How has the number of people identifying as ‘white alone’ changed in Cobb County?

Logo for Cobb by the Numbers which includes stylized drawing of a pie chart, a bar chart, and a line graph

This is one of a series of short observations taken from the 2020 census. Since I’m making observations on the meaning of these numbers, these articles fall somewhere between hard news and opinion. So take them in that spirit.

The 2020 Census data has been released for a few months now, and the U.S. Census Bureau has been steadily rolling out the information in more easy-to-use format.

Given the current voting patterns by demographics nationwide, one of the most important categories to look at when evaluating political trends is “white alone.”

Nationwide the general trend has been that the higher the “white alone” population, the stronger the GOP, the lower that number, the stronger the Democratic Party. There are nuances and exceptions to that (Texas, Maine) and ups and downs based on local issues and voter turnout, but in general, that trend holds.

The Census page on race definition states, “White Alone refers to people who reported White and did not report any other race category.”

It’s also often described as “non-Hispanic white,” since Hispanics are the largest population that was historically folded into the category of “white” by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The white alone percentage in Cobb County stands at 50.9 percent. In the 2010 census, the number stood at 62.2 percent, so there has been a drop of 11.3 percent of the white alone population of the county.

This moved in lock-step with the shift in political power in the county from Republican to Democratic (countywide offices, the Board of Commissioners, the state legislative delegation).

Gerrymandering might shift the balance around a bit in terms of legislative seats, district seats, and school board seats, but it’s doubtful the trends of the past ten years will reverse.