Young Americans who are minorities outnumber young whites in almost one of every six U.S. counties. It’s a demographic wave that is transforming more parts of the nation and raising questions about who is a minority.
An analysis of the under-20 population shows that minority youths are the majority in 505 counties and that 60 counties have reached that milestone in this decade.
“The change is due both to minority kids’ gains and to declines in the number of white kids,” says Kenneth Johnson, demographer at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute who analyzed Census data. “This isn’t about immigration anymore.”
* Black, Hispanic and Asian families are moving to suburbia. Some have come for jobs created by population growth. Others leave urban areas in search of more space, better schools and less crime. Most counties where the minority youth population surged past 50% from 2000 to 2008 are suburban or rural counties. Three are around Atlanta.
* Several predominantly white counties that are attracting young minorities have lost young white residents because of a decline in agriculture. Many who went away to college never came back. The remaining white population is aging and having fewer children.
Among youths ages 15 to 19, 60% are non-Hispanic whites. Among those 4 or younger, 53% are white.