Census Bureau: Next Gen Minorities May Be New Majority

Thursday, 14 Aug 2008 04:09 PM

By Jim Meyers

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Ethnic and racial minorities will account for a majority of the U.S. population in a little more than a generation, according to new projections from the Census Bureau.

The Bureau calculates that by 2042, Americans who identify themselves as Hispanic, black, Asian, American Indian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander will outnumber non-Hispanic whites. Four years ago, officials had projected the shift would not occur until 2050.

The main reason for the accelerating change is significantly higher birthrates among immigrants, The New York Times reports.

Another factor is the influx of foreigners. Their numbers will rise from about 1.3 million a year today to more than 2 million annually by the middle of the century, according to projections.

“No other country has experienced such rapid racial and ethnic change,” Mark Mather, a demographer with the Population Reference Bureau, a research organization in Washington, told The Times.

The Census Bureau projects:

  • So-called minorities will constitute a majority of the nation’s children under 18 by the year 2023, and of working-age Americans by 2039.

  • Non-Hispanic whites, who now account for 66 percent of the population, will comprise 46 percent by 2050.

  • By 2050, the number of Hispanic people will nearly triple, from 47 million to 133 million, to account for 30 percent of Americans. They comprise 15 percent today.

  • The number of Asians will soar to 41 million from 16 million by mid-century, and they will make up more than 9 percent of the population, up from 5 percent.

  • More than three times as many people are expected to identify themselves as multiracial by 2050 — 16 million, accounting for nearly 4 percent of the population.

  • The number of Americans who define themselves a black is projected to rise from 41 million to 66 million, or 15 percent of the population.

    William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, said that by the 2028 presidential election, racial and ethnic minorities will constitute a majority of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 for the first time.

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