New Estimates Released June 2004

From the U.S. Census Bureau



June 14, 2004 – The nation’s Hispanic and Asian populations continued to grow at much faster rates than the population as a whole, according to new estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau today.

The population of Hispanics (who may be of any race) reached 39.9 million on July 1, 2003, accounting for about one-half of the 9.4 million residents added to the nation’s population since Census 2000. Its growth rate of 13.0 percent over the 39-month period was almost four times that of the total population (3.3 percent).

For More Detail, Check Out the Census’ Nifty New Multimedia Page

Multimedia page

Detailed tables

Census Bureau Public Information Office
(301) 763-3030/457-3670 (fax)
(301) 457-1037 (TDD)

The number of people who reported being Asian grew 12.5 percent to 13.5 million. (Unless specified otherwise, the data for race in this news release refer to the population of those who reported a single race together with those who reported that race in combination with one or more other races. The tables show data for both groups.) Following Asians were native Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders (5.8 percent, to 960,000), blacks (4.4 percent, to 38.7 million), American Indians and Alaska natives (3.3 percent, to 4.4 million) and whites (2.8 percent, to 237.9 million). The population of non-Hispanic whites who indicated no other race increased 0.9 percent, to 197.3 million. (See Table 1. PDF | Excel)

Also released today were breakdowns of race and ethnic groups by age. Hispanics were the most likely to be preschoolers (under age 5), with more than 10 percent (or 4.2 million) in this age group. (See Table 2. PDF | Excel) The total number of preschoolers in the United States was estimated at 19.8 million.

Meanwhile, about 18 percent of native Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders were of elementary-school ages (5 to 13); this rate was the highest among all race and ethnic groups. The number of elementary school-age children in the nation totaled 36.8 million.

Almost 8 percent of American Indians and Alaska natives and native Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders were high school-age children (14 to 17), which topped all race and ethnic groups. The total number in this age range nationwide was 16.5 million.


Other Highlights

  • Working-age adults (18- to 64-year-olds) totaled 181.8 million. Two-thirds of Asians fell in this age group, the highest proportion of any race or ethnic group (66 percent).
  • There were 35.9 million people age 65 and over. Fifteen percent of non-Hispanic whites reporting only one race belonged to this age group. That proportion surpassed that of all other race and ethnic groups. Nationally, 12 percent of the total population was 65 years and over.
  • A total of 4.7 million people were in the “oldest old” category (age 85 and over). About 2 percent of non-Hispanic whites reporting only one race were in this age group, higher than any other race or ethnic group.
  • The U.S. median age continued to rise, from 35.3 years on April 1, 2000, to 35.9 years on July 1, 2003. The median of 39.6 years for non-Hispanic whites reporting only one race was the highest, while that of Hispanics, 26.7 years, was the lowest of all groups except the two-or-more-races population.


The federal government treats Hispanic origin and race as separate and distinct concepts. In surveys and censuses, separate questions are asked on Hispanic origin and race. The question on Hispanic origin asks respondents if they are Spanish, Hispanic or Latino. Starting with Census 2000, the question on race asks respondents to report the race or races they consider themselves to be. Thus, Hispanics may be of any race. (See U.S. Census Bureau Guidance on the Presentation and Comparison of Race and Hispanic Origin Data.) is committed to presenting diverse points of view. However, the viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at IMD.