The newest U.S. census data numbers show that Asians and Hispanics are on their way to becoming the new majority groups in the United States and will soon overtake white Americans in population growth, revealing a glimpse of what will become the “new normal,” as minority groups become the majority.
Approximately 49.9 percent of children under 5 years of age in the U.S. are racial and ethnic minorities, the Census Bureau reported Thursday, and for the first time in American history, the number of deaths outnumbered the number of births among non-Hispanic whites between July 2011 and July 2012. During the same time period, the U.S. Hispanic population grew by 2.2 percent – more than 1.1 million – second only to Asians, a population group which rose by 2.9 percent.
Based on these statistics, young children currently in the minority will soon become “majority-minority” as the white population in the United States declines, said Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau’s acting director.
According to analysis by the Associated Press, the shift in population growth resulting in a majority-minority nation could happen by 2043.
“These numbers confirm trends we had seen coming for years,” says Mark Hugo Lopez, Associate Director of the Pew Hispanic Center. “And the rapid growth in the Hispanic population, coupled with the young Latinos who make up the largest minority group on the nation’s college campuses, has serious implication for the nation’s labor market and economy.”
Worth noting, explains Lopez, is that the high rate of births among Latinos accounts more for population growth than immigration does. Births accounted for 76 percent of Hispanic population growth between 2011 and 2012, reports the new Census data, and now Latinos account for approximately 17 percent of the nation’s total population.
“Latinos do make up the majority of immigrants overall,” notes Lopez. “But many of the nation’s unauthorized Latino immigrants have been in the U.S. for ten years or more and have formed families here, which helps account for the increase in the population.”
According to the latest census numbers, California currently has the largest Hispanic population in the country: approximately 14.5 million as of July 1, 2012. In addition five states or equivalents were majority-minority in 2012: Hawaii (77.2 percent minority), Washington, D.C. (64.5 percent), California, (60.6 percent), New Mexico (60.2 percent) and Texas (55.5 percent).
“Many Latinos are growing up in places like South Carolina, Minnesota or Nebraska where the state’s Hispanic population has grown exponentially,” says Lopez. “And as these Latinos reach adulthood, we’ll begin to see how there’s a notable diversity across the Hispanic experience in the U.S.”
As population growth among U.S. Hispanics continues to soar, the numbers will confirm the importance of Latinos not only to the America’s economic growth, but to the global economy, says Lopez.
“The U.S. Hispanic population is second only to Mexico’s,” says Lopez, citing the fact that the current U.S. Latino population is larger than that of Peru, Colombia or Spain.
“We will begin to play many different roles in the U.S. labor market and beyond – and that’s something which has an incredible implication not only in the United States, but as part of a larger Hispanic world.”