Population changes 2010 to 2011
Overall population 2011
Collier: 328,134 +2.02%
Lee: 631,330 +2.03%
White population 2011
Collier: 296,053 90.2% -0.22%
Lee: 553,338 87.65% +1.70%
Black population 2011
Collier: 22,529 6.87% +0.10%
Lee: 55,465 8.79% +2.00%
Hispanic population 2011
Collier: 86,397 26.33% +0.46%
Lee: 117,666 18.64% +3.85%
Population numbers overlap in some cases because Hispanic is classified as an ethnicity, not a race. Hispanics can be of any race, according to the census. Numbers do not take into account all races.
WASHINGTON — For the first time, racial and ethnic minorities make up more than half the children born in the U.S., capping decades of heady immigration growth that is now slowing.
New 2011 census estimates highlight sweeping changes in the nation’s racial makeup and the prolonged impact of a weak economy, which is now resulting in fewer Hispanics entering the U.S.
“This is a fundamental tipping point signaling a change in our demographic structure for decades to come,” William Frey, a demographer and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., said in an e-mail.
The largest minority change in Collier County was in Hispanics, now 26.3 percent of the population, about one half of a percent higher than in 2010.
Lee County’s Hispanic community surged 3.85 percent over previous tallies, and now approaches 19 percent of the total population.
As a whole, the nation’s minority population continues to rise, following a higher-than-expected Hispanic count in the 2010 census. Minorities increased 1.9 percent to 114.1 million, or 36.6 percent of the total U.S. population, lifted by prior waves of immigration that brought in young families and boosted the number of Hispanic women in their prime childbearing years.
As of July 2011, minorities — defined as anyone who is not a single-race non-Hispanic white — are 50.4 percent of the nation’s population younger than age 1, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released the same day as the data.
In Collier County, 49.1 percent of children under the age of 5 are Hispanic, up from 47.8 percent in 2010. That figure dropped in Lee County, however, from 34.7 percent to 34.3 during the same period.
The Hispanic growth is being driven more by native births than immigration, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, which reported last month that the net migration from Mexico to the U.S. has stopped and may be reversing. The growth of Latino residents is the result of a younger population and higher fertility rates, said Jeffrey Passel, senior demographer for the Washington-based center.
“The younger the age group, the less white it is,” he said.
Collier and Lee are no exception. The 65 and over population in Lee is about 95 percent white. That figure dips into the 80s for younger adults, and into the high 70s for children. Collier remains more white, by about 3 to 5 percentage points across age ranges.
The recent slowdown in immigration is shifting notions on when the tipping point in U.S. diversity will come — the time when non-Hispanic whites become a minority. After 2010 census results suggested a crossover as early as 2040, demographers now believe the pivotal moment may be pushed back several years when new projections are released in December.
The new estimates also revealed that Collier County’s cohort of residents over the age of 85 grew more than any other, at 13 percent, while the 35 to 39 age range dipped the most, at a rate of around 3 percent.
Still, Sumter County makes Collier look young. It earned the title of “oldest” county in the U.S., with 45.5 percent of its population 65 and older, compared with Collier’s 27 percent.