A 2020 report issued by the United States Census Bureau shows that the state of California gained 2.2 million more residents between 2010 and 2020. And, according to information obtained from census participants, the population of 39,538,223 residents self-identified as more racially diverse than they did in 2010.
The census reports that the state of California's diversity index increased from 67.7% in 2010 to 69.7% in 2020. The diversity index of a state or country is the mathematical measure of diversity within a designated community.
For the most recent report, the number of California residents who identified as "white alone" went down 24.0% from 2010 to 2020 while the number of residents in the state of California who identified as "white in combination" went up 253.6% over the last decade. Census respondents who identified as "black or African American alone" went down 2.7%, but those who identified as "black or African American in combination" went up 52.9% over the last decade.
Similarly, the number of California residents who identified as "Asian alone" went up 25.2% while the percentage of residents who identified as "Asian in combination" rose 37.9%. The number of residents in the state of California who self-identified as "American Indian and Alaska Native alone" rose 73.9% and those who identified as as "American Indian and Alaska Native in combination" rose 116%. Finally, Californians who selected "Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander alone" rose 8.9% over the last decade while respondents of these races who selected it in combination rose 27.2%. Those who identified as "two or more races" rose 217.3%.
The U.S. Census improved its processes in relation to race and ethnicity by asking different questions and changing their coding and data processing procedures. Census officials explained how they changed the 2020 questions. "The 2020 Census used the required two separate questions (one for Hispanic or Latino origin and one for race) to collect the races and ethnicities of the U.S. population — following the standards set by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 1997."
Based on these more specific questions, data shows that the overall ethnic and racial diversity in the United States is increasing. The census bureau is also careful to define what it means by the term "diversity." They say the term, "refers to the representation and relative size of different racial and ethnic groups within a population and is maximized when all groups are represented in an area and have equal shares of the population." Current projections for the future suggest that most parts of California (and the country) will continue to become more and more racially and ethnically diverse.