Nightly News   |  September 29, 2011

Census data paints new picture of Americans

The latest snapshot of America shows a population that is quickly becoming much more multi-racial, with the percentage of non-Hispanic whites declining in 15 states. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> there are fascinating numbers out tonight from the brand new census. they tell us a lot about who we are and how much life in america has changed in just the space of one generation including what we all look like these days. nbc's tom costello has our report.

>> reporter: the latest snapshot of america shows a population that is quickly becoming much more multi racial with the percentage of nonhispanic whites declining in 15 states from 75% of the population in 2000 to 72% in 2010 .

>> we are finding tremendous diversity within the united states .

>> reporter: there is even more evidence that strict racial lines are blurring. the mixed race white population rose by 2 million or 37%. people identifying themselves as mixed race , black and white , more than doubled, up 133% in ten years from 785,000 people in 2000 to 1.8 million in 2010 . for proof that the country is far more comfortable with interracial marriages and families, look no further than power couples heidi klum and seal. heidi durro is the product of a mixed race family and talks about it on her award-winning podcast.

>> it not only shows that we are stronger as human beings , but as a society. that the fabric of our culture holds itself together better.

>> reporter: sociologists say what's striking is how the nation's attitudes on race seem to have changed so profoundly in 45 years since the civil rights movement .

>> this is a world that's becoming much more open to people of different backgrounds, different races.

>> reporter: the shift in attitudes in the deep south . of the ten states showing the largest increase in multi race white populations. nine were in the south. south carolina alone saw a 112% increase in the mixed race white population. meanwhile whites who identify themselves as being ethnically his ta pick also rose by 56% as america 's melting pot continues to bubble. tom costello, nbc news, washington.