The racial and ethnic makeup of the United States has reached a historic milestone, with minorities now accounting for the majority of babies.
Census data released today underscores the nation’s growing population of young minorities. An estimated 50.4 percent of Americans less than a year old were minorities in 2011, topping non-Hispanic whites for the first time.
“The American population is really changing from youngest to oldest,” said Kenneth Johnson, senior demographer at the Carsey Institute. “This is the beginning of that transformation.”
Many regions experienced drastic shifts in recent years. In some areas, an influx of young Hispanics, Asians, and other groups now make up a sizeable portion of the population.
Governing compiled Census figures for all states, shown in the map below. An analysis of the new data found minorities account for the majority of the under-age-10 population in 12 states and the District of Columbia. Total populations for Hawaii, California, New Mexico and Texas are already majority-minority.
It’s a phenomenon not limited to big cities. Traditionally-white suburbs and rural areas throughout the country have also become more diverse, Johnson said.
Historically, many large cities were mostly white or black. The arrival of large Hispanic and Asian populations, though, has tipped the scales in some areas. Johnson cited North Carolina and Georgia as two states experiencing such growth of Hispanic residents.
Still, some regions have yet to undergo significant demographic shifts.
“Some communities are coming to face this issue much sooner and in much greater depths than other areas,” Johnson said.
A spike in the Hispanic population, particularly among young women, has fueled much of the increase in minority children. Furthermore, Hispanics tend to give birth to more babies than white women, Johnson said.
This is coupled with a diminishing number of white women of child-bearing age, and an overall white population that accounts for the vast majority of deaths. Johnson said all of these factors explain the nation’s shift toward eventually becoming a majority-minority country.
Minority population growth has broad implications for state and local governments. Johnson said first responders and school systems are typically the first to adapt to language barriers and other challenges in more diverse communities.
“Its implications are going to play out across American over the next several decades,” he said.
Click a state to view estimates for the under age 10 population. Dark green states have the highest percentages of minorities, either non-whites or those of Hispanic ethnicity.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 population estimates.
States with minority majorities for under age 10 populations:
|State||Total % Minority||Non-white, Non-Hispanic %||Hispanic, White %||Hispanic, Non-white %||Total Under 10 Population|
|District of Columbia||76.5||62.3||9.8||4.5||63,543|
GOVERNING By the Numbers is a companion to GOVERNING Data that digests the growing body of work at the intersection of computer-assisted journalism, data visualization and government transparency.
GOVERNING By the Numbers is dedicated to telling important stories through numbers, with a focus on both our original work in data visualization on GOVERING Data and providing an ongoing tally of editor's picks of new and notable data releases of use to those in government and those who care about it.