Pro­jec­tion: By 2043, ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans will be non­white

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - By Hopeyen

WAShINGtON — White peo­ple will no longer make up a ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans by 2043, ac­cord­ing to new cen­sus pro­jec­tions, a shift that al­ready is re­shap­ing the na­tion’s schools, work­force and elec­torate, and is re­defin­ing no­tions of race.

The of­fi­cial pro­jec­tion, re­leased Wed­nes­day by the Cen­sus Bureau, now places the tip­ping point for the white ma­jor­ity a year later than pre­vi­ous es­ti­mates, which were made be­fore the im­pact of the re­cent eco­nomic down­turn was fully known.

Amer­ica con­tin­ues to grow and be­come more di­verse due to higher birth rates among mi­nori­ties, par­tic­u­larly for His­pan­ics who en­tered the U.S. at the height of the im­mi­gra­tion boom in the 1990s and early 2000s. Since the mid-2000 hous­ing bust, how­ever, the ar­rival of mil­lions of new im­mi­grants from Mex­ico and other na­tions has slowed.

The coun­try’s chang­ing de­mo­graphic mo­saic has stark po­lit­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions, shown clearly in last month’s elec­tion that gave Pres­i­dent Barack Obama a sec­ond term — in no small part due to his sup­port from 78 per­cent of non­white vot­ers.

There are so­cial and eco­nomic ram­i­fi­ca­tions, as well. Long­stand­ing fights over civil rights and racial equal­ity are go­ing in new di­rec­tions, promis­ing to re­shape race re­la­tions and com­mon no­tions of be­ing a “mi­nor­ity.” White plain­tiffs now be­fore the Supreme Court ar­gue that spe­cial pro­tec­tions for racial and eth­nic mi­nori­ties dat­ing back to the 1960s may no longer be needed, from af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion in col­lege ad­mis­sions to the Vot­ing Rights Act, de­signed for states with a his­tory of dis­en­fran­chis­ing blacks.

The non-His­panic white pop­u­la­tion, now at 197.8 mil­lion, is pro­jected to peak at 200 mil­lion in 2024, be­fore en­ter­ing a steady de­cline in abso- lute num­bers as the mas­sive baby boomer gen­er­a­tion en­ters its golden years. Four years af­ter that, racial and eth­nic mi­nori­ties will be­come a ma­jor­ity among adults 18-29 and wield an even greater im­pact on the “youth vote” in pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, the cen­sus projects.

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