Recent census data indicates that America is becoming such a melting pot that whites will lose their majority by 2043.
As the number of U.S. whites decline and the number of Latinos grow, the line is gradually blurring between races and “whiteness” is starting to lose its dominance.
It comes as no surprise to many people. The growth of minority populations has been steady for the past few years, and the latest data shows that whites will lose their majority in the next generation.
This will be the first time in America’s 237-year history that white people will be a minority. It will also be a first among many of the world’s major post-industrial societies.
Brazil has already crossed the threshold to “majority-minority” status, a few cities in France and England are close or have already surpassed that point.
But it is not yet known whether America’s future white minority will reduce racism or increase it.
“The American experience has always been a story of color. In the 20th century it was a story of the black-white line. In the 21st century we are moving into a new off-white moment,” Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, a global expert on immigration, said.
“Numerically, the U.S. is being transformed. The question now is whether our institutions are being transformed.”
The shift first began as the modern wave of U.S. immigrants came in from Latin America and Asia.
Annually, 650,000 have moved here since 1965, but that rate is growing in recent years.
Another factor in the growth of minority populations is the country’s aging white population, which mainly consists of baby boomers.
The 63 percent of white Americans is expected to drop to below 50 percent in 2043 when other races will become a collective majority.
Hispanics are expected to increase the most, mainly because of their high birth rates, as they jump from 17 percent to 26 percent.
Though growing diversity is often thought of as the way out of racism, many sociologists warn that the politics of racial diversity could become magnified with the decrease in white people.
A poll conducted in 2011 found that a slight majority of white people expressed racial bias against Hispanics, some demonstrating an even greater bias toward Hispanics than blacks.
Hispanics have also remained in their own residential areas for some time, moving to lower-income neighborhoods.
George Borjas, a Harvard economist, predicts that by 2030, the children of today’s immigrants will earn an average of 10 percent to 15 percent less than nonimmigrant Americans, and Latinos will experience more struggle because of high poverty rates, lack of citizenship and lower rates of education.
Currently, 35 percent of Hispanic babies are born into poverty, while 41 percent of black children are.
Many sociologists say the way we handle racial challenges today will determine how we react to the white minority in the future.
“How America responds now to the new challenges of racial and ethnic diversity will determine whether it becomes a more open and inclusive society in the future - one that provides equal opportunities and justice for all,” Daniel Litcher, a Cornell sociologist, said.