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Racial and ethnic diversity of Unitarian Universalists

The United States is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse faster than the UUA.
By Christopher L. Walton
Spring 2010 2.15.10

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Racial and ethnic diversity of Unitarian Universalists, compared to the U.S. population, 1998–2008

U.S., 1998 UUs, 1997 U.S., 2008 UUs, 2008
White 72.3% 91.5% 65.6% 89.0%
Black 12.1% 1.3% 12.2% 1.0%
Hispanic 11.2% 1.0% 15.4% 3.0%
Asian 3.6% 0.7% 4.6% 3.0%
Nat. Amer. 0.7% 2.3% 0.8%
Multiracial 3.2% 1.7% 4.0%

This chart compares U.S. Census estimates of America’s racial and ethnic diversity for 1998 and 2008 with demographic data from two surveys of UUs, the 1997 UUA Fulfilling the Promise survey and the 2008 Pew Forum’s Religious Landscape Survey. Because the UUA and Pew Forum surveys tracked six racial/ethnic groups—whites, blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos/Latinas, Asians and Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and multiracial people—this chart shows that data alongside Census figures for non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics who identify with any one race, Asians and Native Hawaiians/ Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and multiracial people.

Paul Rasor’s analysis of the raw data from the UUA’s Fulfilling the Promise survey revealed that the published survey results overstated the percentage of UUs who identified as white. That figure—97.6%—included everyone who identified as white as well as those who said they were multiracial and who marked one of their racial backgrounds as white. UUs were not quite as uniformly white in 1997 as we had believed, but we have changed less than it may have seemed.

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