New population projections released this week by the Census Bureau indicate that the U.S. population will become “majority minority” in 2044. At that time, whites will make up 49.7 percent of the population compared with 25 percent for Hispanics, 12.7 percent for blacks, 7.9 percent for Asians and 3.7 for percent multiracial persons. This tipping point will result from two countervailing trends that are projected to continue between now and 2060:
- A long term decline for the nation’s white population. The white population is projected to increase modestly until 2025 when it reaches 199,867,000; after that, it will sustain a continued decrease until 2060 when whites will make up only 44 percent of the population. Natural decrease, the excess of deaths over births, for this aging population will be the primary component of this decline
- A growth of new minorities—Asians, Hispanics and multiracial persons. Between 2014 and 2060 both the Asian and Hispanic populations will more than double at growth rates of 129 percent and 115 percent respectively. Multiracial persons will more than triple, growing at nearly 220 percent. These new projections assume a greater gain for Asians than in previous projections but reduced gains for Hispanics. The former reflects rising Asian immigration and the latter a drop-off in Hispanic fertility.
In addition to the emergence of a majority minority nation, continued racial disparity across generations will occur because of the exit of whites from the younger ages as both old and new minorities take up the slack. Between 2014 and 2060 the minority share of the youth population will rise from 48 percent to 64 percent. While the senior population will also become more diverse, in 2060 whites will still comprise a majority of the age 65 and older population at 55 percent.
These trends underscore the minority driven demographic transformation analyzed in my book Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics are Remaking America, which outlines the challenges and opportunities associated with a nation whose youthful, growing minority population is juxtaposed against an aging, slow-growing, and soon to be declining, white population.