It’s a well-documented fact that the number of Latinos is growing in the United States, but according to a new study children may be the face of that change.
According to the federal government’s annual statistical study, called the America’s Children Report, about half of the American population under age 17 will be either Hispanic, Asian or of two or more races by the year 2050. The report projects that 36 percent of those children will be Hispanic, up from 24 percent in 2012.
Renee Ellis, a family demographer with the Census Bureau and a contributor to the America’s Children Report, attributes the demographic change to two main factors: less children overall and women waiting to have kids.
“We are projecting that there will be more [Hispanic, Asian, Black and multiracial] children than white, non-Hispanic,” Ellis says. “That is partially because of the decline in overall children and fertility, and this is because women are having less children later in life.”
The study also found that all women are having children less frequently and later. Although white women are doing so at a faster rate, Hispanic women are delaying childbirth more than ever across all demographics. Latinas are now having their first child most frequently between the ages of 25 and 29 compared to two years ago when they tended to have their first child between 20 and 24 years old.
The National Institute of Health report showed a drop in the proportion of children in the U.S. population. While the percent of white and black children declined, the percentage of Hispanic and Asian children increased.
The shrinking child population will contribute to a dramatic demographic shift, Ellis says.
“This is partially driven by the economy and women delaying childbirth,” she explains. “So, the age of first birth has been increasing, at least since 2010, so overall, the population of children [under 17-years-old] is declining.”
In addition to an increasing share of Latino children in the American population, there is also a projected increase of multiracial children from 4 to 7 percent by 2050.