America’s Demographic Transformation

26 06 2008

Many on the left or simply those who happen to closely follow this year’s Democratic primary often remark on the lack of substantive discussion regarding race and gender. I for one never believed that such a discussion would take place, at least not in a thoughtful way, during an election season. Elections easily lend themselves to fast media coverage and bit sized reflections on policies that fail to dive deeper than conventional talking points.

Thus, politicians in general, but particularly during election cycles, are ill equipped to lead such national conversations. They may help ignite it or contribute to it in some small or great way, as Obama did in his “A More Perfect Union Speech.” But they are in no position to lead it, unless they are running a protest campaign and aren’t really all that serious about winning.

Sorry, just being honest.

But do we really need a politician to help us appreciate how this country is changing? Consider what the United States looked like when it just hit the 200 million person mark in the mid-1960’s. In 1966, the U.S. was 84% white, 11% black, 4% Hispanic and 1% Asian and Pacific Islander.

Today its a far different story. Once the United States reached its milestone of the 300th million person, people of color compromised a third of the population.

Immigration had a lot to do with this change. 55.3 million of the people responsible for the 100 million person growth spurt during the last four decades were immigrants. Hispanics alone increased by more than five fold and Asian and Pacific Islanders increased their numbers by more than 9 times as much going from from 1.5 million to 14.3. Meanwhile black folk never quite doubled their numbers during this period and the overall percentage of whites went down from 84 percent to approximately 66 percent in forty years.

This kind of rapid change to the U.S. merits a national conversation whether or not we manage to elect the first person of color as president.

(H/T: Pew Hispanic Center)

Update: Assuming current trends continue until at least 2050, the U.S. will be a very different country than it was in 1960, as evidenced by graph below.

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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One response

22 10 2009
Little Mexican Bitch

Be proud, be Loud! Stop hispanics from reproducing! They will make up 50% of all students by the year 2050 in the USA. Well i will also add in LA there are schools with 90% mexican kids and 70% of them dont graduate

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