A new milestone in the gradual decline of white people in America occurred this week.  The number of non-Hispanic white deaths outnumbered births for the first time.  Significantly, several demographers have said that they are not aware of another time in American history when the dominant racial group in America has shrunk in this way, even taking into account such events as the depression and the two world wars last century.  The Washington Post reports demographer William Frey as commenting that the slow decline of the white population will “characterise this century” of American history.   

While the decline has been predicted for some time, it has happened much sooner than demographers previously thought it would, largely because both births and immigration levels have slowed more than expected.  The estimated figures released by the Census Bureau last week show that white people now make up 63% of the country, and that Asian people are the fasted growing ethnic group.

It is now minorities who contribute to the population growth of America.  Although, as we have reported before on this blog, even minorities with previously high birth rates often start to curb these as they take on the values of the current majority ethnic group – which is when the overall population will really decline.  This is reflected by the fact that women with college degrees of all races have been delaying marriage and childbearing to the end of their 20s and beyond.  However, census figures still show that white women are far more likely to be childless than Hispanic or African American women.  We have reported before that the majority of babies born last year were from minority groups. 

As always, it is interesting to follow who makes up America given that it is still currently the strongest political force on the planet.  Both the aging and overall decrease of white people means that the current majority will come to rely on (what are currently) minority groups to support them in their old age.  As demography William Frey says, these figures tell us a lot about where America is headed as a country.

Shannon Roberts

Shannon Roberts is co-editor of MercatorNet's blog on population issues, Demography is Destiny. While she has a background as a barrister, writing has been a life-long passion and she has contributed...