Jul 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Racial and ethnic minorities are driving U.S. population growth

Illustration of an unfinished puzzle featuring an African American man against an American flag

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Census Bureau estimates that U.S. population growth has been driven by racial and ethnic minorities for the past 10 years, Bloomberg reports.

The big picture, via Axios' Stef Kight: By 2045, the U.S. as a whole is projected to become majority minority.

  • The U.S. faces two possible futures: a thriving nation that embraces its new demographic makeup, or an escalation of fighting, racism and xenophobia, Kight wrote in 2019.

What's happening: White people in the U.S. are getting older and their birth rates are declining. The number of white people has declined in all 50 states except for Washington, D.C., according to a new Brookings report cited by Bloomberg.

  • Non-Hispanic white people were already the minority last year in 32 U.S. counties, partially due to a rise in Hispanic and Asian immigrants, per Kight.
  • The median age for Black non-Hispanic Americans is around 34 years old, and while the median age for Asian non-Hispanic Americans is around 37 — while the average age for white people in the country is 43, per Census Bureau estimates.

The bottom line: If these estimates are consistent in the 2020 census, "the decade after 2010 would be the first one since the first population count was taken in 1790 that the white population didn’t grow," Bloomberg reports, citing William Frey, senior fellow at Brookings.

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