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June 19, 2020

US Census Projects Historic Shift in US Demographics

Written by Julye M. Williams

A lover of people, justice, and equity.

The United States is changing.

What started with a few hundred English colonizers on Indigenous lands over 400 years ago has become a nation with more than 330 million people. While we were always a diverse nation, the United States has always been a country where White people were in the majority.

This will soon change. 

According to the US Census Bureau, in just 23 years the US population will approach 400 million people. The new majority will be people of color.  For a nation where race and racism were built into its foundations, this projection raises numerous questions about our future society: 

  • Will systemic racism still exist? 
  • How will we address inequities that have been woven into the fabric of our country? 
  • How will this demographic shift affect how and what we teach our children, from PreK through 12th grade? 
  • How will this demographic shift affect our politics and who is elected to office? 
  • And, how will we live and work together as a community to ensure an inclusive and equitable society?

We’ll explore these and many other questions here at Project 2043. But first, let’s take a look into who will be a part of this new majority of Americans.

The US Constitution requires a count of the population every 10 years. The first Census took place in 1790 under Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. Then, and today, Census results reveal a lot about who we are as a country and helps inform where we’re going. The results are used to determine the number of representatives each state receives in congress, draw voting districts, distribute billions of dollars in federal funding, and much much more.

What racial groups will make up the majority of America in 2043 and beyond? Census data and independent researchers agree on the following population trends. While 2043 is cited as the first year where we will see the historic shift in demographics, the trends about what happens in future years are revealing. Please note, the classification of racial groups is based on US Census groupings. 

 

  • The population of people who identify with two or more races is projected to be the fastest-growing in the coming years. In fact, this population is expected to triple between now and 2060. This means an increase from 7.5 million people in 2012 to 26.7 million by 2060.
  • The Asian population is expected to be the second fastest-growing group with its percentage of the total population growing from 5.2% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2060.
  • The Hispanic or Latinx population is expected to be the third fastest-growing group and will comprise an estimated 29% of the US population by the year 2060. Almost one out of three people will be of Hispanic/Latinx heritage.
  • The Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander group is expected to double between 2012 and 2060 increasing from 706,000 to 1.4 million.
  • Black Americans are forecast to see slight overall increases in population. While this group will grow from 41 million people in 2012 to 62 million in 2060, the overall percent of the population will increase from 13% in 2012 to 14.7% in 2060.
  • The Indigenous and Alaska Native population is expected to grow slightly from 3.9 million in 2012 to 6.3 million in 2060, accounting for about 1.5% of the total population.
  • The single race, non-Hispanic white population is forecast to decline over the coming years. While this group is 63% of the US population in 2012, forecasts show that non-Hispanic white Americans will make up 43% of the population in 2060. This group will remain the largest single racial group, but no group will make up a majority of the US population. 

So what does this mean? 

The US is on the fast track to becoming the first modern nation without a racial majority.  Our ability to ensure that our laws, institutions, and practices treat people fairly, and equitably is more important than ever.  At Project 2043 we believe that to achieve this, education and action are required.

We invite you to explore the site and visit our resources and educational activities pages. Here you’ll find information and tools to help you expand your awareness and understanding about Americans of many backgrounds. This will help you today and as we prepare for 2043.

So tell us, were you aware of this coming demographic shift? What questions came to your mind when you learned of it? 

In solidarity,

Julye

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2 Comments

  1. Darryl B. Brown

    For some reason I always thought that the fastest growing ‘minority’ was/would be Hispanic/Latinx followed by African-American. Surprised to see that blacks are fifth on the list and even behind people who identify with more than one race. Very inciteful and very interesting. But while people of color are overtaking the white community via the increase and rapidity of increase in population percentages numbers are one thing…it’s what we do with those numbers that count.
    Godspeed Project 2043!

    Reply
    • Julye M. Williams

      Thanks for your comment, Darryl! Yes, it was surprising to see the speed at which other racial groups are growing. And you’re right, it’s what we do with the numbers that count. It will definitely be important for all of us to work together to ensure inequities do not persist.

      Reply

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