Minorities are fast becoming a potent force in American society and politics, but when it comes to becoming the majority of the U.S. population, they’ll have to wait just a wee bit longer.
New projections released by the Census Bureau on Wednesday show America’s non-Hispanic white population will cease being the majority in 2044—one year later than previous projections.
Non-Hispanic whites are currently around 63% of the population, but this figure will drop to 55.5% in 2030 and 49.3% in 2045, Census projections show. By 2060? Just 43.6%.
Possible factors behind Census’s slight tweak are reduced projections for immigration and fertility among minorities already here in coming years.
“The U.S. population will continue to grow and become more diverse, albeit at a somewhat slower pace that previously projected,” says University of New Hampshire demographer Ken Johnson.
America’s non-Hispanic white population is barely growing, he notes, and will start declining absolutely between 2025 and 2030. A big factor is aging, which reduces fertility and increases deaths.
According to an analysis by Brookings Institution’s William Frey, between 2015 and 2060, native non-Hispanic whites in the U.S. will decline by 23 million—while the rest of the population (minorities and immigrants) will increase by 118 million. Native non-Hispanic whites will be a minority before 2040, and will be only two-fifths of America’s population in 2060.
The share of the foreign-born in the U.S. population is expected to rise substantially in coming decades.
Roughly 13% of America’s population is foreign-born now, according to the latest, 2013 data—the highest level since the 1920s. But this share is expected to grow to 13.5% in 2015 and then 15.1% in 2025—above a peak of 14.8% in 1890. By 2049, Census projects a little over 18% of the population will be foreign-born. 2060? Nearly 19% (18.8%).
Of course, America’s share of immigrants has been growing for some time. In 1970, it was just 4.7%. The latest projections are interesting, however, because they suggest immigrants will eventually exceed even the historically-high levels seen in the late 19th and early 20th century.
“This is clearly going to be a century where minorities and immigrants dominate our growth,” Brooking’s Frey says.
Get WSJ economic analysis delivered to your inbox: