December 13, 2012

In Focus: The changing face of America

Census projections say that in 2060 the percentage of whites will fall to about 43 percent, the black populace will grow slightly to 14.7 percent and Hispanics will more than double – to about 31 percent.

By HOPE YEN The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

CALIFORNIA CENSUS
click image to enlarge

This Hispanic family in Los Angeles is part of the fastest growing demographic in America. Even with slowing immigration, the “die has been cast” for strong minority growth from births, said one immigration expert.

The Associated Press

The population will hit 420.3 million a half century from now in 2060.

By then, whites will drop to 43 percent of the U.S. Blacks will make up 14.7 percent, up slightly from today. Hispanics, currently 17 percent of the population, will more than double in absolute number, making up 31 percent, or nearly 1 in 3 residents, according to the projections. Asians are expected to increase from 5 percent of the population to 8 percent.

Among children, the point when minorities become the majority is expected to arrive much sooner, by 2018 or so. Last year, racial and ethnic minorities became a majority among babies under age 1 for the first time in U.S. history.

At the same time, the U.S. population as a whole is aging, driven by 78 million mostly white baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964.

By 2030, roughly 1 in 5 residents will be 65 and older. Over the next half century, the "oldest old" -- those ages 85 and older -- will more than triple to 18.2 million, reaching 4 percent of the U.S. population.

The actual shift in demographics will be shaped by a host of factors that can't always be accurately pinpointed -- the pace of the economic recovery, cultural changes, natural or manmade disasters, as well as an overhaul of immigration law, which is expected to be debated in Congress early next year.

"The next half century marks key points in continuing trends -- the U.S. will become a plurality nation, where the non-Hispanic white population remains the largest single group, but no group is in the majority," said acting Census Bureau Director Thomas Mesenbourg.

Republicans have been seeking to broaden their appeal to minorities, who made up 28 percent of the electorate this year, after faring poorly among non-whites on Election Day, when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney carried only about 20 percent of non-white votes.

The race and ethnicity changes are already seen in pockets of the U.S. and in the younger age groups, where roughly 45 percent of all students in K-12 are Hispanics, blacks, Asian-Americans and others. Already, the District of Columbia and four states -- Hawaii, California, New Mexico and Texas -- have minority populations greater than 50 percent; across the U.S., more than 11 percent of counties have tipped to "majority-minority" status.

Last month, most voters over age 65 were white (87 percent), but among voters under age 30, just 58 percent were white.

"Irrespective of future immigration and minority fertility patterns, the U.S. is facing a stagnating white population," said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution.

"The biggest shift will occur over the next 20 years as the mostly white baby boom generation moves into traditional retirement years.

"It is in the child and early labor force ages where we must be ready for the greatest changes as new American minorities take over for aging whites."

 

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)