USA nærmer seg vippepunktet hvor minoritetens fødsler overstiger majoritetens for første gang. I henhold til en nylig utgitt studie vil antallet fødsler innen minoritetsgruppene overstige halvparten av alle fødsler allerede i år.
I følge den samme studien skyldes trenden at det nå er flere etnisk hvite kvinner som utsetter å få barn til de blir eldre enn noen gang før, mens kvinner innen etniske minoritetsgrupper stadig får barn i yngre alder.
Eksperter mener at den enorme innvandringen til USA har akselerert trenden som mest sannsynlig vil gjøre etnisk hvite til en minoritet rundt 2050. I 2008 utgjorde minoritetsfødsler 48 prosent av alle fødsler i USA, mot 37 prosent i 1990.
‘For America’s children, the future is now,’ said Kenneth Johnson, a sociology professor at the University of New Hampshire who researched many of the racial trends in the report.
‘Census projections suggest America may become a minority-majority country by the middle of the century,’ he added.
He explained that there are now more Hispanic women of prime childbearing age in the US, who tend to have more children than women of other races.
U.S. BIRTH STATISTICS 2008
Percentage of babies born in American broken down by race
More white women are waiting until they are older to have babies, although it is not yet clear how much effect that will have on the current trend of increasing minority newborns.
The number of white women of prime childbearing age is on the decline, dropping 19 per cent from 1990.
Broken down by race, about 52 per cent of babies born in 2008 were white.
That’s compared to about 25 per cent Hispanic, 15 per cent black and 4 per cent Asian. Another 4 per cent were identified by their parents as multiracial.
The numbers highlight the nation’s growing racial and age divide, seen in pockets of communities across the US, which could heighten tensions in current policy debates from immigration reform and education to health care and Social Security.
There are also strong implications for the 2010 population count, which begins in earnest next week, when more than 120 million US households receive their census forms in the post.
The Census Bureau is running public service announcements this week to improve its tally of young children, particularly minorities, who are most often missed in the once-a-decade head count.
Whites currently make up two-thirds of the total US population, and recent census estimates suggest the total number of minorities may not overtake the number of whites until 2050.
Right now, roughly one in ten of the nation’s 3,142 counties already have minority populations greater than 50 per cent.
But one in four communities have more minority children than white children or are nearing that point, according to the study, which Mr Johnson co-published.
That is because Hispanic women on average have three children, while other women on average have two. The numbers are 2.99 children for Hispanics, 1.87 for whites, 2.13 for blacks and 2.04 for Asians in the US.
The 2008 census estimates used local records of births and deaths, tax records of people moving within the US, and census statistics on immigrants.