The majority of Americans will not be white by 2045, according to data that highlights the US’ increasingly diverse population.
An analysis of census data by the think-tank Brookings Institution estimates that white people will comprise less than 50 percent of the US population for the first time in history in little over two decades.
The majority of the population will be made up of minority ethnicities: 24.6 percent for Hispanics, 13.1 percent for blacks, 7.9 percent for Asians, and 3.8 percent for multiracial populations, the analysis claims.
Immigration and an increase in interracial couples are fueling the shift in a new era of so-called majority-minority population.
Some experts have refuted those conclusions though, due to concerns about who the government counts as ‘white’.
The US will become minority white in 2045, at which point whites will comprise 49.7 percent of the population in contrast to 24.6 percent for Hispanics, 13.1 percent for blacks, 7.9 percent for Asians, and 3.8 percent for multiracial populations
The white population will see a long-term decline through 2060, a consequence of more deaths than births
The population of white Americans is growing older as the predominantly-white generation of Baby Boomers, people who were born in the mid-1940s to the 1960s, ages. The latest census data shows the older population has climbed to nearly 56 million, up from 40 million a decade before.
This generation is about three-quarters white, which has meant that the white-majority population was the oldest of all racial groups per the 2020 census.
Additionally, the 65 and older age group is growing more rapidly than any other, and is the only age group whose white population is expected to grow between now and 2045 and beyond, according to analyses from the Brookings Institution.
Following the Baby Boomers, non-white people accounted for the greatest population growth and drastically drove up birth rates in the US in the years after World War II.
And now, among younger generations, the share of white people is shrinking, making Gen Z the last generation to be majority-white.
Currently, racial minorities make up more than half of Americans aged zero to 17 years old.
Of that population, Latino or Hispanic people make up the largest share at slightly more than 25 percent.
Brookings researcher William Frey, who carried out the analysis using 2020 census data, said the growing population of racial minority groups, especially Latino and Asian Americans, has compensated for the ‘aging and now declining white population’ in young people and those in the labor force.
In 2020, there was an overall decline in the number of children under 18 in the US population by about a million, which experts attributed to overall declining birth rates.
Still, the white alone non-Hispanic population makes up the largest share of the overall US population at about 58 percent, down from about 64 percent in 2010.
The shrinking white population can be explained both by higher levels of immigration among people in working age, as well as an influx of immigrant women of childbearing age.
Following a dip during the Covid pandemic, immigration through the southern border is up. The US Border Patrol reported more than 1.6 million encounters with migrants along the border with Mexico in the 2021 fiscal year, more than quadruple the number of the prior fiscal year and the highest annual total on record.
By 2060, the census projects whites will comprise only 36 percent of the under-18 population, with Hispanics accounting for 32 percent.
The findings in the Brookings analysis are not universally endorsed though, as some demographers have voiced uncertainty about how the census measures ‘whiteness’.
Many Americans with one white parent may identify as white or partly white on their census form. And Americans can choose more than one race and whether they are of Hispanic origin on those forms.
By 2060, the nation’s seniors will still be over half white though the census projects whites will comprise only 36 percent of the under age 18 population
White Americans make up 57.8 percent of the country, according to the data that was released on Thursday, a decrease of over 6 percent since 2010. That is the number of people who replied ‘white alone, non Hispanic or Latino’ to the survey. Another group who just answered ‘white alone’ make up 61 percent of the country, according to a data map.
Dr Mary Waters, a sociologist at Harvard University told the New York Times: ‘The question really for us as a society is there are all these people who look white, act white, marry white and live white, so what does white even mean anymore?
‘We are in a really interesting time, an indeterminate time, when we are not policing the boundary very strongly’.
Changing demographic patterns in the US have led to a ‘racial generation gap’ in which the younger population, influenced by immigration in recent decades, is far more diverse than older generations.
Shifting tides in the US’ demographic makeup has become a cultural lightning rod in the US and Western cultures more broadly, triggering heated debates about a nation’s identity, social norms, and political representation.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018, foreign-born adults made up nearly 66 percent of the US labor force compared to a lower 62 percent rate for adults born in the US.
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