Politics

Kentucky grew more diverse in the past decade as white population declined in 2020, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Aug 12. The commonwealth’s population rose by 3.8% since 2010, helped by a significant increase in multiracial and Hispanic populations. 

With a 2.2% decline, white residents accounted for 81% of the state’s population in 2020, down from 86% in 2010. Black Kentuckians made up 7.9% of the state in 2020, compared to 7.7% in 2010.

Multiracial and Hispanic communities were the fastest growing groups in the past decade –– as the population with more than one race nearly tripled while the Hispanic population grew by 56%. Kentucky’s Asian population rose by 53% and accounted for 1.6% of the state’s population.


The Census Bureau reports data for at least five groups: White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. The Bureau also uses a sixth category – Some Other Race. A person can be of Hispanic ethnicity, regardless of race. In this analysis, we used non-Hispanic populations for all races and assumed Hispanic as a separate category.

Explore the map below on the racial makeup of places in Kentucky. Open the map in a separate window.



Federal definitions of race:

White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as “White” or report entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Arab, Moroccan, or Caucasian.

Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as “Black or African American,” or report entries such as African American, Kenyan, Nigerian, or Haitian.

American Indian and Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment. This category includes people who indicate their race as “American Indian or Alaska Native” or report entries such as Navajo, Blackfeet, Inupiat, Yup’ik, or Central American Indian groups or South American Indian groups.

Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam. This includes people who reported detailed Asian responses such as: “Asian Indian,” “Chinese,” “Filipino,” “Korean,” “Japanese,” “Vietnamese,” and “Other Asian” or provide other detailed Asian responses.

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. It includes people who reported their race as “Fijian,” “Guamanian or Chamorro,” “Marshallese,” “Native Hawaiian,” “Samoan,” “Tongan,” and “Other Pacific Islander” or provide other detailed Pacific Islander responses.

Two or more races: People may choose to provide two or more races either by checking two or more race response check boxes, by providing multiple responses, or by some combination of check boxes and other responses. For data product purposes, “Two or More Races” refers to combinations of two or more of the following race categories: “White,” “Black or African American,” American Indian or Alaska Native,” “Asian,” Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander,” or “Some Other Race”.