Arkansas’ population is growing, aging, and becoming slightly more diverse in terms of race and ethnic background.
Arkansas’ population increased by 13% from 2000 to 2019, in comparison to 17% growth for the nation as a whole. Arkansas’ main years of population growth were from 2004 to 2008, with recent years having less growth. This growth has been unevenly distributed across counties within the state, with the majority of counties losing population over this time period.
Though still majority white, Arkansas is becoming slightly more diverse in terms of race and ethnicity. In 2019, Arkansans identified as 79% white, 16% black, 8% Hispanic, 2% Asian, 2% two or more races, 1% Native American, and 0.4% (11,800 individuals) Pacific Islander. Pacific Islanders and Hispanics were the groups that saw the largest percent growth in their populations from 2000 to 2019. Counties vary widely in their racial and ethnic diversity, ranging from Phillips County, which is majority minority, and has only 36% of residents identifying as white, to Baxter County (among others) which has 97% of residents identifying as white.
Arkansas is getting older, with increases in both its 60-84 and its 85+ age categories from 2000 to 2019. In 2019, 24% of its population was over age 60 (in contrast to 18% in 2000). Within the state, only 23% of counties saw their numbers of children and young adults (those under age 20) increase.
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