Numbers of Children of Whites Falling Fast
WASHINGTON — America’s population of white children, a majority now, will be in the minority during this decade, sooner than previously expected, according to a new report.
The Census Bureau had originally forecast that 2023 would be the tipping point for the minority population under the age of 18. But rapid growth among Latinos, Asians and people of more than one race has pushed it earlier, to 2019, according to William Frey, the senior demographer at the Brookings Institution who wrote the report about the shift, which has far-reaching political and policy implications.
The single largest increase was among Hispanics, whose birthrates are far above those of non-Hispanic whites, largely because the white population is aging and proportionally has fewer women in their child-bearing years. The median age of whites is 41, compared with 27 for Hispanics, the report said.
As a result, America’s future will include a far more diverse young population, and a largely white older generation. The contrast raises important policy questions. Will the older generation pay for educating a younger generation that looks less like itself? And while the young population is a potential engine of growth for the economy, will it be a burden if it does not have access to adequate education?
The population of white children fell by 4.3 million, or about 10 percent, in the last decade, while the population of Hispanic and Asian children grew by 5.5 million, or about 38 percent, according to the report, which was based on 2010 Census numbers.
The number of African-American children also fell, down by 2 percent. Over all, minorities now make up 46.5 percent of the under-18 population.
Whites are now the minority of child populations in 10 states, double the number from the previous decade, according to the report, and in 35 cities, including Atlanta, Phoenix and Orlando, Fla. Vermont had the largest drop in its child population of any state.
The changes also have political implications. Though whites are still 63 percent of the population as a whole, that is down from 75.6 percent in 1990, and minorities, particularly Hispanics, who now outnumber blacks, are becoming an increasingly important part of the electorate.
Mr. Frey estimates that whites will slip into the minority by about 2041. The number of whites grew by just 1.2 percent in the population as a whole in the last decade, a fraction of the 43 percent growth among Latinos.