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Children Make Up Less Of America's Population Than Ever Before

Will our children be able to care for the exploding senior population?

The share of children in the United States has hit a record low, even counting the children from immigrant families, although they are said to be the fastest-growing segment of America’s youth.

As the Associated Press reports, right now the share of children in the U.S. is 24 percent.  That’s two percent lower than the previous low in 1990.  It’s projected to slip to 23 by 2050 while the percentage of people 65 and older is expected to jump from 13 percent to 20. Compare those numbers to 1900, when the share of children reached as high as 40 percent, compared to a much smaller 4 percent share for seniors 65 and older.

Although there are less children, one in four people under 18 is the child of an immigrant, which indicates legal and illegal immigrants and minority births are increasing the population. As Strollerderby has previously reported, white kids will become minority this decade.

“The ‘minority youth bulge’ is being driven primarily by children in immigrant families,” said Mark Mather, associate vice president of the Population Reference Bureau who co-wrote a report released Tuesday on the subject. “They are transforming America’s schools, and in a generation they will transform the racial-ethnic composition of the U.S. work force.”

Here are the numbers by race, as reported by the AP:

Since 2000, the increase for children in the U.S. — 1.9 million — has been due to racial and ethnic minorities.

Currently, 54 percent of the nation’s children are non-Hispanic white, compared to 23 percent Hispanic, 14 percent black, and 4 percent Asian.

Over the past decade, the number of non-Hispanic white children declined 10 percent to 39.7 million, while the number of minority children rose 22 percent to 34.5 million. Hispanics, as well as Asians, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and multiracial children represented all of the growth. The number of black and American Indian children declined.

In nearly one of five U.S. counties, minority children already outnumber white children.

So, back in the day there were tons of children and not as many seniors.  When our children grow up there will likely be an equal number of seniors and children.  How do you feel about that?  The census data says that as this generation grows up, it will become a shrinking work force that has to support the growing elderly population.  Could there be a different outcome?  What is the ideal scenario?

William P. O’Hare, a consultant with a children’s advocacy group says future generations will suffer.  “There are important implications for the future of the U.S. because the increasing costs of providing for an older population may reduce the public resources that go to children”.

Will our children have the resources they need to care for us?

Lots more numbers, including where a majority of American’s live, (city or suburbs?) here.

Image: Flickr.com/EpSos.de

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