The African-American population in the nine-county Memphis metro area has not yet reached a majority but it has surpassed the number of non-Hispanic white residents, recently released Census Bureau estimates show.

The racial breakdown estimates for July 1, 2013, released June 26, are black , 624, 184 (46.5 percent); non-Hispanic white, 607, 274 (45.3 percent), and other, 110,288 (8.2 percent). The other group consists of Asians, Hispanic white residents, people reporting two or more races and people of other races.

The racial breakdown at the time of the 2010 Census was African-American, 607,762 (45.9);  non-Hispanic white, 614,669 (46.4), and other, 102,398 (7.7).

For years, the Memphis area has had the highest percentage of black population among large metropolitan areas, and it is considered likely to become the nation’s first majority black metro area.

The accuracy of the Census Bureau’s annual estimates vary from year to year. The bureau’s once-a-decade census counts provide more accurate numbers than the year-to-year estimates. However, demographers say the annual estimates generally do a good job of reflecting population trends.

For instance, the annual estimates between 2000 and 2010 reflected a major increase in DeSoto County’s black population. The 2010 Census verified that the growth had occurred.

The latest census estimates reflect that DeSoto County’s black population is continuing to grow at a faster pace than the county’s white population. According to the estimates, DeSoto’s black population rose from 35,421 in 2010 to 40,603 in 2013 while the number of non-Hispanic white residents rose from 113,688 to 115,002.

Under Census Bureau definitions, “Hispanic” is a person whose family at some point came from several specific countries with a Spanish culture or origin. A Hispanic person can be a person of any race. On census forms, most Hispanic residents identify themselves as white.

The estimates for 2013 show that the metro area had 69,682 Hispanic residents, including 65,643 white Hispanic residents. The 2010 Census count showed the area had 65.543 Hispanic residents

During the 2000 to 2010 decade, census numbers showed DeSoto County to be Mississippi’s fastest growing county and it was listed among nation’s top 100 fastest growing counties. However, during this decade, Lamar and Lafayette (Oxford) counties have been Mississippi’s fastest growing.

Lafayette, at 51st  with an 8.4 percent growth rate,  is the only Mississippi county on this year’s national list of fastest growing counties during  2010-2013.

If the population estimates for 2013 are generally accurate, the declining non-Hispanic white numbers reflect that a significant number of white residents are moving away from the entire nine-county area.

Research in the past decade or two using Internal Revenue Service data shows that people overall who are moving out of the  Memphis area are taking higher incomes with them than the people who are moving into the area.

Here are the Census Bureau’s estimated population numbers for July 1, 2013:

Counties                     Total               Black      Non-Hispanic White          Other

Shelby                          939,465           498,512              353,252                              87,701

Fayette                        38,690             10,773                  26,365                                 1,552

Tipton                          61,586             11,531                  46,995                                 3,060

DeSoto                         168,240           40,603             115,002                                12,635

Benton                         8,571               3,149                      5,143                                     279

Marshall                      36,515             17,294                 17,653                                   1,568

Tate                             28,373             8,780                  18,467                                    1,126

Tunica                         10,560             7,932                   2,227                                       401

Crittenden                   49,746             25,610                22,170                                     1,966

Total Metro Area      1,341,746        624,184                607,274                              110,288

Source: U.S. Census Bureau