Census: Minority population growing in VT, 2nd whitest state

Vermont remains the second whitest state in the country, but the state’s minority population is growing, data released Thursday U.S. Census Bureau showed.

The data showed the Hispanic population in Vermont grew by 68.4%, about 6,300 people, between 2010 and 2020, the third largest percentage increase in the country.

The Black population grew by just under 44%, or just under 2,760, the seventh largest percentage change in the country.

While the percentage increases are large, the actual numbers remain low.

The percentage of Vermont’s Hispanic population grew from 1.5% of the state’s population in 2010 to 2.4% in 2020. The percentage of Vermont’s Black population grew from 1% of the state’s population to 1.4%.

Despite the increase in minority population, 89.8% of Vermont’s population is white, second only to Maine.

The numbers found that Vermont has the second highest percentage in the country of its population over age 18, 81.6%, behind the District of Colombia at 83.4% and just ahead of Maine, 81.5% and New Hampshire at 81.4%.

The percent change in the population over age 18 grew 5.6% over 2010, or just under 28,000 people.

The Vermont figures were part of a nationwide release of data that offers the most detailed portrait yet of how the country has changed since 2010. In some states the figures will be used to redraw congressional districts and they will also shape how $1.5 trillion in annual federal spending is distributed.

The national figures show continued migration to the South and West at the expense of counties in the Midwest and Northeast. The share of the white population fell from 63.7% in 2010 to 57.8% in 2020, the lowest on record, though white people continue to be the most prevalent racial or ethnic group.

The information was originally supposed to be released by the end of March, but that deadline was pushed back because of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Census data released earlier this year showed that in the last decade Vermont’s overall population grew 2.8%, to just over 643,000 people.

The data released Thursday also showed the population change in Vermont’s 14 counties.

More than a quarter of Vermont’s total population lives in Chittenden County, which includes Burlington, saw its population grow by 7.5% in the last decade, the top percentage increase of Vermont’s 14 counties.

Vermont’s least populous county, Essex, located where Vermont abuts New Hampshire and Quebec, saw its population decrease by just under 400 people, or 6.1%, the largest percentage decrease in the state.

Caledonia and Rutland counties also lost population. Caledonia County lost just under 1,000 people, a drop of 3.2%. Rutland County last just under 1,100 people, a drop of 1.7%.