The nation's college students are growing in number and our campuses continue to become more diverse. Taken from the most recent edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac and the Open Doors Report, the following statistics from the 2014-2015 school year contain some interesting facts concerning the current make-up of college students in the United States:
There are more than 20 million college students studying within the United States.
Of those 20 million students, nearly 43% are American ethnic minorities and international students.
Within the state of California alone, there are 2.7 million students. This is an amazing 13% of the country's total! Of these students, over 1.8 million are American ethnic minorities and international students.
Texas has nearly 1.6 million students in the state, including half a million Hispanic students.
Primarily due to the presence of New York City, 1.3 million students attend college in the state of New York and nearly half of those students are American ethnic minorities and international students.
The number of Native American students across the country is approaching 200,000.
Students of Asian American/Pacific Islander heritage now number 1.2 million students.
There are 2.6 million African Americans on our campuses, approaching 13% of all students.
Hispanics and Latinos are rapidly growing in number and influence and now comprise almost 15% of all students, totaling over 3 million students.
The number of international students currently studying in the U.S. is now well over one million.
In demonstration of the country's increasing cultural diversity, over half a million of America's college students define themselves as being multi-ethnic.
Another 1.1 million students do not self-identify as belonging to any particular ethnic group nor do they define themselves as being multi-ethnic.
Students of European descent are still in the overall majority with 10.6 million. If current trends hold true, however, there will be no ethnic majority within the next few years.
What does this all mean? The college campuses of the United States are becoming more diverse, the coasts are rapidly growing and our cities are home to many of the nation's students. In order to reach these students, campus ministries like the one that I work with, Cru, need to adopt new approaches that will effectively reach: 1) students of color; 2) those that speak a primary language other than English; and 3) those in our major cities. The world is here. How will we respond?