For the first time, more white Americans are dying than are being born, according to new census data that suggests non-Hispanic whites will become a minority in the United States by 2043.
“These new census estimates are an early signal alerting us to the impending decline in the white population that will characterize most of the 21st century,” William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, told The New York Times
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For the year ending July 1, 2012, there was a disparity by about 12,000 people, which in itself wasn't large. But when coupled with the majority of births in the United States now coming to Hispanic, black and Asian mothers, experts say white Americans will be a minority within the next 30 years.
The figures showed that 49.9 percent of children under five are members of minorities, the Associated Press reported
The change means that "today’s racial and ethnic minorities will no longer be dependent on older whites for their economic well-being,” Frey said. Instead, the nation will likely be reliant on "younger minorities and immigrants for our future demographic and economic growth."
Another demographer, Kenneth Johnson of the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute told USA Today
that 80 percent of deaths were among whites as more and more baby boomers pass away.
"The number of white deaths is going to go up, whereas the number of white births, I don't think, is going to change very much," he said.
While anti-immigration critics might be quick to blame Hispanics for the population shift, Asians are the ethnic group with the largest population growth in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau
According to information released Thursday, the Census Bureau says the Asian population in the United States rose by 530,000, or 2.9 percent last year, to 18.2 million people. Most of the growth in population came from those emigrating to the United States.
Hispanics are close behind though. Their population grew by 2.2 percent, and they still greatly outnumber Asians, with 53 million Hispanics living in the United States in 2012.
The Latino population grew more by natural increases with more births than deaths, than from immigration.
Hispanics still outnumber Asians and represent the nation's second largest ethnic group, making up 17 percent of the total population, reported the Census Bureau.
Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders (climbing 2.2 percent to about 1.4 million), American Indians and Alaska Natives (rising 1.5 percent to a little over 6.3 million), and blacks (increasing 1.3 percent to 44.5 million) followed Asians and Hispanics in percentage growth rates.
The population shift will affect the country's finances and its economy, Frey speculates. Programs like Social Security and Medicare will rely on the "success of waves of young Hispanics, Asians and blacks who will become the bulwark of our labor force.”
The population changes among whites surprised experts, who had believe the aging white population would shrink, like it has in Europe, but not so quickly.
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Kenneth Johnson, the senior demographer at the Carsey Institute said the changes will continue as white baby boomers get older, which "guarantees that non-Hispanic white natural decrease will be a significant part of the nation’s demographic future.”
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