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A snapshot of American diversity

Census survey shows nearly one in 10 counties in America has population of more than 50% minority residents.

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By Lara Moscrip, CNNMoney.com contributing writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Maricopa County in Arizona added more people than any other in the nation last year, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey released Thursday.

Maricopa, which includes Phoenix, gained 102,000 residents, of which 79,000 were minorities. Of those residents, 60,700 people are Hispanic, making up nearly 77% of newcomers, according to the census.

All told, Maricopa had a minority population of 1.6 million, or 41% of its residents.

The annual survey tracks age, sex and race across counties with 10,000 or more people.

"It's a fast-growing state and Maricopa is in the heart of that," said Greg Harper, a demographer with the Census Bureau.

The survey - based on estimates of U.S. population for July 1, 2007 - shows that nearly one in 10 counties in America has a population of more than 50% minority residents. This year's tally comes to 302 counties, down from 303 counties in 2006.

New Orleans on the rise

The 2007 survey is also the first to show a resurgence of people to the counties devastated by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

Orleans Parish - home to New Orleans - had the largest increase in black population, gaining 20,800 African-Americans.

Neighboring St. Bernard Parish was the fastest growing county in the nation, with a 97.3% increase in population, according to Harper.

"To some degree, the New Orleans area is bouncing back," Harper said. "This growth is a rebound from Katrina."

Diverse L.A. County

Los Angeles County led the nation in terms of diversity: it had the country's largest minority population, with 7 million people or 71% of the county's total. L.A. county was home to one in every 14 of the nation's minority residents.

The survey showed that the county had the largest Hispanic, Asian and American Indian and Alaska native population in the nation.

The county also had the nation's largest population of white residents, with 2.9 million people.

Oldest and youngest counties

La Paz County, Ariz., had the country's oldest population, according to the census. With 32% of its population 65 or older, it led 24 counties with at least one-quarter of their populations 65 or older.

According to the survey, four of the 10 counties with the highest proportion of children younger than 5 were in Texas. In 26 counties, 10% or more of total population was younger than 5.

Countywide change across the nation

  • Largest concentration of Hispanics: Starr County, Texas, 97.3%.
  • Largest African-American population: Cook County, Ill., 1.4 million.
  • Largest concentration of blacks: Claiborne County, Miss., 84.5%.
  • Largest increase in Asians: Santa Clara County, Calif., 18,400.
  • Largest concentration of American Indian or Alaska Native population: Shannon County, S.D., 87%.
  • Largest concentration of whites: Magoffin County, Ky., 98.9%.
  •  To top of page
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