Census: White Population Will Lose Majority In U.S. By 2043

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White people will no longer make up a majority of Americans by 2043, according to new census projections. That’s part of a historic shift that already is reshaping the nation’s schools, workforce and electorate, and is redefining long-held notions of race.

America continues to grow and become more diverse due to higher birth rates among minorities, particularly for Hispanics who entered the U.S. at the height of the immigration boom in the 1990s and early 2000s. Since the mid-2000 housing bust, however, the arrival of millions of new immigrants from Mexico and other nations has slowed from its once-torrid pace.

The country’s changing demographic mosaic has stark political implications, shown clearly in last month’s election that gave President Barack Obama a second term – in no small part due to his support from 78 percent of non-white voters.

There are social and economic ramifications, as well. Longstanding fights over civil rights and racial equality are going in new directions, promising to reshape race relations and common notions of being a “minority.” White plaintiffs now before the Supreme Court argue that special protections for racial and ethnic minorities dating back to the 1960s may no longer be needed, from affirmative action in college admissions to the Voting Rights Act, designed for states with a history of disenfranchising blacks.

Residential segregation has eased and intermarriage for first- and second-generation Hispanics and Asians is on the rise, blurring racial and ethnic lines and lifting the numbers of people who identify as multiracial. Unpublished 2010 census data show that millions of people shunned standard race categories such as black or white on government forms, opting to write in their own cultural or individual identities.

By 2060, multiracial people are projected to more than triple, from 7.5 million to 26.7 million – rising even faster and rendering notions of race labels increasingly irrelevant, experts say, if lingering stigma over being mixed-race can fully fade.

The non-Hispanic white population, now at 197.8 million, is projected to peak at 200 million in 2024, before entering a steady decline in absolute numbers as the massive baby boomer generation enters its golden years. Four years after that, racial and ethnic minorities will become a majority among adults 18-29 and wield an even greater impact on the “youth vote” in presidential elections, census projects.

As recently as 1960, whites made up 85 percent of the U.S., but that share has steadily dropped after a 1965 overhaul of U.S. immigration laws opened doors to waves of new immigrants from Mexico, Latin America and Asia. By 2000, the percentage of U.S. whites had slid to 69 percent; it now stands at nearly 64 percent.

The U.S. has nearly 315 million people today. The U.S. population is projected to cross the 400 million mark in 2051, 12 years later than previously projected. The population will hit 420.3 million a half century from now in 2060.

 

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.

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.

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

Economically, the rapidly growing non-white population gives the U.S. an advantage over other developed nations, including Russia, Japan and France, which are seeing reduced growth or population losses due to declining birth rates and limited immigration. The combined population of more-developed countries other than the U.S. has been projected to decline beginning in 2016, raising the prospect of prolonged budget crises as the number of working-age citizens diminish, pension costs rise and tax revenues fall.

Depending on future rates of immigration, the U.S. population is estimated to continue growing through at least 2060. In a hypothetical situation in which all immigration – both legal and illegal – immediately stopped, previous government estimates have suggested the U.S. could lose population beginning in 2048.

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Posted on February 3, 2013, in Article and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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