Several large U.S. cities have seen minority races rise to become the majority over the past decade, according to a recent report that tapped census data. The Washington Post reports that eight cities – Memphis, Tennessee; Modesto, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Jackson, Mississippi; San Diego, California; Washington, D.C.; Oxnard, California and the New York City region – join a list of 22 of the largest 100 U.S. metropolitan regions that have more minority races in them than Caucasians.
Demographers do have some explanations for why this may be the case. White populations are aging, and therefore decreasing in numbers as more and more older adults lose their ability to reproduce. Meanwhile, Hispanic and Asian populations are coming to the U.S. in larger numbers, and many of them are of childbearing age.
"What's happened is pivotal," William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, told the news source. "Large metropolitan areas will be the laboratories for change. The measures they take to help minorities assimilate and become part of the labor force will be studied by other parts of the country that are whiter and haven't been touched as much by the change."
In the D.C. area, more than 50 percent of the population consists of racial and ethnic minorities. This is a stark contrast to figures from the 1990 census, when 64 percent of the population was white. In 2000, that figure had decreased to 55 percent.
This new analysis is part of a growing trend in the United States. The most recent census, taken in 2010, found that almost half of infants born in the U.S. belong to racial and ethnic minorities, according to USA Today. Since 2000, the number of states where minority babies outnumbered Caucasian babies doubled to 14.