|Minority population grows to 100 million -- 1 of 3 in U.S.|
|May 17, 2007||San Francisco Chronicle|
|By Leslie Fulbright |
The nation's minority population topped 100 million last year, about one-third of the total, and California had roughly 20 million minority residents, more than half of its total, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Between the rising minority population -- particularly of Latinos of any race -- and the low median age of Latinos, a new kind of generation gap is arising across the country, experts said Wednesday: Most people over 60 are non-Hispanic whites, and most under 40 are not.
California starkly reflects this new gap. Non-Hispanic white people account for 63 percent of the state's residents age 60 and older. But the population under 40 is 38 percent Latino of any race, 13 percent Asian American, 8 percent black and just 39 percent non-Hispanic white.
Some demographers suspect the new generation gap will heighten the nation's struggle to provide adequate social services and public education.
"The biggest problems will be related to language and culture," said Andrew Scharlach, a professor of aging at UC Berkeley. "The difference may make it hard for nonwhite elders to take advantage of services for English-speaking white elders. There may also be problems in caretaking of white seniors by nonwhite providers."
Mark Mather, director of the Population Reference Bureau, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., said researchers there found that states with the highest racial and ethnic diversity spend the least per pupil on education.
"It will be interesting to see if this new type of gap will affect funding for social programs and education spending for youth," he said.
The generation gap arises in part from a higher birth rate among Latino women, who average about three children compared to just under two children for non-Hispanic white, Asian and black people, said Hans Johnson, a demographer with the Public Policy Institute of California, in San Francisco. Mather said the chasm isn't likely to grow.
"We expect the gap to decline in the next 10 or 20 years with the aging of immigrants," Mather said.
Johnson agreed, noting that the immigration rate has been steady since the 1960s.
Latinos of any race were the fastest-growing minority group nationwide, reaching 44.2 million, up 3.4 percent from 2005, according to the annual estimates, which are being released to the public today. In California, Latinos also were the largest group, numbering 13.1 million, more than one-third of the state's total population.
The nation's Asian population grew almost as fast as the Latino between 2005 and 2006 -- more than 3 percent -- and much faster than the non-Hispanic white population, at 0.9 percent, or the black population, at 1.3 percent. But there are still many fewer Asian Americans than Latinos -- about one-third as many -- so the rising number of Asian Americans has not been obvious outside of heavily Asian regions like Northern California.
In addition to the largest Latino population, California has the most Asian Americans, 4.9 million, followed by New York and Texas. The nation's largest black population is in New York, followed by Florida and Texas.
Like California, three other states and Washington, D.C., are now more than 50 percent minority: Hawaii is 75 percent minority, Washington is 68 percent, New Mexico and California are each 57 percent minority, and Texas is 52 percent.
In 2006, the nation's black population passed 40 million, the Asian reached 14.9 million, and the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander groups each reached 1 million.
In addition to Hispanic, both black and Asian populations got younger in 2006. The non-Hispanic white population was older than the population as a whole, with a median age of 40.5 compared to 36.4.
The Census Bureau's estimates have diverged from the state of California's for many years, and the state's have proven more accurate based on the federal agency's actual counts in 1990 and 2000, Linda Gage, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Finance, said Wednesday.
Gage said both the state and Census Bureau rely heavily on tax returns and birth and death records to create their estimates. But California's use of driver's license records enables it to track down many more residents, including those who don't pay taxes. She said that accounts for her agency's 37.4 million estimate for California's population in July 2006 population being 3 percent higher than the Census Bureau's.
The state has not released other estimates for 2006, but the trends in both agencies' numbers have been similar in most instances.
View the new estimates at http://www.census.gov/popest/estimates.php
Friday, May 18, 2007
FW: San Francisco Chronicle - Minority Population Grows to 100 Million