Majority Minority
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Majority Minority

A majority-minority or minority-majority area is a term used to refer to a subdivision in which one or more racial and/or ethnic minorities (relative to the whole country's population) make up a majority of the local population.

United States

U.S. states and districts in which non-Hispanic whites:
  Currently are a minority or plurality
  Currently are less than 60% of the population
  Formerly were a minority or plurality

In the United States of America, majority-minority area or minority-majority area is a term describing a U.S. state or jurisdiction whose population is composed of less than 50% non-Hispanic whites. Racial data is derived from self-identification questions on the U.S. Census and on U.S. Census Bureau estimates. (See Race and ethnicity in the United States Census). The term is often used in voting rights law to designate voting districts which are altered under the Voting Rights Act to enable ethnic or language minorities "the opportunity to elect their candidate of choice."[1] In that context, the term is first used by the Supreme Court in 1977.[2] The Court had previously used the term in employment discrimination and labor relations cases.[3]

  • Six states are majority-minority as of 2020: Hawaii (the only state that has never had a white majority), New Mexico, California, Texas, Nevada, and Maryland.[4][5][6]
  • The District of Columbia reached a majority Black status during the latter stages of the Great Migration. Although the district is still majority-minority, Blacks made up only 44.4% of the population in 2019.[7] Increases have been among minorities who identify as Asians and Hispanics. Whites have also moved into the district in increasing numbers since the turn of the 21st century.[8]
  • The percentage of non-Hispanic white residents has fallen below 60% in Maryland (50.2% in 2018),[9] Georgia (52.2% in 2018),[10] Florida (53.3% in 2018),[11] Arizona, New York, New Jersey, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Maryland, at 50.2% non-Hispanic White as of 2018, is on the verge of becoming majority minority.
  • All populated United States territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa) are majority-minority; none of them have had a non-Hispanic white majority.
  • As of 2012, 50 metropolitan areas in the U.S. are majority-minority.[12]
  • As of 2015, 12% of U.S. counties are majority-minority.[13]
  • The whole United States of America is projected to become majority-minority by the middle of the 21st century if current trends continue, making the US the first major post-industrial society in the world where the majority status of a dominant group will be lost due to mass immigration.[14] With alternate immigration scenarios, the whole United States is projected to become majority-minority sometime between 2041 and 2046 (depending on the amount of net immigration into the U.S. over the preceding years).[15][16]
  • Ethnic minority children will be the majority in the entire United States by 2020.[17]
  • Minority children are the majority among children in the following ten states: California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Maryland.[18]


From colonial times to the early-twentieth century, much of the Lower South had a Black majority. Three Southern states had populations that were majority Black: Louisiana (from 1810 until about 1890[19]), South Carolina (until the 1920s[20]) and Mississippi (from the 1830s to the 1930s[21]). In the same period, Georgia,[22] Alabama,[23] and Florida[24] had populations that were nearly 50% Black, while Maryland,[25] North Carolina,[26] and Virginia[27] had Black populations approaching or exceeding 40%. Texas' Black population reached 30%.[28]

The demographics of these states changed markedly from the 1890s through the 1950s, as two waves of the Great Migration led more than 6,500,000 African-Americans to abandon the economically depressed, segregated Deep South in search of better employment opportunities and living conditions, first in Northern and Midwestern industrial cities, and later west to California. One-fifth of Florida's Black population had left the state by 1940, for instance.[29] During the last thirty years of the twentieth century into the twenty-first century, scholars have documented a reverse New Great Migration of Blacks back to southern states, but typically to destinations in the New South, which have the best jobs and developing economies.[30]

The District of Columbia, one of the magnets for Great Migration Blacks, was long the sole majority-minority federal jurisdiction in the continental U.S. The Black proportion has declined since the 1990s due to gentrification and expanding opportunities, with many Blacks moving to Texas, Georgia, Florida, and Maryland and others migrating to jobs in states of the New South in a reverse of the Great Migration.[30] In 2018, the Black population represented only 44.4% of the D.C. population[31] -- a considerable decline from 75% in the late-1970s. At the same time, Asian and Hispanic populations have increased in the District, keeping it a majority-minority area.

Since 1965, foreign immigration has spurred increases in the number of majority-minority areas, most notably in California.[32] Its legal resident population was 89.5% 'non-Hispanic white' in the 1940s, but in 2019 was estimated at 36.5% 'non-Hispanic white'.[33]


Many cities in the United States became majority minority by 2010.[34] Out of the top 15 cities by population, Jacksonville, Florida and Fort Worth, Texas are the only ones not classified as majority-minority.[clarification needed]

Data collection

The first data for New Mexico was a 5% sample in 1940 which estimated non-Hispanic whites at 50.9%.[35] Hispanics do not constitute a race but an ethnic and cultural group: of respondents who listed Hispanic origin, some listed White race, roughly half gave responses tabulated under "Some other race" (e.g. giving a national origin such as "Mexican" or a designation such as "Mestizo" as race), and much smaller numbers listed Black, Native American, or Asian race.

In U.S. censuses since 1990, self-identification has been the primary way to identify race. Presumption of race based on countries or regions given in the ancestry question is used only when a respondent has answered the ancestry question but not the race question. The U.S. Census currently defines "White people" very broadly as "people having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa,[36] i.e. Caucasoids. This definition has changed through the years.

Although the census attempts to enumerate both citizens and non-citizens, the undocumented immigrant population of the United States has proven hard to quantify; the census uses a 12 million base estimate nationally. However, current estimates based on national surveys, administrative data and other sources of information indicate that the current population may range as high as 20-30 million.[37]

Maps and graphs

Area White (all) Non-Hispanic White Asian American African American Hispanic or Latino American Native American Native Hawaiian Two or more races
California 57.6% 40.1% 13.0% 6.2% 37.6% 1.0% 0.4% 4.9%
Hawaii 24.7% 22.7% 38.6% 1.6% 8.9% 0.3% 10.0% 23.6%
New Mexico 68.4% 40.5% 1.4% 2.1% 46.3% 9.4% 0.1% 3.7%
Texas 70.4% 45.3% 3.8% 11.8% 37.6% 0.7% 0.1% 2.7%
District of Columbia 38.5% 34.8% 3.5% 50.7% 9.1% 0.3% 0.1% 2.9%
United States 72.4% 63.7% 4.8% 12.6% 16.3% 0.9% 0.2% 2.9%

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 (for the year 2000)

New 2000 white percent.gif New 2000 hispanic percent.gif New 2000 black percent.gif New 2000 asian percent.gif New 2000 indian percent.gif New 2000 hawaiian percent.gif

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau, 2020 (for the year 2019)

Majority-Minority counties in California in 2019.png Texas majority minority counties 2019.png

Other uses

Normally, a state is considered to be majority-minority because of its ethnic/racial makeup, but other criteria are occasionally used, such as religion, disability, or age. For example, the majority of Utah residents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Christian denomination that is a religious minority throughout the rest of the United States. In addition to Utah, Rhode Island and Louisiana, which have Roman Catholic majorities, are the only states in the U.S. where a single denomination constitutes a majority of the population. However, no U.S. state has a majority composed of any non-Christian group, except for Hawaii, where 51.1% of the population follow religions that would be non-mainstream in the rest of the United States. Hawaii is classified as religious majority of Unaffiliated, including agnostics, atheists, humanists, the irreligious, and Secularists (non-practicing).


In January 2016, CUNY sociologist Richard Alba wrote an article in the American Prospect arguing that the way in which majority-minority calculations are made by the Census are misleading. Anyone with any Hispanic, Asian, or Black ancestry is seen as non-white, even if they also have white ancestry. Alba argues that the incomes, marriage patterns, and identities of people of who are mixed Hispanic-white and Asian-white are closer to those of white people than monoracial Hispanics or Asians. Thus, when the Census says that non-Hispanic whites are projected to be less than 50% of the population by the 2040s, people of mixed-race ancestry are improperly excluded from that category.[38]


While the concept exists in other nations, the exact term differs from place to place and language to language.

In many large, contiguous countries like China, there are many autonomous regions where a minority population is the majority. These regions are generally the result of historical population distributions, not because of recent immigration or recent differences in birth and fertility rates between various groups.

English-speaking countries


It is estimated that Europeans first outnumbered Indigenous Australians in Australia in the 1840s.[39][40] There are still a number of rural and regional towns and communities where Indigenous Australians outnumber Europeans. Anglo-Celtic Australians, who as of 2019 make up 74% of Australia's population, have become a minority in some of Sydney's western suburbs in the late-twentieth century. Fairfield and Cabramatta in Fairfield City Council, Lakemba and Bankstown in the City of Canterbury-Bankstown, and Auburn in Cumberland Council, are one of the largest non-Anglo-Celtic suburbs in Australia.[41]

Non-Anglo-Celtic ethnic groups are the majority in these suburbs of Sydney's metropolitan area:


  • Unlike in the United States, which has five minority-majority states, no Canadian province is minority-majority. The definition of an ethnic minority differs between US and Canada. In the US this term includes anyone who is either not White or who is Hispanic (Hispanic Whites are considered as minority). However, in Canada it is defined (by the Employment Equity Act, used by Statistics Canada) as "persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour." Thus, (a) Aboriginals are considered majority, (b) Hispanic whites are considered majority, but (c) non-white Arabs and West Asians are considered a minority, even if Caucasian in race. However, the numbers are not close so thst difference does not bear any practical significance except for the territory of Nunavut and Northwest Territories, which would be minority-majority if the US definition of racial minority were to be applied (24,875 of 29,325 residents in Nunavut are Inuit).
  • The province with the highest proportion of visible minorities (2016 Census) is British Columbia (30.3%), followed by Ontario (29.3%). That means in no Canadian province has a percentage of the racial majority (Aboriginals + White Caucasians) that has fallen under 65%.
  • Toronto (CMA) is a minority-majority metropolitan area. Also, Vancouver (CMA) is on the tip of becoming such. In particular, according to the 2016 Census, the Toronto CMA has 51.4% of visible minorities, and the Vancouver CMA has 48.9% of visible minorities. They are the only metropolitan areas in Canada where the percentage of the racial majority has fallen under 60%. Taking into account the 20 largest census metropolitan areas, Calgary comes a distant third with 33.7%.
  • Racial or "visible minorities" (as they are known in Canada) are the majority in the cities of Vancouver, and Toronto.
  • The Toronto district of Scarborough has a population made up of 67.4% visible minorities. All but one of the ten Scarborough wards are visible-minority-majority of which, in particular, Scarborough-Agincourt and Scarborough-Rouge River are Chinese-majority (53.4% and 57.3% respectively; 83.7% and 87.8% respectively for all visible minorities). Likewise, 19 of 25 Scarborough neighbourhoods (as designated by the City of Toronto) are visible-minority-majority. For purposes of contradistinction, in the "Old" (pre-amalgamation) City of Toronto, 68% of the population are white Caucasian (or Aboriginal) and the visible-minority-majority neighbourhoods are five in a total of 44 neighbourhoods (Regent Park, North St. James Town, Bay Street Corridor, Kensington-Chinatown, and Parkdale).
  • The Toronto suburbs of Markham (77.93%) and Brampton (73.31%) also have a minority-majority population, of primarily Chinese and East Indian ethnic origin respectively.
  • The Vancouver suburbs of Richmond (76.3%) and Burnaby (63.6%) also have a minority-majority population, of primarily Chinese ethnic origin in both cases.
  • The French linguistic minority is the majority in the province of Quebec (77.1% have French as their mother tongue, according to the 2016 Census) and has been the predominant language of the province since before Canadian Confederation.
  • Regarding religion (2001 Census data), Quebec and New Brunswick have a Roman Catholic majority, and Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut have a Protestant majority. In the other provinces and territories, no denomination exceeds the 50% mark; however, Protestants are the largest denomination first in all provinces and territories except only Prince Edward Island and Northwest Territories where Catholics are the largest denomination. No other Christian denomination, other religion or lack of religious affiliation as first or second in any province or territory.

Visible minority majorities in different Canadian municipalities:

British Columbia



New Zealand

South Africa

Whites as a percentage of the population in various parts of South Africa in 2011.


Brazilian states according to the percentage of Whites in 2009.

Brazil has become a majority "non-White" country as of the 2010 census,[52] together with the federative units of Espírito Santo, the Federal District, Goiás, and Minas Gerais.

Those identifying as White declined to 47.7% (about 91 million people) in the 2010 census from 52.9% (about 93 million people) in 2000 in the entire country.[52] However, in Brazil, this is not simply a matter of origin and birthrate, but identity changes as well. The Black minority did not enlarge its representation in the population to more than 1.5% in the period, while it was mostly the growth in the number of pardo people (~38% in 2000, 42.4% in 2010) that caused the demographic plurality of Brazil.


The green areas have an ethnic Turkish majority or plurality, while the pink and light red areas have an ethnic Bulgarian plurality but not a majority.


Afro-Colombians make up roughly about 10-12% of country's overall population, but make up a majority in many areas in the Colombia's Pacific region,[55] especially in Chocó Department, where they make up 80-90% of the population.[56]

East Timor

  • The vast majority (around 96%) of East Timor's population practice Catholicism, owing to Portuguese influence,[57] but on the island of Atauro, Protestants make up the majority due to Dutch influence.


  • Fiji did not have any racial or ethnic group comprise a majority from the 1930s to the 1990s, with the exception of the 1960s and possibly early-1970s.[58]


The Muslim population in various parts of India in 2011.


  • Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country, with Islam being practiced by around 88% of the population, or over 200 million people.[61] Despite this there are several areas of Indonesia where Muslims are the minority:
  • Several neighborhoods and communities in major Indonesian cities such as Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang, Medan and Yogyakarta are of predominantly of Chinese origin, although people of Chinese descent do not form more than 10% in any of these cities overall population and only form about 1-2% of Indonesia's overall population.[63]


Map of Arab population, 2000
  • Arabs are a majority of the population in Israel's Northern District and in several other smaller parts of Israel.[64]
  • Non-Haredi Jews are projected to become a minority of Israel's total population by 2059.[65][66]


South Tyrol languages distribution



The non-purple areas have a plurality or majority of an ethnic group besides Romanians.


Sri Lanka


Malay Muslims form the majority in several of Thailand's southern provinces.

Former Soviet Union

Abkhazia (Georgia)

  • No ethnic group composed a majority of the population in Abkhazia from at least 2003 until around 2011.[73][74]


  • Azeris are a minority in several parts/areas of Azerbaijan.[75]





  • The Kazakh SSR did not have any ethnic group/nationality comprise a majority between 1933 and 1997.[80][81] Based on the 2009 census and annual estimates thereafter, some regions of Kazakhstan still did not have a Kazakh majority as of 2018.[82][83]


  • The Kirgiz SSR did not have any ethnic group/nationality comprise a majority between 1941 and 1985.[80]


  • The Latvian SSR almost became minority-majority (the ethnic Latvian population there decreased from 62% to 52% between 1959 and 1989), but the collapse of the USSR prevented this from happening.[80][84][85][86] While the whole Latvian SSR never became majority-minority, its eight largest cities did become majority-minority by 1989.[87]
Ethnic Russians as a percentage of the population by region in 2010.


  • Based on the 2010 census, 8 of the 22 republics of Russia had a non-Russian majority, while 9 of the 22 had a Russian majority.[88]

The Soviet Union as a whole

  • There were concerns that the whole Soviet Union would lose its ethnic Russian majority due to the high birth rates in the Caucasus and Central Asia as early as 1970.[89] The percentage of Russians among the whole Soviet population was consistently declining, from 55% in 1959 to 51% in 1989.[80] However, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 occurred before the Soviet Union could have lost its ethnic Russian majority.

Transnistria (Moldova)

  • Transnistria did not have any ethnic group compromise a majority of its population in 2004.[90]


Ethnic composition of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1991.
The municipalities with a color other than light blue have a plurality or majority composed of an ethnic group other than Serbs.

Former Yugoslavia

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina did not have any ethnic group comprise a majority of its population at the time of the last census in 1991 (which took place before the Bosnian War).[92] A census was conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina in October 2013, and these results showed a slight Bosniak majority, who constitute 50.11% of the population.[93]


  • North Kosovo has a Serb majority, while Kosovo overall has an Albanian majority.[94] This division has led to controversial negotiations for land swapping southern Albanian-majority areas of Serbia for northern Serb-majority areas of Kosovo.[95][96]


  • Montenegro does not have any ethnic group compromise a majority of its population.[97]

North Macedonia


See also


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