10 simple charts that show the wild ways America has changed since 2010

Former US President Barack Obama REUTERS/Jim Young
  • The 2010s are about to come to a close, and America has changed a lot over the last 10 years.
  • Over the last decade, America has become larger, more prosperous, better educated, and more diverse.
  • We put together 10 charts showing what those changes have looked like since 2010.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The 2010s are about to come to a close, and America has changed a lot over the last 10 years.

At the start of the decade, the economy was just coming out of the depths of the Great Recession, when millions of Americans lost their jobs and homes after a housing market crash and financial crisis between 2007 and 2009. As the 2010s come to a close, a decade of more-or-less steady economic growth has slowly but surely brought unemployment to its lowest point in decades.

America has become larger, more prosperous, better educated, and more diverse. As we wait to see what the 2020s have in store, here are 10 charts that show how America’s economy and population have changed since 2010:

America’s population has steadily grown over the decade.


In 2010, the Census Bureau counted about 309 million Americans, rising to an estimated 327 million in 2018, the most recent year for which estimates are available.

The 2010s were a decade of economic recovery.


After the darkest days of the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009, gross domestic product, a broad measure of overall economic activity, grew at a steady rate throughout the decade.

The labour market has also steadily improved over the decade.


Unemployment was as high as 10% in 2010 in the wake of the recession, and has declined to its current level below 4%.

Job growth, another key metric of the labour market, has also been steady throughout the decade.


The US is currently enjoying a record 110-month-long streak of net monthly job creation.

Average hourly wage growth was low in the wake of the recession, but has begun accelerating more recently.


However, wage growth remains weaker than many economists would have expected given low unemployment and continued strong job growth.

Similarly to wages, total income growth for the typical household was mostly flat through the first half of the decade, but has accelerated over the last few years.


Adjusted for inflation, the typical household’s income was about 11% higher in 2018 than in 2010.

Americans have continued a decades-long pattern of becoming more educated.


The share of people age 25 and over with at least four years of college rose from about 30% in 2010 to 35% in 2018.

That increased level of education has come with a price, however, as student debt levels have nearly doubled since the start of the decade.


According to the New York Fed’s quarterly report on American consumer debt, the total outstanding balance of student loans has risen from about $US758 billion at the start of 2010 to just under $US1.5 trillion as of Q3 2019, a 98% increase. The student-debt crisis could hamper the economic prospects of millennials and Gen Z into the 2020s and beyond.

The American population has gradually been getting older.


About 16% of the population was over 65 years old in 2018, up from 13% in 2010.

America has become more diverse over the last decade.


The share of Americans identifying as non-Hispanic white dropped from 64% in 2010 to 60% in 2018.