In the year leading up to July 2011, about 4 million babies were born in the United States, of which less than 2 million were non-Hispanic White. This is the first time in American history that there is no racial/ethnic majority among newborns.
The baby numbers came as no surprise to most demographers who had expected this moment for years, but it’s only the beginning of an even larger demographic shift.
In most parts of the world, the thought of an American congers up the image of a White person. This is understandable given that the White population has always represented a large majority of the country, but this majority is shrinking fast. In 2010, the non-Hispanic White population accounted for 63.7% of the total population – the lowest it’s been in our nation’s history.
By the 2040s, the overall non-Hispanic White population in the country will likely fall below 50% for the first time ever. This may have dramatic implications in terms of what it means to be an American. In many ways, it can already be felt. In a few decades, the US will be the only major Western country to not have a White majority.
I see two potential scenarios. On the one hand, this may be the dawn of an age in which the organizing principle of societal categories will be based on something other than race – perhaps class, religion, geography, ideology. The possibilities to divide are endless, but for the first time, race may not be at the forefront. Another possibility is that the White population, having lost their majority, will grow increasingly insular and fearful of other communities. Let me know what you think will happen when the US become a majority minority country.