US Census: Population Growing Older, More Diverse

Tuesday, 01 Jul 2014 02:38 PM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

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Statistics show the United States is becoming an older and more diverse nation as the number of white deaths in 2013 outweighed the number of white births for the second consecutive year.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data released June 26, Americans age 65 and older  now number 44.7 million, a 3.6 increase between 2012 and 2013.

In 2013, whites composed 62.6 percent of the general population, but were only 52.4 percent of the population under age 18 in 2013. That figure represents an all-time high, Census Bureau Director John Thompson said.

The data show the two demographic shifts occurring.

"The population in the Great Plains energy boom states is becoming younger and more male as workers move in seeking employment in the oil and gas industry, while the U.S. as a whole continues to age as the youngest of the baby boom generation enters their 50s,"  Thompson said.

The median age of the U.S. population moved from 37.5 years to 37.6 years.

Although the minority population continues to grow, D'vera Cohn of the Pew Research Center notes that a poor economy following the recession has slowed the nation’s transition to a majority-minority youth population.

"But after the onset of the Great Recession in 2007, U.S. births dropped sharply, in a break with the past. The number of births declined from 2007 to 2012 before ticking up slightly in 2013, according to preliminary data from the National Center for Health Statistics. The nation’s birth rate, which has been declining since 2007, hit a record low in 2013. Birth rate declines were especially steep for immigrant and Hispanic women," she writes.

Contrary to popular belief, the group to experience the fastest increase between 2012 and 2013 was not Hispanics, but Asians. According to the Census Bureau, due to an increase in international migration, the number of Asians increased 2.9 percent to 19.4 million.
Hispanics, however, remain the second-largest group overall, growing by 2.1 percent (or more than 1.1 million) to slightly more than 54 million, and their growth was driven by "natural increase" (births minus deaths).

A June 19 Pew report examining government statistics found the recession had an impact on the demographics of the Latino working population.

According to Pew, among the 22 million employed Latinos in the United States in 2013, fewer than half were immigrants. This represents a decline from the pre-recession peak of 56.1 percent in 2007.

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