For the first time in U.S. history, white Americans are dying faster than babies are being born in the majority of U.S. states, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals.
The figures, released this week, show America’s white population is aging quite quickly these days, with the average non-Hispanic, white American being 43.5 years old. Baby boomers also continue to age as young white millennials hold off on starting families of their own. The report also cites low fertility and fewer mothers as factors driving what it called “natural white decrease” between 2016 and 2017.
Meanwhile, America’s minority population is rising rapidly, thanks in part to immigration and a larger, younger population of Latino Americans, according to the data. The Census Bureau projects white Americans will make up less than 50 percent of the U.S. population around the year 2045, a demographic shift folks have been predicting for some time now.
This seemingly slow-moving change where whites are no longer the majority could come sooner than expected, however, now that white Americans are dying faster than they are being born in 26 states — up from just 17 two years ago.
“It’s happening a lot faster than we thought,” Rogelio Sáenz, a demographer at the University of San Antonio and co-author of the report, told the newspaper.
Demographers said the decrease in the white population has been coming for decades, but the transition has been hastened by the fact that there are fewer white women in the prime of their child-bearing years as a whole than ever before. There are also more non-white Americans in their childbearing years than ever before.
“ …There’s a little bit less white immigration in the last year,” William Frey, a demographer and sociologist at Washington’s Brookings Institution told The Hill. “As the white population becomes older, that means that even if fertility gets up a little bit, it’s not going to be what it was a long time ago.”
According to the report, the number of white Americans fell about 0.02 percent between 2016 and 2016. At the same time, the population of Latino Americans continued to grow, reaching 59 million by mid-2017 — a 2.1 percent increase from the year before. African-Americans grew their population by 1.2 percent (47.4 million) while Asian Americans saw an increase of 3.1 percent (2.2 million).
Demographers noted that America’s population is growing older overall, as the median age of the average U.S. resident rose to 38 this past year, the data showed. Demographer Molly Cromwell said baby boomers and millennials are equally to blame for this new trend of increased aging.
“Boomers continue to age and are slowly outnumbering children as the birth rate has declined steadily over the last decade,” Cromwell explained.
The report showed that Utah, Texas, Alaska and the District of Columbia have the youngest residents in the nation with a median age of 30-35 years old while Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, West Virginia and Vermont have the oldest residents, ranging between 42 and 45 years old. Florida still has the highest percentage of “golden agers,” however, who make up 20 percent of the state’s population.