by Jovanna Acevedo Quesada
The U.S. Census Bureau released a new set of estimates on May 17, 2012, that has everyone buzzing.
For the first time in U.S. history, 50.4 percent (roughly 2.02 million) of our nation's children younger than one are minorities. This is based on the new 2011 Census estimates that came out July 1, 2011. This is an increase in the minority birth rate up from 49.5 percent found in the 2010 Census. The new data demonstrates the huge changes taking place in our country's racial makeup.
The term "minority" refers to anyone who is not "single-race" white and not Hispanic. The Census estimates released on May 17, 2012, used local records of births and deaths, tax records of people moving within the U.S., and census statistics on immigrants. The figures for "white" refer to those whites that are not of Hispanic ethnicity.
In light of this new data, researchers are still left scratching their heads, wondering when the actual "tipping point" for non-Hispanic whites to become a minority will happen. The 2010 Census data suggested that it could be as early as 2040. The Pew Research Center population projections predict that non-Hispanic whites are projected to become a minority (47 percent) by 2050.
Births for both whites and minorities have been declining due to many factors such as waiting to have children and the current economic slump. However, the drop has been much larger for whites compared to their minority counterparts. The number of white births fell by 11.4 percent compared to 3.2 percent for minorities according to Kenneth Johnson, a sociologist at the University of New Hampshire.
Additional studies performed by the Pew Research Center explored the shift in birth rate and population patterns. They found that minority populations are typically younger than white populations – meaning minorities are more apt to be having and raising children. It comes as no surprise that this same population group is comprised of women in prime childbearing condition between the ages of 20- and 34-years-old.
According to the Census Bureau's release, Hispanics, who numbered 52 million in 2011, are still the fastest growing population, increasing by 3.1 percent since 2010. They also have the highest fertility rates compared to non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic Asians. African-Americans are still seen as the second largest minority group at 43.9 million with Asians also close behind, growing by 3.0 percent since 2010.
The new estimates from the Census Bureau are "…the first set of population estimates by race, Hispanic origin, age and sex since the 2010 Census. They examine population change for these groups nationally, as well as within all states and counties, between Census Day (April 1, 2010) and July 1, 2011," as stated in their release.
The "percentage growth" of Hispanics was seen to slow somewhat. The growth went from 4.2 percent in 2001 to 2.5 percent last year. This number would have been lower, according to the Census data, if it wasn't for the fact that Hispanics have relatively high fertility rates (seven births for every death according to the numbers). In fact, 56 percent of the U.S.'s growth since 2000 comes from the Hispanic population. However, it's important to note that the boom in the Hispanic population was from births and not immigration, another hot issue riding the government circuit and news.
Other factors like age, education, and marital status also play a role when trying to figure out the birth rate statistics of minority and white populations. The researchers at Pew also found that racial and ethnic minorities make up 91.7 percent of the U.S. growth since 2000 compared to 8.3 percent in the white and non-Hispanic populations.
What do you think of the new Census estimates? Do you believe there will be a tipping point? Did you already have a feeling this is how the country has been shaping up for a while? Shout it out!