U.Va. Assesses 2010 Census Data on Virginia's Multi-Racial Population

March 8, 2011 — Continuing their efforts to make 2010 U.S. Census data more accessible and user-friendly, demographers at the University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service have assessed the data on recently released local-level 2010 population counts, including data on people of two or more races living in Virginia.

"The 2010 Census data reflects increasing diversity in the country, and in Virginia," said Qian Cai, director of the Cooper Center's Demographics & Workforce group. "This year, with redistricting under way in Virginia, current information on racial and ethnic heritage is of particular importance for insuring fairness in defining districts."

Here are highlights of Virginia's multi-race population as of April 1, 2010:

•    More than 233,000 Virginia residents, or 2.9 percent of the population, reported that they belong to two or more of the six race categories counted in the federal census: white; black or African-American; American Indian and Alaska native; Asian; Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander; or some other race. (Note: People of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Hispanic ethnicity is reported in response to a different census question.)
•    This is an increase from the 2000 census – the first year in which people could identify themselves as multi-racial – when 2 percent of the population reported that they belonged to two or more races.
•    Most multi-racial Virginians reported belonging to just two races; only about 19,000 people reported belonging to three or more. Of the biracial Virginians, 29 percent reported being white and black; 28 percent white and Asian; and the remainder other combinations of the six race categories.
•    Multi-racial Virginians tend to live in metropolitan areas, particularly Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Manassas Park has the highest percentage of multi-racial residents at 5.4 percent.

Localities with the largest raw number of multi-racial residents include Fairfax and Prince William counties, with 44,000 and 20,500, respectively; Virginia Beach with 17,656; Loudoun County with 12,575; and Norfolk, with 8,825 multi-racial residents.
The localities with the five largest percentages of multiracial residents are Manassas Park (5.4 percent), Prince William County (5.1 percent), Manassas (4.3 percent), Newport News (4.3 percent) and Fairfax County (4.1 percent).

This is one of a series of Census briefs prepared by the Demographics & Workforce Group of the Cooper Center. For information and related data tables, visit its website.

Media Contact

Meredith Gunter

Demographics Research Group, Weldon Cooper Center