Meredith May, San Francisco Chronicle, July 10, 2007
Hispanics will make up a majority of California’s population by 2042, while the state’s highest percentage of Asian Americans will live in Alameda County and Pacific Islanders will concentrate in Santa Clara County, according to projections released Monday by the state Department of Finance.
Since the 1960s, Hispanics have been the state’s fastest-growing immigrant group, and the majority have been from Mexico. Today, Hispanics in California number 13.1 million, one-third of the state’s population. Experts are getting closer to pinpointing a year that Hispanics will replace non-Hispanic whites as California’s new majority group.
The trends have been evident for a long time. Immigrants, their children and grandchildren have accounted for more than half the nation’s population increase since 1967, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
In California, minorities from all groups combined—20 million—now outnumber whites. Only Washington, D.C., and three other states also have minority-majorities: Hawaii, New Mexico and Washington.
In the new report, state demographers used the latest county population estimates as a baseline to make assumptions about future migration patterns. The formulas they used accounted for undocumented immigrants, Martindale said.
In 2042, California will probably include many mixed-race families with second- and third-generation children speaking English, said Karthick Ramakrishnan, assistant professor of political science at UC Riverside.
“It’s unlikely schools will become Spanish-language schools—there’s so much diversity in California that families are going to blend and what it means to be Hispanic is going to change,” said Ramakrishnan, who has co-written population studies for the Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan think tank.
Future predictions also have to take the economy into account, he said. It’s unclear how many Hispanics will move out of California by 2042, especially if the state remains one of the country’s most expensive places to live.
By midcentury, it’s estimated that Hispanics will comprise 52 percent of California’s 59.5 million residents. Imperial County in Southern California will have the largest percentage of Hispanics.