America hit a demographic milestone last year, with new census figures showing for the first time more than half the children born in the U.S. were minorities.
That percentage just barely eked over the halfway mark, with minorities making up 50.4 percent of U.S. births in the 12-month period ending July 2011. But it marks a steady trend — minorities represented 37 percent of births in 1990.
As a whole, the nation’s minority population continues to rise, following a higher-than-expected Hispanic count in the 2010 census. Minorities increased 1.9 percent to 114.1 million, or 36.6 percent of the total U.S. population, lifted by prior waves of immigration that brought in young families and boosted the number of Hispanic women in their prime childbearing years.
The numbers also serve as a guide to where taxpayer dollars could be going in the coming decades. With minority populations growing faster than white populations, robust minority population centers are sure to increase in electoral heft in the coming decades.
“This is an important landmark,” said Roderick Harrison, a former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau who is now a sociologist at Howard University. “This generation is growing up much more accustomed to diversity than its elders.”