Jun 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

By the numbers: Census to show first decline of white population

Change in U.S. non-Hispanic white <br>population, by decade
Data: U.S. Census Bureau via Brookings Institute; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The latest census is expected to show the first decline in history for the nation's non-Hispanic white population, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Brookings Institution's William Frey.

Why it matters: The U.S. is rapidly moving toward a majority-minority population — with the racial and ethnic diversity most apparent in younger cohorts. "This really is moving in a direction that’s going to favor the issues and the political agendas of these younger people," Frey told Axios.

  • "Republicans are going to have to awaken to this."

By the numbers: The official 2020 census population estimates that include race and ethnic breakdowns for the prior decade have yet to be released. Yet looking at the recently published annual numbers gives demographers reliable insight into what those figures will show.

  • The number of non-Hispanic white people in the U.S. declined in each of the past four years — by more than 1 million altogether. That's enough to offset the small growth in that population during the first six years of the decade.
  • White population growth has slowed in recent decades, largely because of falling fertility rates as Americans wait longer to have kids and have fewer of them.
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