America's shifting demographic profile

A morning rush hour in New York. America’s aging white population has remained largely flat, increasing by less than one per cent.   | Photo Credit: Mark Lennihan

Minorities accounted for 98 per cent of the population growth in the U.S.' largest metropolitan areas over the past decade, according to a new report, as the country's white population continued to stagnate, and in many places, decline.

Hispanics and Asians led population growth in the country's 100 largest metropolitan areas over the past decade, growing by 41 per cent and 43 per cent respectively. The population of African-Americans grew by 12 per cent, and the aging white population was largely flat, increasing by less than one per cent.

William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution and author of the report, also said the U.S. had reached a demographic milestone: About half of all recent births were to minority parents, a shift that will have broad policy implications in the years to come.

The country's largest cities are changing the fastest, Mr. Frey said, and provide a snapshot of what the country might look like in the future. Hispanics were 20 per cent of the population of large metropolitan areas defined by the Census Bureau as cities and their suburbs up from 15 per cent in 2000, and 11 per cent in 1990. African-Americans, the second-largest minority group, accounted for 14 per cent of the population of large cities in 2010, unchanged from 2000. Asians totalled six per cent.

The population increases added 11 million Hispanics to the populations of the largest U.S. cities, nearly four million Asians, and three million African-Americans, Mr. Frey said. The number of whites increased by just over 400,000.

“Where these large metro areas are now is where the rest of America is headed,” Mr. Frey said. “The old image of the white and black American population is obsolete.”

The white population is aging, with the share of women in their childbearing years shrinking. Hispanics, by contrast, are much younger, with a relatively large portion of Hispanic women in their prime childbearing years. In large metropolitan areas, the white population represented 57 per cent of the total in 2010, down from 71 per cent in 1990. Whites accounted for a bigger share in smaller cities, at 73 per cent, and in rural areas, at 80 per cent, Mr. Frey said.

In all, the white population shrank in 42 out of the top 100 cities. Leading the decline in the share of the white population was Las Vegas, where it fell to 48 per cent of the total in 2010, from 60 per cent in 2000. — New York Times News Service

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 10:25:22 AM |

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