The week of June 7 to 14 is multiracial heritage week. Over 11 million people in the United States identify as multiracial or belonging to two or more races. In 2010, Arkansas had just over 49 thousand individuals, or about 1.7% of the state’s then 2.92 million residents, that self-identified as multiracial.

As Image 1 indicates, Arkansas’ two largest multiracial groups are White and American Indian or Alaska Native (AIAN), representing 44% of the state’s multiracial population, and White and Black or African American, comprising 26%. Of the remaining residents classified as multiracial, 20% identify as combinations unrecognized by the Census Bureau, 8% as White and Asian, and 1% as Black or African American and AIAN.

Table 1 shows that from 2010 to 2019, Arkansas’ multiracial population jumped from 49,157 to 83,603, an increase of 71%. Multiracial residents are now the state’s third-largest racial group and makeup 2.8% of the total population. The growth rate for multiracial groups far outpaced Arkansas’s overall population growth of 3.3% for this period, a discrepancy possibly attributable to many Arkansans’ growing willingness to declare their racial background.

As the number of residents in the state identifying as multiracial increased, the percentage of individuals within the racial groupings designated by the Census Bureau shifted. Table 1 indicates that by 2019, 38% of multiracial individuals identified as White and AIAN, 32% White and Black or African American, 11% White and Asian, 3% Black or African American and AIAN, and 15% in unofficial combinations.

Image 1

Table 1 – Multi-racial population in Arkansas by combination and year, 2010-2019

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