Brookings, March 2018
New census population projections confirm the importance of racial minorities as the primary demographic engine of the nation’s future growth, countering an aging, slow-growing and soon to be declining white population. The new statistics project that the nation will become “minority white” in 2045. During that year, whites will comprise 49.7 percent of the population in contrast to 24.6 percent for Hispanics, 13.1 percent for blacks, 7.9 percent for Asians, and 3.8 percent for multiracial populations (see Figure 1).
The shift is the result of two trends. First, between 2018 and 2060, gains will continue in the combined racial minority populations, growing by 74 percent. Second, during this time frame, the aging white population will see a modest immediate gain through 2024, and then experience a long-term decline through 2060, a consequence of more deaths than births (see Figure 2).
Among the minority populations, the greatest growth is projected for multiracial populations, Asians and Hispanics with 2018–2060 growth rates of 176, 93, and 86 percent, respectively. The projected growth rate for blacks is 34 percent.* The demographic source of growth varies across groups. For example, immigration contributes to one-third of Hispanic growth over this time span, with the rest attributable to natural increase (the excess of births over deaths). Among Asians, immigration contributes to three quarters of the projected growth.
These new projections differ from those that the census previously released in 2014. Those projected a minority white tipping point in the year 2044 due to larger projected immigration and somewhat greater growth for several minority groups. The national growth was also somewhat larger in the 2014 projections. The U.S. was predicted to reach a population of 400 million in the year 2051 compared with 2058 in the new projections.
“Minority white” tipping points differ by age
Because minorities as a group are younger than whites, the minority white tipping point comes earlier for younger age groups. As shown in Figure 3, the new census projections indicate that, for youth under 18–the post-millennial population–minorities will outnumber whites in 2020. For those age 18-29–members of the younger labor force and voting age populations–the tipping point will occur in 2027. ...
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