Author Topic: Minority Birth Rate: Racial and Ethnic Minorities Surpass Whites In U.S. Births  (Read 1198 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Minority Birth Rate: Racial and Ethnic Minorities Surpass Whites In U.S. Births For First Time, Census Reports
Posted: 05/17/2012 12:02 am Updated: 05/17/2012 9:06 am
WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time, racial and ethnic minorities make up more than half the children born in the U.S., capping decades of heady immigration growth that is now slowing.

New 2011 census estimates highlight sweeping changes in the nation's racial makeup and the prolonged impact of a weak economy, which is now resulting in fewer Hispanics entering the U.S.

"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."

The report comes as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on the legality of Arizona's strict immigration law, with many states weighing similar get-tough measures.

"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," Harrison said.

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.

But a recent slowdown in the growth of the Hispanic and Asian populations is shifting notions on when the tipping point in U.S. diversity will come — the time when non-Hispanic whites become a minority. After 2010 census results suggested a crossover as early as 2040, demographers now believe the pivotal moment may be pushed back several years when new projections are released in December.

The annual growth rates for Hispanics and Asians fell sharply last year to just over 2 percent, roughly half the rates in 2000 and the lowest in more than a decade. The black growth rate stayed flat at 1 percent.

The immigrants staying put in the U.S. for now include Narcisa Marcelino, 34, a single mother who lives with her two daughters, ages 10 and 5, in Martinsburg, W.Va. After crossing into the U.S. from Mexico in 2000, she followed her brother to the eastern part of the state just outside the Baltimore-Washington region. The Martinsburg area is known for hiring hundreds of migrants annually to work in fruit orchards. Its Hispanic growth climbed from 14 percent to 18 percent between 2000 and 2005 before shrinking last year to 3.3 percent, still above the national average.

Marcelino says she sells food from her home to make ends meet for her family and continues to hope that one day she will get a hearing with immigration officials to stay legally in the U.S. She aspires to open a restaurant and is learning English at a community college so she can help other Spanish-language speakers.

If she is eventually deported, "it wouldn't be that tragic," Marcelino said. "But because the children have been born here, this is their country. And there are more opportunities for them here."

Of the 30 large metropolitan areas showing the fastest Hispanic growth in the previous decade, all showed slower growth in 2011 than in the peak Hispanic growth years of 2005-2006, when the construction boom attracted new migrants to low-wage work. They include Lakeland, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; Atlanta; Provo, Utah; Las Vegas; and Phoenix. All but two — Fort Myers, Fla., and Dallas-Fort Worth — also grew more slowly last year than in 2010, hurt by the jobs slump.

Pointing to a longer-term decline in immigration, demographers believe the Hispanic population boom may have peaked.

"The Latino population is very young, which means they will continue to have a lot of births relative to the general population," said Mark Mather, associate vice president of the Population Reference Bureau. "But we're seeing a slowdown that is likely the result of multiple factors: declining Latina birth rates combined with lower immigration levels. If both of these trends continue, they will lead to big changes down the road."

William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the census data, noted that government debates over immigration enforcement may now be less pressing, given slowing growth. "The current congressional and Supreme Court interest in reducing immigration — and the concerns especially about low-skilled and undocumented Hispanic immigration — represent issues that could well be behind us," he said.

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.

In all, 348 of the nation's 3,143 counties, or 1 in 9, have minority populations across all age groups that total more than 50 percent. In a sign of future U.S. race and ethnic change, the number of counties reaching the tipping point increases to more than 690, or nearly 1 in 4, when looking only at the under age 5 population.

The counties in transition include Maricopa (Phoenix), Ariz.; King (Seattle), Wash.; Travis (Austin), Texas; and Palm Beach, Fla., where recent Hispanic births are driving the increased diversity among children. Also high on the list are suburban counties such as Fairfax, Va., just outside the nation's capital, and Westchester, N.Y., near New York City, where more open spaces are a draw for young families who are increasingly minority.

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.

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.

Asian population increases also slowed, from 4.5 percent in 2001 to about 2.2 percent. Hispanics and Asians still are the two fastest-growing minority groups, making up about 16.7 percent and 4.8 percent of the U.S. population, respectively.

Blacks, who comprise about 12.3 percent of the population, have increased at a rate of about 1 percent each year. Whites have increased very little in recent years.

Other findings:

—The migration of black Americans back to the South is slowing. New destinations in the South, including Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Raleigh, N.C., and Orlando, Fla., saw sharp drop-offs in black population growth as the prolonged housing bust kept African-Americans locked in place in traditional big cities. Metro areas including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco had reduced declines or gains.

—Nine U.S. counties in five states saw their minority populations across all age groups surpass 50 percent last year. They were Sutter and Yolo in California; Quitman in Georgia; Cumberland in New Jersey; Colfax in New Mexico; and Lynn, Mitchell, Schleicher and Swisher in Texas.

—Maverick County, Texas, had the largest share of minorities at 96.8 percent, followed by Webb County, Texas, and Wade Hampton, Alaska, both at 96 percent.

—Four states — Hawaii, California, New Mexico and Texas — as well as the District of Columbia have minority populations that exceed 50 percent.

The census estimates 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 who are not of Hispanic ethnicity.

Offline Battle

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Thursday, 12th August  Two Thousand & twenty One
Census data shows the number of white people in the U.S. fell for first time since 1790
by Tara Bahrampour, Brittany Renee Mayes, Silvia Foster-Frau, Meghan Hoyer and Ted Mellnik

The first race and ethnicity breakdowns from the 2020 Census, released Thursday, show a more diverse population than ever in the nation’s history.

The report marks the first time the absolute number of people who identify as white alone has shrunk since a census started being taken in 1790.

The number of people identifying as non-Hispanic white and no other race dropped by 5.1 million people, to 191.7 million, a decrease of 2.6 percent.

The country also passed two more milestones on its way to becoming a majority-minority society in the coming decades:

For the first time, the portion of white people dipped below 60 percent, slipping from 63.7 percent in 2010 to 57.8 percent in 2020.

And the under-18 population is now majority people of color, at 52.7 percent.

The new data shows how the ethnic, racial and voting-age makeup of neighborhoods shifted over the past decade, based on the national house-to-house canvass last year.

It is the data most state legislatures and local governments use to redraw political districts for the next 10 years.

It indicates that the country is “much more multiracial and much more racially and ethnically diverse than what we measured in the past,” said Nicholas Jones, director and senior adviser of race and ethnic research and outreach at the Census Bureau’s population division.

The opioid epidemic and lower-than-anticipated birthrates among millennials after the Great Recession accelerated the white population’s decline, said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution.

“Twenty years ago if you told people this was going to be the case, they wouldn’t have believed you,” he said of the white decline.

“The country is changing dramatically.”

In April, 2020 Census state population totals showed the country grew by just 7.4 percent in the past decade, more slowly than any decade except the 1930s.

The states with the most growth were in the West and the South, which have seen an influx of people moving in from other countries and other states.

The largest and most steady gains were among Hispanics, who doubled their population share over the past three decades to 62.1 million people, or 18.7 percent, in 2020 and who are believed to account for half of the nation’s growth since 2010.

Asian people, who made up about 3 percent of the population in 1990, also doubled their share since then, to 6.1 percent, while the Black population’s share held steady at 12.1 percent.

Six states and the District of Columbia now have majorities of people of color, including Nevada and Maryland, which passed that milestone in the past decade.

Maryland is now 47.2 percent white, and Nevada is 45.9 percent white. white population fell in three-quarters of counties, and in 35 states.

The diversification of the nation is projected to continue, with whites falling below 50 percent nationally around 2045, Frey said, adding that, at that point, there will be no racial majority in the country.

Between 2015 and 2060, the Hispanic and Asian populations are expected to approximately double in size, and the multiracial population could triple due to immigration and births.

The number of people who identify as multiracial has changed considerably since 2010.

It was measured at 9 million people in 2010 and was 33.8 million in 2020, a 276 percent increase.

That could make redistricting more complex, said Kimball Brace, president of Election Data Services, a political consulting firm specializing in the analysis and presentation of census and political data.

“We’re seeing so much more of this ‘two or more races’ … and that increase is significant because it will start muddying the waters a bit when we get to the question of drawing districts and the creation of different minority seats, and will it be an African American or a Hispanic seat? Because things are starting to merge together," he said.

Some of the changes may be due not only to actual increased diversity but also to changes in how people self-identify.

The bureau’s design, data processing and coding procedures have made it easier for respondents to identify as more than one race.

“It looks like most of the increase in the diversity index is because the current census worked hard to identify diversity that was already there, but it will be some time before we know for sure,” said Steven Martin, a senior demographer at the Urban Institute.

Rogelio Saenz, a University of Texas at San Antonio demographer and sociologist, said the multiracial population is even younger than the Latino population — he estimated 19 or 20 years old — which means that segment of the population is only expected to grow as more multiracial people reach childbearing years.

Interracial marriages also have been increasing across the United States, and in general he said more people are conscious and aware of their heritage, therefore likely to check another “race” box on the census.

“There’s a greater degree of appreciation for the multicultural, multiracial roots that people have and I think that’ll continue to be the case,” he said.

The shifts signal what Frey calls a “cultural generation gap,” with older generations that are much whiter than younger ones.

Racial minorities will drive all the growth in the U.S. labor force as white baby boomers retire and will make the difference between growth and decline in rural and suburban areas.

The year 2011 was the first time more non-white babies were born than white babies, and for the past two decades, the growth of the nation’s child population has been due entirely to Hispanic, Asian and multiracial people.

Their needs will be juxtaposed against — and in some cases seen as competing with — the needs of older generations: for example, public spending on senior services vs. schools or English-language classes or job training.

Arturo Vargas, chief executive of the NALEO Educational Fund, a Latino advocacy group, said the numbers for Hispanics were “lower than expected, but not a surprise because the initial apportionment numbers in April were lower than we expected."

Nevertheless, “it is extraordinary that Latinos accounted for more than 50 percent of growth for the total U.S. population,” he said.

"That more than one out of two new Americans is a Latino speaks volumes about the policies and decisions leaders need to make to ensure a strong America of the future. We need investments in Latino children. The children in our classrooms today are our future doctors and lawyers and political leaders.”

The new data showed that large counties — those with over 50,000 residents — are growing the most, while smaller counties have shrunk.

The U.S. population is increasingly metropolitan, with metro areas growing by 8.7 percent.

All 10 of the country’s most populous cities grew in the past decade, with Phoenix overtaking Philadelphia in the No. 5 slot.

The top four are New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.

The data release comes amid concerns over the census’s accuracy.

The 2020 count was beset by problems, including insufficient funding for preparation, individual-1 attempts to add a citizenship question and block undocumented immigrants from being counted for apportionment, and Covid-19, which caused major delays for the survey.

Some census-takers said they were pushed by their superiors to bend rules to close out their caseloads more quickly, and experts worried that Hispanics in particular might be reluctant to respond to the survey.

But Thursday’s data release was largely in line with earlier estimates.

“The data we are releasing today meet our high data quality standards,” Ron Jarmin, the bureau’s acting director, said Thursday.

Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said the initial data was on track with earlier estimates for the Hispanic population.

“I’m certain there was an undercount; there always is … but in comparison to what might have been, they don’t look bad,” he said of the numbers.

Further analysis is needed to determine the accuracy, he said, adding,

“The Census Bureau still has a lot of work to do to undo the damage presented by the politicization of the census, but looking at the numbers today, it did not have the effect that individual-1 and others intended.”