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Smart Talk: The new minority

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The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported last week after the release of 2010 Census data that whites were in the minority in Little Rock for the first time. Some of that depends on what you mean by white.

Little Rock's population of more than 193,000 was 48.9 percent white, with a majority something else, according to the Census. Blacks accounted for 42.3 percent of the population. But who are the rest, about 9 percent of the population? The largest segment of the remainder are a blend of other, unspecified races. Odds are that many of these are Latino, though that is not considered a race for Census purposes. Latinos now make up more than 6 percent of city population. But it seems a safe guess that, for political purposes, whites are about equivalent in number to blacks and Latinos in Little Rock. It is a fact not reflected on the Little Rock Board of Directors. Seven of its 10 members are white, as is Mayor Mark Stodola. Three are black. None is Latino. The declining white population in Little Rock and the rise in "minority" populations seem likely to hold political significance in years ahead, perhaps in the continuing desire among some minority groups to see all the city leadership elected by ward. Now, three seats are elected at-large.

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