The nation's Asian population, fueled by international migration, grew at a faster rate than other racial or ethnic groups from mid-2011 to mid-2012, a trend also seen on Long Island and statewide, according to census data released Thursday.
The United States' non-Hispanic white population continued to increase during the same time period, though more slowly than other groups. But New York and 22 other states saw declines in non-Hispanic whites, which occurred on Long Island as well.
Nationally, the number of Asians grew by 2.9 percent from July 2011 to July 2012, rising by more than half a million people to an estimated 18.9 million in 2012. Census officials said about 60 percent of the increase was due to international migration.
The growth of Asians in Nassau County matched the national rate. It was slightly lower in Suffolk County, at 1.96 percent.
Hispanics -- whose numbers grew by 2.2 percent, or 1.1 million people, in that same one-year period -- remain the nation's largest minority, numbering an estimated 53 million people.
"Asians and Hispanics have long been our nation's fastest-growing race or ethnic groups," Thomas Mesenbourg, acting director of the U.S. Census Bureau, said in a statement.
Non-Hispanic whites remain the dominant racial group in the country, but their share of the population has decreased slightly as the nonwhite population continues to climb, bureau officials said.
"We see in 28 states, the non-Hispanic white population has increased, led by Texas," Larry Sink, a statistician with the bureau's population estimates branch, said in a conference call with reporters. "In the other 23 states, the population decreased, the largest decrease being New York," he said, where non-Hispanic whites dropped by just over 40,000 people from mid-2011 to mid-2012.
Washington, D.C., is included in the statistics as a "state equivalent."
New York, meanwhile, had the nation's largest black population, with 3.4 million. Nationwide, the black population was 44.5 million, according to the bureau's 2012 estimate.
On Long Island, non-Hispanic whites declined slightly, dropping by less than 1 percentage point. In 2012, the non-Hispanic white population in Nassau was 865,000; in Suffolk, it was 1.06 million.The decline of non-Hispanic whites is long-standing, said Jan Vink, a researcher with Cornell University's Program on Applied Demographics, a coordinating agency of the New York State Data Center.
"The drop has been going on for more than a decade now," Vink said. "During the '90s, the drop was even more severe." He added that the group simply has been "leaving New York."