America braces for older, more diverse population
Majority of minorities … a mural in Los Angeles. One in three US residents will be Latino by 2060, according to forecasts. Photo: The New York Times
LOS ANGELES: Whites will no longer make up a majority of Americans by 2043, when the United States will become a majority of minority groups, the Census Bureau projects.
In its first set of projections based on the 2010 census, officials said the US population will be considerably older, and more racially and ethnically diverse, by 2060. The nation is also expected to grow at a slower pace.
The nation's population, about 315 million in September, is expected to cross the 400 million threshold in 2051, hitting 420.3 million in 2060.
''The next half-century marks key points in continuing trends - the US will become a plurality nation, where the non-Hispanic white population remains the largest single group, but no group is in the majority,'' Thomas Mesenbourg, the acting director of the bureau, said.
Minority groups, which make up about 37 per cent of the US population, will grow to become 57 per cent of the population by 2060. Minorities are defined as all groups other than single-race, non-Latinos. The total minority population would more than double, from 116.2 million to 241.3 million by 2060.
According to the census, the non-Latino white population is projected to peak in 2024 at 199.6 million, up from 197.8 million this year. Unlike other racial or ethnic groups, however, its population is projected to slowly fall, by nearly 20.6 million from 2024 to 2060.
While the number of whites is falling, other groups with higher birthrates are increasing, according to the projections released on Wednesday. Latinos will more than double, from 53.3 million this year to 128.8 million in 2060. By the end of the projection period, nearly one in three US residents will be Latino, up from about one in six today.
Also increasing in number will be other minority groups. The black population is projected to increase from 41.2 million to 61.8 million by 2060. The share of the total population would rise slightly, from 13.1 per cent this year to 14.7 per cent. The Asian population is projected to more than double, from 15.9 million this year to 34.4 million in 2060.
Along with racial and ethnic composition, the projections show an older nation, which carries policy implications as Republicans and Democrats spar over the fiscal cliff, the collection of spending cuts and the expiration of tax cuts due at the end of the month. Republicans have called for more cuts in healthcare-related spending, while Democrats are pushing for higher tax rates on the rich.
Caring for an ageing population, and paying for it, will pose challenges. By 2060 one in five people in the US will be 65 or older. The share of the population that is aged between 18 and 64 is expected to fall to 56.9 per cent in 2060 from 62.7 per cent now. In 2056, there are projected to be more people aged 65 and over than under 18.
Los Angeles Times, The New York Times