The Last American Census and the Coming American Election

Angelo Faria

Angelo Faria was born in Mombasa. Studied at the London School of Economics and University of Wisconsin in Madison, worked as a Senior Economist at the International Monetary Fund. Angelo lives in Washington DC where he is part of the city’s burgeoning intellectual elite





In any country a national population census is a major event. By convention it takes place once every 10 years in most countries. However it is not in every country that it is done correctly and objectively. In the past in some countries the release of population census results has been the occasion for heated controversies.

Properly conducted, a national population census generates wide-ranging data which when taken together provides a unique mirror image of the nation and the changes taking place within its boarders; socio-political and economic.

Today the results of the 2009 United States census are of particular significance. They provide interesting insights into the changes that have occurred in that great country; not least, in regard to the makeup of its huge population. Over the last twenty years a fundamental shift has taken place in the racial/cultural mix of America, largely but not exclusively, the result of immigration both legal and illegal, from the rest of the World, including Asia and Africa.

Today in percentage terms the population ratio in America stand as follows as per race categories: Non-Hispanic White American 63.4, traditionally by far the majority group but a dwindling one; Hispanic American 16.7, this relatively new but fastest rising group; African American 12.3, steadily growing; and Asian-American 4.8 percent. Projected growth rate per race category stand as follows: Hispanic-American 40 percent African American 13 percent; and Non-Hispanic Whites 1.5 percent.

The 2012 General Election in November will be the first one in which an African American President will seek a second term against the background of a sizeable increase in the minority non-white vote. If one assumed a white vote of about 55% of the electorate, split roughly equally between the Democratic Party and Republican Party. And the minority vote of African, Hispanic and Asian Americans, likewise split; the minority vote will be the determining factor in the final outcome of the tally. For President Obama, a man who must win reelection to secure his legacy, this sounds like good news.