The report is simply a glimpse into the future, one in which whites are no longer a majority of the American population.
The Census Bureau has projected that whites could drop below 50 percent of the population around 2045. A new report this week found that whites are dying faster than they are being born now in 26 states, up from 17 just two years earlier, and demographers say that shift might come even sooner.
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“It’s happening a lot faster than we thought,” said Rogelio Sáenz, a demographer at the University of Texas at San Antonio and a co-author of the report. It examines the period from 1999 to 2016 using data from the National Center for Health Statistics, the federal agency that tracks births and deaths.
Sáenz was so surprised at the finding that he thought it was a mistake.
According to the report, the pattern first started nearly two decades ago in a handful of states with aging white populations like Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
But fertility rates dropped drastically after the Great Recession and mortality rates for whites who are not of Hispanic origin have been rising, driven partly by drug overdoses. That has put demographic change on a faster track. The list of states where white deaths outnumber births now includes North Carolina and Ohio.
A majority of the youngest Americans are already nonwhite and look less like older generations than at any point in modern American history.
So, what does it mean for the political map?
Some experts say that rapid demographic change became a potent issue in the 2016 presidential race — and helped drive white voters to support Donald J. Trump.
Of the 26 states where deaths now exceed births for whites, 13 voted for Trump and 13 voted for Hillary Clinton. Four are states that flipped from President Barack Obama in 2012 to Mr. Trump in 2016 — Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida. But it is not clear how demographic change will affect politics in the future.
“People say demographics is destiny and there’ll be more people of color — all that is true,” said Jennifer Richeson, a social psychologist at Yale University. “But they also say the U.S. is going to become more progressive, and we don’t know that. We should not assume that white moderates and liberals will maintain current political allegiances, nor should we expect that the so-called nonwhite group is going to work in any kind of coalition.”
The Census Bureau counts any person who is of mixed race or ethnicity as nonwhite, and experts say this can underestimate whites in the population.
“The Census Bureau is trying to apply a 20th-century conception of race and ethnicity on a situation that’s fundamentally changing,” according to Richard Alba, a sociologist at the City University of New York.
“The rapid rise of racial and ethnic mixing has led to a generation of young people whose identities are fluid, but who often “lean white,” he added. “You could think of them as kind of integrating into a kind of white mainstream.”
Deaths began to exceed births for whites countrywide in 2016, according to the NY Times report which you can read in it’s entirety, HERE.