Friday, June 27, 2014

Widening Gap in U.S. Between Older Whites & Younger Minorities

Photo Credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões
From Don Lee of the Tribune Washington Bureau:
"As the U.S. population ages and becomes more ethnically diverse, the country is seeing a widening demographic gap between older whites and young minorities — a shift with significant social and economic implications. 
Non-Latino white Americans made up almost 79 percent of the country’s population of people more than 65 years old, as of last July, but the white share of residents under age 15 slipped further, to 51.8 percent, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data released Thursday. 
By comparison, Latinos accounted for 7.5 percent of people in the U.S. over 65, but almost 25 percent of those under 15. The large population gains of Latino and other minority youths mean nonwhites not only will have more voting clout in the years ahead, but will also constitute the labor force of tomorrow. 
Yet this racial generational gap, particularly large in California and the Southwest, also points up the potential challenges as the U.S. relies on younger minorities to pick up the slack of an aging nation, including supporting social programs for a mostly white senior population. 
“What we are seeing here is just the tip of the iceberg as white baby-boomers continue to retire, and whites make up ever-smaller shares of the childbearing population,” said William Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer who analyzed the annual census data on population by age and race. 
“It suggests that even greater priority should be given to providing these young minorities education opportunities and other resources to be successful as members of the labor force,” he said. 
The new census release shows how economics can drive population and migration trends. The nation’s foreign-born population grew by 843,145 people from July 2012 to last July, down about 5 percent from the previous 12-month period. The drop came mostly from Latinos, whose immigrant population growth has been overtaken by Asians. Part of the decline in the foreign-born Latino growth reflects demographic and economic changes in Mexico, said scholar Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda."
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