America’s Evolving Look: Census Shows White Deaths Outpace Births

Katherine Peralta, US News, June 30, 2014

For the second year in a row, the number of non-Hispanic white deaths in 2013 outweighed the number of white births, signaling an increasingly older and diversified American public. It is a trend that’s likely to continue for a while, as traditionally minority groups become the majority of the U.S. population.

As a result of its slower growth rate, compared with other groups, the number of non-Hispanic white individuals declined to 62.6 percent of the total overall population in 2013 from 63 percent in 2012, according to recent figures from the Census Bureau.

“As we move forward we’re probably going to continue to have a natural decrease of whites because it’s an older population and eventually, maybe in 10 years or so, we’ll have a decline in the white population,” says William Frey, a demographer and senior fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “That’s a scenario I think we’ll see for a while.”

A previous report from the Census Bureau showed that the U.S. will become a majority-minority country for the first time in 2043, meaning the total number of black, Asian, Hispanic and other minority populations will outweigh the non-Hispanic white population, though that demographic will still make up the largest single group.


A separate report from the Census Bureau released Monday showed that the oldest population of Americans–which in 2010 was 12 times the size it was in 1990–is more racially and ethnically diverse, with those identifying their race as white was 84.8 percent in 2010, down from 86.9 a decade earlier.

Brooking’s Frey points out that the growing diversification is mostly taking shape in younger generations, though, which comprise bigger numbers of minorities. The Census report showed that at a growth rate of 2.9 percent, Asians were the fastest growing group from 2012 to 2013, and the growth was driven by international migration. The Hispanic population, which is the second-largest group overall in size behind non-Hispanic single-race whites, grew 2.1 percent and was led instead by a natural increase, or more births than deaths.

Overall fertility rates have declined in the U.S. as a whole and especially for white Americans, according to figures from the National Center for Health Statistics. This helps temper the growth rate of the white non-Hispanic and Hispanic populations, Frey says.


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