A preview of the final 2010 census data suggests that the racial composition of America is shifting. For the first time in history, more than half of the children in the U.S. under the age of two are minorities. The new information is further proof that the U.S. is becoming significantly browner, and by the middle of the century, many researchers suggest that racial and ethnic minorities will become the majority.
The Washington Post reports:
“Currently, non-Hispanic whites make up just under half of all children 3 years old, which is the youngest age group shown in the Census Bureau’s October 2009 annual survey, its most recent. In 1990, more than 60 percent of children in that age group were white.”
Tweleve states–Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Maryland, Georgia, New Jersey, New York and Mississippi–and Washington D.C. already have white populations below 50-percent, and in the next few years, researches predict seven more states may be added to the list.
The shift has many wondering how public policy will change to meet the needs of the new ethnic majorities. Currently, programs for older, mostly white Americans such as Medicare and Social Security take up a large chunk of the budget, but demographers wonder how a younger, more ethnically diverse group will fair.
“It’s clear the younger generation is very demographically different from the elderly, something to keep in mind as politics plays out on how programs for the elderly get supported,” said Laura Speer, coordinator of the Kids Count project. “It’s critical that children are able to grow to compete internationally and keep state economies rolling.”
Another interesting finding from the census data also shows that the share of Black households headed by women–single mothers, single women with no kids, etc.–now outnumber Black households with married couples. Although some may be alarmed, this further illustrates the declining marriage rates in the U.S.