What Data from the 2010 Census Tell Us
about the Changing Child Population of the United
William P. O’Hare
Received: 22 August 2012 / Accepted: 2 January 2013 / Published online: 23 February 2013
Ó Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013
Abstract This article provides an overview of changes in the U.S. child popula-
tion (persons under age 18) based on data released from the 2010 census. Today, the
number of children in the United States (74.2 million) is at an all-time high, but
the share of the national population who are children (24 %) is at an all-time low.
The number of children in the population grew by 1.9 million between 2000 and
2010, but the overall national ﬁgure masks many important details and divergent
paths. The growing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. is more advanced among
children than among adults. Some areas of the country and some demographic
groups grew signiﬁcantly over the decade, while the number of children in other
areas and in other groups fell.
Keywords Children Á Census Á Demographics Á Trends Á Minorities
It is probably an overstatement to say ‘‘demography is destiny,’’ but it is fair to say
that demographic trends have strongly inﬂuenced the socioeconomic structure of
our country. Today, the country is undergoing a new demographic transformation.
The current geographic growth patterns and shifts in the racial/ethnic composition
of children are quite different from those of a decade or two ago. Moreover, given
the aging of today’s children into tomorrow’s adults, today’s child demographics
have a predictable impact on the future of the country.
Recent changes in the sociodemographic environment of childhood can be easily
seen by comparing the situation of today’s political leaders during childhood with
today’s children. When today’s leaders (mostly in their 50 and 60s) were growing
W. P. O’Hare (&)
O’Hare Data and Demographic Services, LLC, Ellicott City, MD, USA
Popul Res Policy Rev (2013) 32:767–789