By Rosaland Tyler
New Journal and Guide
Many African American mayors were sworn into office in large and small cities and towns in January 2022, at a time when census records show white populations are declining.
In major cities, New York Mayor Eric Adams raised his right hand and was sworn into office in a Times Square ceremony on Jan. 1. Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens was sworn in Jan. 3, Vivian McKenzie was sworn in as the mayor of Peekskill, N.Y. on New Year’s Day. Warner Robins, Ga. Mayor LaRhonda Patrick became the first female and African American to be sworn into office as mayor on Jan. 1. In Buffalo, Byron Brown was recently sworn into office for his fifth term.
But before you read about other new mayors of color, consider this. ” The white, non-Hispanic population. . . decreased by 8.6% since 2010, according to the new data from the 2020 census. The U.S. is now 57.8% white, 18.7% Hispanic, 12.4% Black and 6% Asian,” USA Today reported in an August 2021 report.
“Black or African American populations were dominant in parts of the South, while Hispanic or Latino residents were most prevalent in the Southwest and West,” USA Today noted. “Native Americans were predominant in places where there are tribal lands in parts of Alaska, the Southwest, and Midwest.”
This means surging demographic shifts are happening right now. You can no longer turn a blind eye to the surge in the Hispanic or Latino population–which are the second-most prevalent group spanning the entire continental United States. That covers many counties in every region, census officials noted in a recent release.
This means the math explains why numerous African American mayors raised their right hand and were sworn into office throughout the USA.
For example, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey was sworn in as the first African Mayor on Jan 2, 2022. Melvin Carter was sworn into his second term as mayor of St. Paul, Minn., four years after being elected the first African American mayor in the city’s history.
Ken Welch, the first African American to be elected mayor of St. Petersburg, was not sworn into office due to the pandemic but assumed office online on Jan. 10. Durham Mayor Elaine O’Neal was sworn in as mayor of Durham, N.C. on December, 6, 2021. She is the city’s first African American female mayor. Other African American mayors are City Hall fixtures such as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot elected in 2019. Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser was elected in 2015. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodin was elected in 2017.
This is the bottom line.
Census data shows that the nation’s population is turning dark. Estimates show that nearly four of 10 Americans identify with a race or ethnic group other than white, and suggest that the 2010 to 2020 decade will be the first in the nation’s history in which the white population declined in numbers.
The Bookings Institute focused on this trend years ago. Since 2010, “As of 2019, 27 of the 100 largest metropolitan areas have minority-white populations, including the major metropolises of New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Miami—as well as Dallas, Atlanta, and Orlando, Fla., which reached this status by 2010.”
This means more African American mayors are in office because the white population declined from 2016 and 2019. Specifically, the white population declined from 197,845,666 to 197,309,822, in yearly amounts of -97,507, -212,957 and -225,380. This three-year loss of over a half-million whites was enough to counter gains earlier in the decade, in total yielding a loss of white U.S. residents from 2010 to 2019,” census data noted.
This means that in the past nine years, more mayors of color raised their right hand at an inauguration ceremony and were sworn into office in the USA because people of color continue to outnumber white.. There is no evidence that the present demographic trends will slow down, be stopped or reversed unless significant policy changes are implemented.
Republicans are less likely to accept demographic shifts. So records explain why about a third of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents (34 percent) say the decline of the white share of the population is bad for society, including 38 percent of conservative Republicans and 26 percent of moderate and liberal Republicans. Few Republicans (5 percent) say it is good for society, according to The Pew Research Center
In other words, the demographic shift is a fact of life but some Republicans refuse to accept the facts. The greatest winners of the demographic shift are African American females who lead eight of the nation’s 100 largest cities. Black female mayors hold office in eight of the 100 cities with the largest populations in the United States, according to data from the Center for American Women and Politics.
If you are thinking of running for mayor, look at the shifting demographics in California, Maryland and New Jersey. These states saw the second greatest white population decrease (-8% each). West Virginia, Illinois and Mississippi were the only states to see their total population decrease along with its non-Hispanic white population.
According to the Pew Research Center, “Only 15 states and the District of Columbia saw increases in their non-Hispanic White populations from 2010 to 2020, with the largest coming in D.C. (+25%), Utah (+11%) and Idaho (+10%).”