US Census Bureau Says Whites Headed To Minority Status Sooner Than Previously Estimated

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June 14, 2013 5:37 AM EST

Whites will become the minority population in the US even sooner that previously estimated, according to updated figures from the Census Bureau.

The Census agency now says that non-whites make up about half, 49.9 percent, of the toddler population and will tip to majority sometime this year or early next year. The agency announced Thursday that not only do non-white infants already outnumber white infants, which it reported in 2012, but for the first time in history the United States has as many non-white children under the age of five years as it has white ones.

Equally imminent is the bureau's calculation that in the next five years, the non-white population will equal the white population among people younger than 18 and non whites will make up a majority of Americans by 2043, considerably earlier than the 2050 date the agency previously held.

The new numbers are in the annual population estimates and reflect changes between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012. Additional figures show that more whites died last year than were born, which is a natural decline and previously projected but still reflects significantly changing demographics. Also, six more counties (Mecklenburg County, N.C.; Cherokee County, Okla.; Texas County, Okla.; Bell County, Texas; Hockley County, Texas; and Terrell County, Texas) became what they bureau refers to as "majority minority" in the timeframe studied.

The groups that are growing at the fastest percentage rates are multiracial Americans, followed by Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans. The Asian population increased by 2.9 percent between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012 while the Hispanic population, despite being a much larger group, increased by 2.2 percent.

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