Black Americans have long been the largest ethnic or racial group in the District of Columbia, accounting for 60% of the population in 2000 (when they numbered 343,312), among the highest percentages of any major US city.
Between 1970 and 1980, the population of groups other than white and black almost quadrupled within the Washington metropolitan area, reaching 134,209 in 1980. Southeast Asians made up a significant proportion of the immigrants, as did Mexicans and Central and South Americans. The District's racial and ethnic minorities in 2000 included 44,953 Hispanics and Latinos (up from 33,000 in 1990) and 15,189 Asians (including 3,734 Chinese and 2,845 Asian Indians). There also were 1,713 American Indians living in the District.
There were 73,561 foreign-born residents, accounting for 12.9% of the District's total population, in 2000. In addition, the many foreign-born residents attached to foreign embassies and missions contribute to Washington's ethnic diversity.