William H. Frey writes that The nation is diversifying even faster than predicted, according to new census data:
The U.S. Census Bureau has just released its last batch of race-ethnic population estimates in advance of the 2020 census, with data indicating that the national headcount will reveal a more diverse nation than was previously expected. The new estimates show that nearly four of 10 Americans identify with a race or ethnic group other than white, and suggest that the 2010 to 2020 decade will be the first in the nation’s history in which the white population declined in numbers.
Over the decade’s first nine years, racial and ethnic minorities accounted for all of the nation’s population growth, and were responsible for population gains in many states, metropolitan areas, and counties that would have otherwise registered losses due to declines in their white populations. And while the U.S. and more than half of its states have shown absolute declines in populations under age 25, such declines were largely due to white losses among the youth population. These declines would have been even greater were it not for youthful gains among racial and ethnic minorities, especially the Latino or Hispanic population.
The new data shows that, by 2019, the white population share declined nearly nine more percentage points, to 60.1%. The Latino or Hispanic and Asian American population shares showed the most marked gains, at 18.5% and nearly 6%, respectively. While these groups fluctuated over the past 40 years, either upward (for Latinos or Hispanics and Asian Americans) or downward (for whites), the Black share of the population remained relatively constant.
These are big changes in a short time. The mere fact of these changes, and the mere acknowledgement of them, cannot possibly be all that is required in a just society. Karen Attiah’s observation that society should assure freedom of integration rather than simply acknowledging diversity remains a lodestone.