state.
  • In Louisiana and New Jersey, the populations would have declined during the past decade in the absence of Hispanic population growth. Latino population growth accounted for roughly one-third of the population increases in Mississippi and Virginia between 2000 and 2010. 
  • In both Mississippi and Virginia, the number of Latinos under age 18 doubled since 2000, reflecting the rapid increase in young, Hispanic families in those states. In 2010, racial/ethnic minorities made up more than half of Mississippi’s population under age 18, up from 48 percent in 2000. 
  • In all four states, the number of people identifying with more than one racial group increased between 2000 and 2010, but these multiracial residents account for a relatively small share of the total population. Of the four states included in this release, Virginia had the most multiracial residents in 2010 (2.9 percent). Among Virginia’s population under age 18, nearly 5 percent identified with more than one race in 2010.

Data from these four states only scratch the surface of what is available from the 2010 Census. The Census Bureau plans to release data for five new states—Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, and Vermont—the week of Feb. 7, 2011. For more information, visit the Census Bureau’s website at http://2010.census.gov/news/press-kits/redistricting.html