Friday, November 12, 1999

All America won’t be
a melting pot in the next
century, but Hawaii will

Demographic experts say the USA
is assimilating all races into
its population

By Louinn Lota
Associated Press


LOS ANGELES -- America will not be one huge melting pot in the next century and there's no need to fear English won't be the national language, demographic experts say.

Only 10 states will be racially and ethnically diverse by 2025, providing economic growth with a younger, more educated population, according to experts at a national conference convened yesterday to predict the future of American cities.

Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Texas will be the multiple melting pots, the experts said.

In contrast, nearly 20 states -- most in the Midwest -- will experience slower economic growth and a largely white population.

The South will experience an increase in the domestic migration of U.S.-born blacks, while the Pacific Northwest will see an increase in domestic migration of U.S.-born whites.

Gregory Rodriguez, a fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C., and a scholar at California's Pepperdine University Institute for Public Policy, noted that the largest immigrant population will be Hispanic.

Rodriguez also said that it's time for Americans to rid themselves of the idea of multiculturalism and push instead for assimilation because interracial marriage, community accommodation and acceptance, mixed with lessening ethnic segregation, will change immigrants into Americans.

"What will it mean when two-thirds of Hispanic kids don't speak Spanish?" Rodriguez asked.

"What will it mean when politicians, instead of appealing to the alienation of an ethnic group, plays the politics of aspiration and makes an appeal to the hope felt by the immigrant population to make a better life?" he continued.

Rodriquez is not an advocate of English-only laws, but he said that most second-generation immigrant-Americans speak English.

"The new demographic divide will not be between who lives in the cities and who lives in the suburbs or who lives in the rural areas and who lives in the urban areas," said William H. Frey, a professor with the Center for Social and Demographic Analysis at State University of New York.

"It will be the numbers of people of a particular race and how they assimilate into the general population," he said.

Rodriguez drew a sharp contrast to the politics in California and in Texas and Florida.

When Republican Pete Wilson was California's governor, Rodriguez said, he reversed assimilation with his anti-illegal immigrant measure, Proposition 187.

In contrast, Republican Govs. George W. Bush in Texas and Jeb Bush in Florida have handled things better, Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said that at the same time Gov. Jeb Bush got rid of affirmative action policies he boosted access to colleges by accepting the top 20 percent of students and making it easier to get college loans.

In Texas, Gov. George W. Bush, a GOP presidential candidate, has helped the Mexico border city of El Paso, Texas, sell itself as a Latino city with an economy fueled with good jobs made possible by the North American Free Trade Agreement, he said.

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