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The Next America - Demographics 2012 / NEXT AMERICA

White Babies No Longer Majority: Census

Two nurses watch over a mother holding her one-day-old boy at the LAC + USC County of Los Angeles Women's & Children's Hospital Monday, Oct. 31, 2011. Recently released estimates based on 2010 Census data projects that the majority of children under 1 year are minorities. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

May 17, 2012

For the first time, racial and ethnic minorities make up more than half of all children born in the United States, according to a report released by the Census Bureau on Thursday.

(Related: 7 More Findings from the Census Report; plus a graphic by USA Today)

Population estimates show that 50.4 percent of children under 1 were Hispanic, black, Asian-American, or of another ethnic minority group. That number is up from the 49.5 percent in 2010, according to census data.

Four states had a population greater than 50 percent minority: Hawaii (77.1 percent minority), California (60.3 percent), New Mexico (59.8 percent), and Texas (55.2 percent), according to the census. The District of Columbia's population was 64.7 percent minority.  

The numbers reflect shifts among the young and the old. While younger people are increasingly diverse, there are fewer of them. In 2011, the population younger than 5was 49.7 percent minority, up from 49 percent a year earlier.

The number of children under 18 declined by about 200,000 to 74 million in 2011. The decline was largely due to a fall in high school-age children between 14 and 17 years old, the census said.

While youth became more diverse, the number of older Americans jumped. The number of people 65 and older increased by more than 1 million residents, from 40.3 million to 41.4 million, and it included 5.7 million people over 85.

Hispanics, the largest ethnic minority group in the country, were also the fastest growing. The Hispanic population grew by more than 3 percent to 52 million from 2010 to 2011. They now make up nearly 17 percent of the nation’s total population.

Asians were the second-fastest growing group. Their population grew by 3 percent to more than 18 million in 2011.

The number of African-Americans, the second-largest minority group in the nation, increased but at a slower rate. Their population reached 43.9 million, a 1.6 percent increase between 2010 and 2011.

Minorities now make up nearly 37 percent of the overall U.S. population. Non-Hispanic whites are projected to be a minority by 2042.

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