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The minority majority

by Adam Russett on July 7, 2011

In the early parts of the 20th century, the United States was known as a great melting pot. That image slowly faded away as immigration declined throughout the century, but it seems that the trend is changing again. 

A recent analysis of Census data showed that the number of white children shrank by 4.3 million from 2000 to 2010. In fact, the population of white children dropped in 48 states and 86 out of 100 major metro areas. This would have been a sign of a great population decline, except immigration kept rates steady.

The number of Hispanic and Asian children rose by 5.5 million. Some states experienced significant spikes. South Carolina's Hispanic population grew by 148 percent in the 10-year-period, while in California the rate was steadier, at 28 percent.

By 2010, Dallas, Orlando, Phoenix and Atlanta all had minorities who were actually the majority. In total, 10 states and 35 metro areas saw a similar demographic shift as whites became outnumbered.

"The accelerating growth of new minority children heralds an increasingly diverse future child population and labor force, presenting challenges for America's social and political systems," wrote William Frey, the author of the analysis.

The change is especially evident among children. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of U.S. kids are Hispanic, while white children make up just 53 percent of young Americans – down from 70 percent in 1990. However, whites still comprise roughly 66 percent of American adults.

What the findings really show is that it is time for the older segments of the population to adjust to change. CNN reports that younger Americans are often much more willing to look past ethnicity than their parents or grandparents, even at a time when it's evident that minorities will be paying to support social benefits like Medicare and Social Security.  

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