If nativists overlook the fact that this nation is a nation of immigrants, the future will help remove all doubt.
The United States is experiencing something unprecedented in its 237-year history. Census data and polling conducted by The Associated Press highlight a future where non-Hispanic whites will lose their majority in the next generation.
Research by the AP and others forecast this change coming to our doorstep somewhere around 2043.
The profile of a new “off-white America,” as the AP called it, is based on just a few of the following statistics.
- More U.S. babies are now born to parents of color than whites.
- More than 45 percent of students in K-12 are students of color. In the next five years nonwhite children will surpass 50 percent, Census data shows.
- By 2039, racial and ethnic minorities will make up a majority of the U.S. working-age population.
Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, dean of UCLA‘s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, told VOXXI that these unprecedented changes are a “fundamental transformation of the demographic profile” of the country.
“We are the only advance post-industrial democracy in the world where Latinos will constitute the plurality. It’s going to be an off-white spectrum,” he said.
Suarez-Orozco added that while Hispanics are the main driving force of a changing demographic, other ethnicities of immigrants are also helping to tip the balance that will make the U.S. a “minority-majority” nation in the fast-approaching future.
He added that the wave of growing immigrants is crucial for the country’s future.
The important role of minorities
With whites—now at 197.8 million—projected to peak at 200 million in 2024, before entering a steady decline in absolute numbers, non-whites in the labor force will be looked to aid the Baby Boomer population as they retire.
To equip and educate this labor force, Suarez-Orozco said the country needs to transform its institutions, mainly education.
“We have big misalignment because our institutions have not been attuned to meet the change. We need to redouble our efforts to make sure we are aligned with a new demographic and the global economy of the 21st century,” Suarez-Orozco said. “Currently, we are not equipped to make sure our fastest growing sector of children succeed.”
An education overhaul seems to be the cornerstone for a successful integration of the blurring racial lines.
A National Journal article written in January showed that while high school graduation rates have improved since 1976, about 20 percent of students still drop out, most of whom are students of color.
In order for the U.S. to stay competitive, it must improve these numbers and offer better resources for people and communities of color, said Civil Rights attorney James Lyons.
To have a competent workforce, Lyons urged for a “Grow your Own” approach.
“Whether we are talking teachers, nurses or doctors, we should encourage the growth of professionals who are people of color and come from different ethnic communities,” Lyons told VOXXI. “Not only to orient kids to high-need professions but also to support them and encourage them so that they can become successful.”