MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s population has become more diverse over the last 10 years and a handful of counties helped drive the state’s population growth, according to U.S. Census Bureau numbers released Thursday.
Mirroring a trend across the country, Alabama showed an increase in racial and ethnic diversity in the new Census numbers. The percentage of people who identify as white dropped while the state saw an increase in the Hispanic population and a doubling of the percentage of people who identify as multiracial.
Whites continue to be the largest racial group in Alabama, but the percentage of people in Alabama who identify as white shrunk from 68.5% in 2010 to 64.1% in 2020.
The percentage of people who identify as two or more races more than tripled from 1.5% to 5.1%. The percentage of people who identify as Hispanic increased from 3.9% to 5.3%.
There was the slightest decrease in percentage of people who identify as Black falling from 26% to 25.6.
Alabama legislators will use the new census numbers to reconfigure the state’s seven U.S. House districts, 105 state House districts and 35 state Senate districts. Republicans hold all but one of Alabama’s congressional seats and have wide majorities in the Alabama Legislature.
Jefferson County remains the Alabama’s most populous county, followed by Mobile, Madison, Baldwin and Montgomery counties, according to numbers released Thursday.
The numbers released Thursday show a handful of counties are rapidly growing while much of the state has been stagnant or seen a decline in population.
Madison County added the most people with a population increase of 53,342. Baldwin County was next with a population increase of 49,502. The two counties that are home to the state’s largest universities, ranked third and fourth. Lee County added 33,994 people and Tuscaloosa County added 32,380 people.
Shelby County had the fifth-largest growth at 27,939.
Alabama’s Black Belt region continued to see population declines with counties losing 5% or more of their population over the last 10 years.