Minorities are future’s majority, Census finds
America's population is expected to be much older and more ethnically diverse by midcentury, according to U.S. Census Bureau population projections released today.
STORY SUMMARY »
Here are some other highlights:
» In 2039 the U.S. population will pass the 400 million milestone, and there will be 439 million residents in 2050.
» White people will no longer make up a majority of Americans by 2042, with the nation projected to be 54 percent minority in 2050.
» The population 85 and older is projected to more than triple by 2050, to 19 million from 5.4 million.
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Minorities, now roughly one-third of the U.S. population, are expected to become the majority in 2042, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released today.
"The white population is older and very much centered around the aging baby boomers who are well past their high fertility years," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. "The future of America is epitomized by the young people today. They are basically the melting pot we are going to see in the future."
In 2030, when all of the baby boomers will be 65 and older, nearly one in five U.S. residents is expected to be 65 and older. This age group is projected to increase to 88.5 million in 2050, more than double the current 38.7 million senior citizen population.
The Asian population is projected to climb to 40.6 million from 15.5 million with its share of the nation's population expected to rise to 9.2 percent from 5.1 percent.
The number of native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders is expected to more than double, to 2.6 million from 1.1 million. The number of people who identify themselves as being of two or more races is projected to more than triple, to 16.2 million from 5.2 million.
According to Census Bureau estimates released last week, Hawaii, like the rest of the nation, is aging.
The number of people 65 years and older increased 1.9 percent annually from 2000 to 2007, faster than the growth of the total population, which increased 0.8 percent a year during the same period.
But the county population estimates also show that the state, where traditional minorities have been in the majority for decades, is showing a decline in the percentage of native Hawaiians and Asians.
The percentage of people who are native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders declined in Hawaii from 23.4 percent of the population in 2000 to 21 percent last year, according to Census estimates.
Asians alone or in combination also decreased to 54.9 percent of the state's population last year from 58.2 percent in 2000.
Whites alone or in combination increased to 42.5 percent of Hawaii's population, up from 40.3 percent in 2000.
Hawaii has the highest percentage of mixed-race population, although census data released in May shows that population is also declining, from 20.1 percent in 2000 to 18.6 percent last year.
Because of the way ethnicity data is collected, people who say they are white and also minority are counted in both categories, which means the numbers will also not add up to 100 percent.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.