Victor Morales, Voice of America, March 31, 2015
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that by 2045, the United States will have a population of some 389 million people. And for the first time in the nation’s history, the majority of people living in the U.S. will be non-white.
“This new diversity boom that we’re seeing right now will be every bit as important for our country in the decades ahead as the baby boom [people born between 1946 and 1964] was in the last half of the 20th century,” said demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution.
“We know that the baby boom has changed the country in lots of ways–popular culture, changing values about all kinds of social issues, families, women’s roles and politics. And I think this diversity boom is going to have just as big of an impact. We’ll be a very different country and we’re only just beginning to see the start of it,” said Frey.
By 2045, Hispanics, Asians and African Americans are expected to grow from more than a third of the population to a little more than half of the people living in the United States.
“The degree of cultural diversity that this introduces to this country is rather like the cultural diversity we had in the 19th century, and for that matter in the 18th century at the time of founding,” observed American Enterprise Institute political scientist Charles Murray. In many ways, according to Murray, diversity has been a positive force throughout America history.
“We used to have radically different ways of life among different groups in this country. And the 20th century was something of an anomaly in this regard as we saw an increasingly homogeneous culture with the rise of mass media,” Murray said. “In many ways, I think the America of the 21st century with its increased cultural diversity is going to look familiar to historians of America. And in that respect, it’s as American as apple pie.”
A few decades ago, many analysts warned that these demographic trends would lead to a balkanization of America. However, most experts now agree that U.S. culture and assimilation will reinforce America’s national character, particularly as the rate of interracial marriage grows.
In 1960, multiracial marriages accounted for only 0.4 percent of all marriages in the United States. By 2010, that figure rose to 8.4 percent, with interracial couples accounting for 15 percent of all new marriages–a trend that experts say will only continue.