Demographic change: more minority birth than whites

A number of news outlets reported last week on another marker of demographic change in America: there are now more minority babies born than white babies.

“This is an important landmark,” said Roderick Harrison, a former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau who is now a sociologist at Howard University. “This generation is growing up much more accustomed to diversity than its elders.”…

As a whole, the nation’s minority population continues to rise, following a higher-than-expected Hispanic count in the 2010 census. Minorities increased 1.9 percent to 114.1 million, or 36.6 percent of the total U.S. population, lifted by prior waves of immigration that brought in young families and boosted the number of Hispanic women in their prime childbearing years…

Minorities made up roughly 2.02 million, or 50.4 percent of U.S. births in the 12-month period ending July 2011. That compares with 37 percent in 1990…

Births actually have been declining for both whites and minorities as many women postponed having children during the economic slump. But the drop since 2008 has been larger for whites, who have a median age of 42. The number of white births fell by 11.4 percent, compared with 3.2 percent for minorities, according to Kenneth Johnson, a sociologist at the University of New Hampshire.

I think the last paragraph above is particularly interesting. The story isn’t just that there is a large minority and immigrant population that is having lots of children. Rather, whites and minorities are having fewer children but whites particularly have chosen to have fewer children. How much is this tied to more American living alone?

Of course, it will take some time for all of this to move through the generations. For example, it will be roughly two decades before you have more minorities than whites turning 18 and exercising this at the polls.

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