Five key demographic lessons to learn from the results of the Chatham U.S. census in 2020

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By Victoria Johnson, Chatham News + Registration Staff

Chatham County’s population grew by about 20% from 2010 to 2020, according to data from the 2020 U.S. Census – and just like the majority of the United States, most of that growth comes from Chatham’s minority populations.

The US Census Bureau began publishing detailed population statistics in mid-August; by mid-September, most of this data had become more readily available on the office’s website, data.census.gov. Using this data, along with data from previous censuses dating back to 1990, the News + Record has compiled five key points on Chatham County’s demographic trends in 2020:

Chatham is becoming increasingly racially and ethnically diverse.

In 1990, the population of Chatham County was approximately 75.3% White, 22.7% Black, and 1.4% Hispanic (all races). The other races made up less than 1% of the county’s population. The 1990 census did not identify individuals of two or more races.

In 2020, however, Chatham’s population was 69.6% White, 10.2% Black, 13.6% Hispanic (any race), 2.1% Asian, and 3.9% multiracial. Collectively, the other races – Native Americans and Alaskans, Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, plus “another race” – make up less than 1% of the county’s population.

Chatham’s white population is not declining, but its share of the county’s population is.

For the first time on record, the non-Hispanic white population of the United States declined in 2020, from 196 million in 2010 to 191 million last year. Its overall share of the U.S. population has also declined, from 63.7% in 2010 to 57.8% in 2020.

In Chatham, however, things look a little different. The county’s non-Hispanic white population has grown by around 17%, although its share of Chatham’s population has grown from 71.2% to 69.6% in the past decade.

Across North Carolina, the non-Hispanic white population grew by about 1.4%. In 2020, about 60% of the state’s population identified as white.

Chatham’s Hispanic population grew by a quarter from 2010 to 2020. It is now the largest minority population in the county.

Chatham County’s Hispanic population grew by about 26% from 2010 to 2020, according to 2020 U.S. Census data, overtaking Chatham’s black population as the county’s largest minority group.

In 2010, the U.S. Decennial Census found that 8,228 Chatham residents, or 13 percent, identified as Hispanic / Latino, a 73.5 percent increase in population from 2000, when the overall Hispanic population of the county was just over 4,700.

In 2020, the census counted 10,372 Hispanic residents in Chatham County out of 76,285 people, or about 13.6% of the county’s population. In Siler City, nearly 51% of residents identified as Hispanic / Latino, while about 10.7% of Pittsboro residents are Hispanic.

Chatham’s growth rate is well below the state’s Hispanic population growth rate (40%). Today, nearly 11%, or 1.1 million, of North Carolina residents identify as Hispanic, according to 2020 census data.

Chatham’s non-Hispanic black population has steadily declined over the past 30 years.

For 30 years, the Decennial Census of the United States found that Chatham’s non-Hispanic black population was declining, albeit slightly. In 1990, the census counted 8,794 non-Hispanic black residents. In 2000, that number fell from a few hundred to 8,355, and then another hundred in 2010 to 8,272.

In 2020, Chatham’s non-Hispanic black population numbered 7,768, a 7% decrease from the overall population from 2010 to 2020. In contrast, North Carolina’s non-Hispanic black population grew by nearly 88,000 people. (4.3%) between 2010 and 2020.

Chatham’s multiracial population experienced the highest growth rate between 2010 and 2020.

In 2010, the US census identified 819 multiracial non-Hispanic residents of Chatham. In 2020, the number rose to 2,937 residents, an increase of 258.6%. From 2000 to 2020, this growth rate is even higher at 741.5%. Many multiracial residents also identified as Hispanic / Latino; combined, 5,462 Chatham residents – Hispanic and non-Hispanic – identified as multiracial.

Chatham’s non-Hispanic Asian population had the second highest growth rate, growing 132.9% from 2010 to 2020.


Chapelboro.com has partnered with Chatham News + Record to bring more Chatham-focused stories to our audience.

The Chatham News + Registration is Chatham County’s source for local news and journalism. The Chatham News, established in 1924, and the Chatham Record, founded in 1878, have come together to better serve the Chatham community under the name Chatham News + Record. Covering news, business, sports and more, News + Record strives to strengthen community ties through compelling coverage of life in Chatham County.


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