Minority Births Now Majority

In another milestone demonstrating the coloring of America, the Census Bureau reported this week that 2011 saw 50.4% births of color. In addition to the ethnic make-up of the country, aging data was reported.

Dennis Cauchon and Paul Overberg report on many of the new findings from the Census Bureau that illustrate how the U.S. is becoming a nation of minorities, though not uniformly across the country. Eleven percent of the nation's counties are 'majority minorities'. States that are the whitest are also among the oldest in median age.

"Hispanics, blacks, Asians and other minorities in 2011 accounted for 50.4% of births, 49.7% of all children under 5 and slightly more than half of the 4 million kids under 1, the Census Bureau reports today."

Birth rates dropped for minorities last year, though less than for non-Hispanic whites.

Among the findings from the Census Bureau Newsroom:

"Maine had a higher median age than any other state (43.2), with Utah having the lowest median age (29.5). Florida had the highest percentage of its population 65 and older (17.6 percent), followed by Maine (16.3 percent). Utah had the highest percentage of its total population younger than 5 (9.3 percent)."

"Nationally, the most populous minority group remains Hispanics, who numbered 52 million in 2011; they also were the fastest growing, with their population increasing by 3.1 percent since 2010. This boosted the Hispanic share of the nation's total population to 16.7 percent in 2011, up from 16.3 percent in 2010."

The New York Times explained the cultural significance of the Census release: "Such a turn has been long expected, but no one was certain when the moment would arrive - signaling a milestone for a nation whose government was founded by white Europeans and has wrestled mightily with issues of race, from the days of slavery, through a civil war, bitter civil rights battles and, most recently, highly charged debates over efforts to restrict immigration."

Full Story: Census data shows minorities now a majority of U.S. births



Irvin Dawid's picture

Important point on the coloring of USA

Leave it to CNN - watched it last night. John King was going over the report with a demographer and stressed the point about median ages:

"Whites still represent the single largest share of all births, at 49.6 percent, and are an overwhelming majority in the population as a whole, at 63.4 percent. But they are aging, causing a tectonic shift in American demographics. The median age for non-Hispanic whites is 42 — meaning the bulk of women are moving out of their prime childbearing years." (Cited from NYT).

I didn't spot the median age of Hispanics in the NYT - but did find it in this AP article: "According to the latest data, the percentage growth of Hispanics slowed from 4.2 percent in 2001 to 2.5 percent last year. Their population growth would have been even lower if it weren't for their relatively high fertility rates — seven births for every death. The median age of U.S. Hispanics is 27.6 years."

King's point, I believe, was that minorities, esp. Hispanics, are growing much faster than non-Hispanic whites. This 'first' in birth statistics - with minorities out-sizing whites, is the first of many more 'firsts' to come along these white/non-white lines.

Back to the NYT for the economic implications of the higher Hispanic fertility rate - the last paragraphs of the article, in fact, and from one of America's most respected demographers:

"And the fact that the country is getting a burst of births from nonwhites is a huge advantage, argues Dowell Myers, professor of policy, planning and demography at the University of Southern California. European societies with low levels of immigration now have young populations that are too small to support larger aging ones, exacerbating problems with the economy.

“If the U.S. depended on white births alone, we’d be dead,” Mr. Myers said. “Without the contributions from all these other groups, we would become too top-heavy with old people.”

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA (one of them 'old people' we may soon become top-heavy with! :-)

Irvin Dawid's picture

Atlantic Cities on Minority-Majority METRO areas

Census reported on a county basis. Nate Berg applies data to one-county metro areas, noting that full metro-regions are forthcoming. #1 county for minority births: LA. However, no NYC area counties were included in the article's extensive chart. I'm betting that Queens tops LA!

Article links to a AP/LA Times article with another, less positive cultural take on the minority-majority births and fertility data indicating that other population milestones will be seen in the near future: "We remain in a dangerous period where those appealing to anti-immigration elements are fueling a divisiveness and hostility that might take decades to overcome," said Roderick Harrison, a former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau who is now a sociologist at Howard University in Washington."

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $25.

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95