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White Newborns Now the Minority, Census Finds

By Aela Mass |

It’s long been suspected that it would just be a matter of time before roles were reversed and white people found themselves the minority in this country. And while white Americans are still the majority of the population as a whole at over 63 percent, the U.S. Census Bureau just confirmed that the number of minority births topped white births, 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent, respectively, making white newborns the minority for the first time in American history.

According to a New York Times article released today, the shift has much to do with the wave of immigration of recent years and the aging white population. The median age of whites is 42, while the median age of Latinos, for instance, is 27 — indicating the end of childbearing years on the one hand, and the near-prime childbearing years on the other.

The findings show that from 2000 to 2010, minorities were responsible for 92 percent of the nation’s population growth, which means that over the course of 10 years, whites contributed no more than 8 percent to America’s population.

In fact, the findings show that from 2000 to 2010, minorities were responsible for 92 percent of the nation’s population growth, which means that over the course of 10 years, whites contributed no more than 8 percent to America’s population. Even though I’m well aware that this shift was on the brink, I find these particular numbers staggering — mainly because there is such a gap. Are white people really not having that many babies? Are minorities actually reproducing this quickly? It makes no difference to me which race is or isn’t the majority in this country. In fact, I long for the days when the races are so blended that we’re all just a bunch of mutts; I personally think this country would be much better off without the inequities that stem from race … but that’s another post for another time on another site. So I took a closer look at the data to figure out how in the world these numbers could add up.

Yes, minority births account for more births than do white births. But the Census findings are guilty of doing something oh-so (and embarrassingly) American. Whites and Minorities. As if the only group that deserves to be recognized on its own is white people. Everyone else can get lumped together as “minorities.” By the article’s own admission, “Whites still represent the single largest share of all births, at 49.6 percent … while minorities — including Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race — reached 50.4 percent.” Why does this country insist on throwing at least three entirely unique and separate races into one category, and why do our media outlets allow it to continue?

The message we send our children when we clump all the “others” together can lead to inadvertent prejudices. When we toss Hispanics and blacks in with Asians (or however you want to mix it up) without regard to the differences within these races, we immediately invalidate each specific race and chalk them all up to nothing more than “minorities.” And it becomes Us and Them. Yes, individually, each of these aforementioned races is technically a minority, which is why I guess we’ve been able to get away with lumping all of these distinctly unique races together for so long.

I think the more important lesson we can learn from the latest Census findings is that while the population shift is happening at rapid speed, our response as a country and the language we use to describe it are both slow and outdated. Our children will soon be in the minority of which our grandparents and media currently speak. I take no issue with that, with our children being the minority. I simply mention it to make you aware of how it is we speak as a society and how we generalize other minorities. Those “others” will soon be your own children. And they deserve more than to be systematically recognized simply as “minority.” They deserve individual recognition for who they are, just like our own children do.

Click here to read the New York Times article in full

Photo: 123RF Stock Photos

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About Aela Mass


Aela Mass

Aela Mass is a lesbian writer and editor living the dream on Martha's Vineyard with her wife, Sara, and their dog, Darla. She miscarried her twins at 17 weeks and has undergone numerous IVF, FET, and IUI cycles. Her writing has appeared in The Huffington Post among other publications. For more of her work, visit her blog Two Moms Make a Right. Read bio and latest posts → Read Aela's latest posts →

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5 thoughts on “White Newborns Now the Minority, Census Finds

  1. says:

    I appreciate what you’re trying to say here, but I think maybe you need to be reaching towards a larger audience. I was right there along with you until you said,

    “Our children will soon be in the minority of which our grandparents and media currently speak”, and “Those ‘others’ will soon be your own children.”

    I guess you were only writing this for people who have white children? My child is one of the minorities mentioned in the original article, and while I had no problem with how the article was written, I did have a problem with how yours was written. You are definitely to be commended for addressing this topic, but I wish you had put a little bit more thought into it before hitting publish.

  2. aelahmass says:

    I wrote this for all people, but specifically and intentionally addressed parents of white children at the end because I believe they could benefit most from the particular message of my last paragraph. Parents of minority children already know what it is like to have a child who is a minority; parents of white children do not. My thought was clear and intentional. I regret that you thought it was anything but.

  3. Janet says:

    How do they know which children are minority and which are white? When a child is born, do you list their race on a form? I don’t have children yet so I’m curious.

  4. Dawn Rose says:

    @ Janet, yes. When applying for a new child’s birth certificate they do ask for heritage info.
    Although I find the article interesting, it does vary geographically. For example, my (white) family is the minority in my particular city, but not the minority if you look at the entire township. I grew up in a melting pot and have always been surrounded by a large variety of races, religions and cultures. I raise my children to judge a person by their personality and not by their skin tone. Once we all teach our children that we are all human regardless of where our ancestors were born, the world will become a better place.

  5. mae says:

    I think that statistic is somehow inaccurate for the simple reason that most studies in that regard tend to assume that “hispanic” is a race when it is not. That is a big mistake because there are many white hispanics whom you couldn’t distinguish from the typical “white” american and while yes it is true that people from hispanic origins tend to have larger families and at a younger age, they are missing the point that many of those “hispanics” being counted as the “growing minority” in reality are white. Then you need to add the fact that most white hispanics tend to marry white americans, the result of that is a white, blond, blue eyed kid classified as “hispanic” which makes him a minority. Personally, I dislike those classifications because I think the classification only creates division and then you have people like me: I am half-caucasian half-asian and born in a hispanic country. If we follow those classifications I am a weird thing who doesn’t fit into anything. Everytime I see anything that asks for a race I write what about human being?

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