As 2014 comes to a close and we're all in a reflective mood, here's some food for thought in the opposite direction: by 2045, whites will become a minority, according to projections released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Wednesday, Mic reported. Today, the growth of the non-Hispanic white population is more or less stagnant, and by these projections, its decline will start after 2025.
William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution and the author of a new book about the changing racial demographic in the U.S., "Diversity Explosion," told Al Jazeera America:
Native-born whites become less than 50 percent before 2040. Overall, there is white decline and minority gain for most of the projection period.
By 2045, noted Frey, minorities are expected to be the majority, a year after the "majority-minority tipping point" in 2044.
Although whites currently make up 63 percent of the U.S. population, they are an aging demographic, accounting for 79 percent of deaths, but only 50 percent of births, reported Al Jazeera America. Less whites were born than died in the past two years, said Kenneth Johnson, a senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy, adding that the natural population decrease of non-Hispanic whites today "is without precedent in U.S. history."
The expected demographic shift is partly due to the U.S. population growth being pretty sluggish, no thanks to the recession. Its downturn prompted the Census Bureau to reevaluate its population projections. It found that although the Hispanic population continues to enjoy strong development, the economic recession significantly slowed it down. The bureau's findings also revealed that the lethargic economy slowed "immigration and birth rates among Hispanics."
And while tracking race demographics in this country still remains a challenge — how do you categorize the race of a person who belongs to a number of ethnicities? — the U.S., already a melting pot in itself, is undeniably becoming a deeper, more convoluted mesh of races. Heterosexual interracial marriages have become more common than ever — as are same-sex ones — and many people self-identify with more than one race. Martin Schoeller at the National Geographic shot stunning portraits of the faces of America illustrating just that.
Interestingly, a 2014 Northwestern University study showed that the fear of becoming a minority in a country it has so long dominated caused some white people to become more socially conservative, possibly leading to greater support for conservative politicians and policies.
Resistance is futile. I, for one, am excited about the Census Bureau's projections. And if you are in any way opposed to it, just think: would you like to live in a society that remained stagnant in all aspects of technology, ideas and values? What kind of civilization can progress without being fluid and constantly experiencing change? — definitely not one that will survive the times, I can tell you for sure.
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