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Florida’s under-70 population now majority-minority

U.S. Census estimates reveal a new reality: Non-Hispanic white people make up only 49.9 percent of those younger than 70 in Florida.

The majority of Floridians under 70 are now people of color, according to Census population estimates released Thursday.

White, non-Hispanic people still make up 53.5 percent of all Florida residents but just 49.9 percent of those younger than 70 years old.

Florida crossed this demographic threshold in 2018, according to estimates of the nation’s population on July 1 of that year, part of a national trend of increasing racial diversity.

In total, the state was home to 21,299,325 people as of July 1, trailing only California and Texas. Florida’s racial minorities totaled 9,900,155 people. On their own, the state’s racial minorities would form the nation’s 11th-largest state, nearly as populous as Michigan.

Hispanic and black people still make up the state’s largest ethnic and racial minority groups. As of 2018, Florida was 26.1 percent Hispanic (of any race) and 15.5 percent black, non-Hispanic.

The Census considers whether a person is Hispanic as a question of ethnicity, separate from race. In Census records, each person is listed as Hispanic or not, and can list a race such as white or black (or multiple races).

Florida’s total population is still growing fast, driven by Hispanic and black people.

Since 2010, the United States has seen 6 percent population growth. In Florida, that rate is twice as high, 13 percent.

The trend is almost entirely among people of color. Nationally, the white, non-Hispanic population is essentially stagnant, up less than a tenth of a percent since 2010. For everyone else the growth rate is 16 percent.

Florida is seeing population growth among white people (4 percent over the same period). But that is far below the 25 percent growth among minority groups.

The demographic shift is perhaps best exemplified by Osceola County, in Central Florida. Already home to more than 350,000 people in 2017, the county was second in the state in population growth in the following year, seeing 4.3 percent growth (or more than 15,000 people). At the same time, Osceola County is becoming rapidly more Hispanic. Its Hispanic population grew by a whopping 65 percent since 2010 and 7 percent over the last year, both about twice as fast as the Hispanic growth rate in Florida overall.

One factor that may be reflected in the numbers is 2017’s Hurricane Maria, the most destructive hurricane to hit modern Puerto Rico. This is the first Census data to estimate population change by race and county after the storm, which sent thousands of Puerto Rican families to central Florida, as evidenced by school enrollments.

Across all racial groups, America’s population is getting older.

All states except one (North Dakota) saw increasing median ages between 2010 and 2018.

"More than 4 out of every 5 counties were older in 2018 than in 2010. This aging is driven in large part by baby boomers crossing over the 65-year-old mark. Now, half of the U.S. population is over the age of 38.2," Luke Rogers, the Census Bureau’s Chief of the Population Estimates Branch said in a news release.

Again, Florida was home to the nation’s oldest county with at least 20,000 people. Sumter County, where The Villages community draws a seemingly endless supply of retirees, has a median age of 67.8.