When United States census data gets released once a decade, it mostly just confirms what we know by looking around us.

But that doesn't mean the numbers themselves and the analysis of what they mean aren't fascinating windows into our America.

The headline this time around had to be the Latino-ization of the United States.

That was big news after the 2000 Census as well. But 10 years ago, the preponderance here of people with roots in Latin America was more confined to the parts of our country that were once part of Latin America themselves: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida.

Those states have not only lots of people with genetic roots in Mexico and Central and South America and Spain, but also political roots in the Spanish colonies of the New World.

The news out of the 2010 census includes:

Latinos just surged past African Americans as the second-largest ethnic group in New Jersey.

Ten states have populations in which more than half the children are minorities, including California, Mississippi, Georgia, Maryland, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico and Hawaii.

Minority is still a useful term, so far as it goes - for all the demographic changes, non-Latino whites make up 64 percent of the U.S. population at about 196 million of the 310 million Americans. But that's down from 69 percent 10 years ago.

The multiracial population is up all around the country, though the numbers are still small - partially because it's a census option, with many African Americans, including President Barack Obama, still checking "black" when given the choice. But among children, the multiracial population increased almost 50 percent over the past 10 years, to 4.2 million. That makes kids of mixed race the fastest-growing group of youths.

California is increasingly Latino - though, even without the numbers, we knew that already. Our state's Latino population grew by 27.8 percent over the decade. Just over 40 percent of Californians are white, and 37.6 percent Latino, numbers that in another 10 years will likely have equaled out.

More surprising, but still not shocking, is that the fastest-growing group of Californians is Asians, up 31 percent since 2000, now 12.8 percent of Californians.

That, and that essentially all population growth is inland. The counties of Riverside, Kern, San Joaquin and Tulare were the fastest-growing in the state. The slowest-growing were the coastal counties of San Francisco, Monterey, San Mateo and our very own Los Angeles.

What are we headed? Probably to a time, say around the census of 2110, when everyone in the country can check "mixed" on their forms, and we have truly become an American race.