Minorities now the Majority in Key States in the US

No wonder our "Xenophobe in Chief" Lou Dobbs is looking more worried each day. While we Democrats talk of turning red states blue, the demographic map  of the rainbow of people who make up the diverse population of the US is shifting, and in many areas of the US, "minorities" (a euphemism for people  of color; blacks, latinos, asians and Native Americans) are now the majority.

The US Census Bureau's  recent report shows interesting shifts in racial/ethnic demographics.

The NY Times reports:
Minorities Often a Majority of the Population Under 20

Foreshadowing the nation's changing makeup, one in four American counties have passed or are approaching the tipping point where black, Hispanic and Asian children constitute a majority of the under-20 population, according to analyses of census figures released Thursday.

Racial and ethnic minorities now account for 43 percent of Americans under 20. Among people of all ages, minorities make up at least 40 percent of the population in more than one in six of the nation's 3,141 counties.

The latest population changes by race, ethnicity and age, as of July 1, 2007, were generally marginal compared with the year before. But they confirm the breadth of the nation's diversity, and suggest that minorities -- now about a third of the population -- might constitute a majority of all Americans even sooner than projected by census demographers, in 2050.

The Times printed this graphic to accompany their story:


The Wall Street Journal is also covering this shift:

U.S. Minority Population Increases, Spreads Out

Metropolitan areas across the U.S. continue to get more diverse as minorities, especially Hispanics, increase their share of the population.  Figures that were scheduled to be released Thursday by the Census Bureau show that Hispanics continue to spread beyond traditional gateway cities like Los Angeles and New York into other cities, suburbs and rural America. The Hispanic population of St. Joseph, Mo., about an hour north of Kansas City, increased 21% from July 2006 through July 2007, the largest percentage increase in the country.

Scranton, Pa., had an increase of 17% in its Hispanic population, and Hagerstown, Md., in northwestern Maryland near the Pennsylvania border, had an increase of about 14%. The boom in Hispanic population, the majority of which comes from births rather than immigration, continues to be the driving force in U.S. demographics. The Hispanic population increased in 95% of counties with an overall population greater than 10,000.

Many of the metro areas with a fast-growing Hispanic population, such as Madison, Wis., and Charlotte, N.C., have attracted a mix of Hispanic immigrants as well as domestic migrants who have left gateway cities.

"We continue to see growth and spreading of new minorities across the country," says William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. "At the same time, the white population is getting older and becoming more constrained."

CNN has also joined the chorus reporting these new data:

Report: L.A., Texas counties most diverse in U.S.

(CNN) -- Debates surrounding immigration and racial issues show that the face of America is changing every day, and a Thursday census report confirms it, noting that almost one in 10 U.S. counties is made up predominantly of minorities.  Los Angeles County led the nation with its populations of Hispanics, whites, Asians and Native Americans.  Los Angeles County led the nation with its populations of Hispanics, whites, Asians and Native Americans.

The U.S. Census Bureau report says 302 counties are considered "majority-minority," based on 2007 estimates. In terms of sheer numbers, California's Los Angeles County leads the way with more than 7 million minority residents, about 70.9 percent of its residents. The county is home to about 4.7 million Hispanics and about 1 million African-Americans.

Los Angeles County led the nation in Hispanic residents, as well as non-Hispanic white residents (2.9 million), Asians (1.4 million) and Native Americans (146,500).  Other counties with more than 1 million minorities include San Bernardino, California; Orange, California; Riverside, California; Santa Clara, California; Bronx, New York; Queens, New York; Kings, New York; Harris, Texas; Bexar; Texas; Dallas, Texas; Harris, Texas; Miami-Dade, Florida; and Cook, Illinois.  Leading the nation in terms of percentages is Texas' Starr County, situated on the Mexican border. According to the census report, the county is 98 percent minority and has an estimated population of 61,833, of which 60,169 are Hispanic and 422 are African-American.

Gerry Vasquez at  American Taino gives a breakdown of the percentages state by state:

Below is the percentage of the minority population for all 50 states.

Below is the percentage of the minority population for all 50 states.

75.3 Hawaii
67.5 District of Columbia

57.7 New Mexico
57.3 California
52.1 Texas

42.0 Nevada
41.9 Maryland
41.5 Georgia
41.1 Mississippi
40.9 Arizona

39.7 New York
39.2 Florida
37.8 New Jersey
37.7 Louisiana
35.0 Illinois
34.7 South Carolina
34.0 Alabama
33.9 Alaska
32.7 Virginia
32.5 North Carolina
31.3 Delaware

28.7 Colorado
28.2 Oklahoma
25.6 Connecticut
24.0 Arkansas
23.9 Washington
22.8 Tennessee
22.4 Michigan
20.7 Rhode Island
20.3 Massachusetts

19.5 Oregon
19.3 Kansas
18.2 Pennsylvania
17.7 Missouri
17.7 Utah
17.3 Ohio
16.5 Indiana
15.5 Nebraska
14.6 Wisconsin
14.4 Idaho
14.3 Minnesota
13.6 South Dakota
12.7 Wyoming
12.0 Kentucky
11.8 Montana
10.1 North Dakota

under 9.9%
9.4 Iowa
6.6 New Hampshire
6.4 West Virginia
4.7 Vermont
4.5 Maine

I grew up hearing  the  word "minority" to describe who I am as a person.  
My dad refused to allow me to use it, pointing out that as a citizen of the world, I was certainly not a "minority" in terms of skin color.  But within the context of the US, given its history of repression of first Native Americans, then Africans brought here in chains, followed by Asian exclusion, and the annexation of Mexican lands; incorporating them into the US, and then discriminating against Spanish speakers, one cannot help but be affected by the peculiar view, or social construction of us as "the
other" within the borders of the U.S.

What is most important to me, as a Democrat, is that our Party, with its Big Tent strategy and the focus on inclusion rather than exclusion, stands on the threshold of a major change.  Not simply the "change" spoken about by Barack Obama, but a change that he actually symbolizes.  

In recent weeks we have looked at polling data - especially data that belies the TM meme of "Hispanics won't vote for a black guy", and calm heads like Nate Silver have painted an electoral college map that challenges the "close horse race" theme proffered daily by a host of pun-idiots.

That electoral college map paints a picture, in part, that is reflective of these numbers.  How long can America "cling" to an outmoded portrait of our citizens as if we were painted by the Saturday Evening Post, or the DAR, rather than the vital rainbow that we are in actuality?

Do we have any doubt that the strident voices of the shrinking "majority" will become even more rabid as fear is whipped up, anti-immigration messages get louder, an repression becomes more blatant?

The standard bearers of fear; the O'Reilly's, Buchanan's, Scarborough's and Dobbs', are running scared.

As Democrats we should not only embrace these changes, but strategize and build towards the future.  The Democratic Party, with a 50 state strategy, and the Obama campaign, emphasising new voter registration are on the correct track.  No wonder the Repubs and pun-idiots keep echoing the theme of the white-working class demographic.  what they don't mention is that very demographic is shrinking.  They play directly to the fears of this group, the fear of being overwhelmed by a sea of faces, who may look different, but who have the same dreams of the "majority"; education, jobs, opportunity, a home, health-care and political freedom.  

Take a good look at the numbers.  Let's plan ahead, while we take advantage of these shifts right now.  Let's paint Texas and Florida, Arizona, Mississippi and Nevada blue by 2012.  

El pueblo unido jamás será vencido (the people united will never be defeated)  Together we can embrace the rainbow.  Si se puede.

(cross-posted to DailyKos)

Tags: African-Americans, Asians, Demographics, Hispanics, minorities, population, US census (all tags)



Mojo for a Rainbow Tent

by NeciVelez 2008-08-09 04:01AM | 0 recs
Damn Dem Ferners

Growing up in California I was both exposed to a great deal of Hispanic culture (which pre-dated California being part of America, something most English only people forget) AND to anti-immigrant paranoia. At its worst this anti-immigrant paranoia became support for the KKK in San Diego County back in the 1980's.

Now I live in NYC. Although in general I prefer California, one thing I love about NYC is you hear half a dozen languages every day, run into people from all over the world and live in a genuine multiethnic environment. And no one seems to mind. Sometimes I feel its a bit silly how every single ethnicity has their own parade in NYC, but what the hell. Beats xenophobia.

by mole333 2008-08-09 06:14AM | 0 recs
I love those parades :)

I grew up going to the St. Pat's, the Puerto Rican Day parade; later on the Caribbean one in Brooklyn, the Asian-American festival in Queens and the Dominican parade in the Bronx.  

Oh and I should also include the Gay Pride parade - truly a rainbow.

by NeciVelez 2008-08-09 06:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Minorities now the Majority in Key States in t

No wonder a white guy can't catch a break these days!  Very interesting info.  Rec'd.

Not all that long ago someone told me that they felt uncomfortable with all these ethnic parades, with these people marching up and down the streets waving the flags of their homeland.  "If they're going to be in America," he said, "shouldn't their allegiance be to America, and not to wherever they came from?"

"That's a great point," I said, "and by the way you know next week is the St. Patrick's Day Parade, right?"  It made him think.

by Steve M 2008-08-09 07:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Minorities now the Majority in Key States in t

It takes a truly frightened mind to think that more partying can be a bad thing!

by LandStander 2008-08-09 03:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Minorities now the Majority in Key States

Having lived in Southern California my whole life, this is the way it's always been, but the statistics are very interesting. I find it odd that anyone lives in places where there are so few minorities. I'm guessing it's tough to find good Thai food in Vermont?

by LakersFan 2008-08-09 07:57AM | 0 recs
In New Mexico

In New Mexico, we have more Hispanics than any other race - including white people. Which is why it's great to see that Ben Ray Lujan will be our first Hispanic Rep. since Bill Richardson left over a decade ago.

by fbihop 2008-08-09 08:30AM | 0 recs

Neci, great diary thanks for sharing.

by venician 2008-08-09 10:12AM | 0 recs

Demographically, the younger, the lower the percentage of 'white,' but also the lower the percentage of 'registered to vote' and/or 'actually show up to vote.'

Change elections aside, the natural progression is to vote more regularly as you age, so while 'minorities' are less likely to vote, that is somewhat explained by the age factor. The 'minority' voting block will be growing on two fronts - being a higher percentage of the population, and moving towards higher turnout.

In Texas, according to the state Demographer, there are 29% as many Hispanics aged 60+ as there are 60+ whites. There are 50% as many Hispanics aged 40-59 as there are whites in that age group. There are 102% as many Hispanics aged 18-39 as there are whites in that age group.

by IVR Polls 2008-08-09 10:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Minorities now the Majority in Key States

One of the consequences of this demographic change will also be a great increase in openly  acknowledged mixed-group people. Many have always been here and jammed into one of the pigeon-holes some folk seem to like, but there are huge numbers of people who come from more than one heritage. My father had to move to another place and pass himself off as Italian many years ago because he was of equally mixed white/Native American ancestry at a time when that could be a dangerous combination for his long term life prospects. He lived a lie for forty years, but it was a safe lie that allowed him to have a life. Once this data sinks in, perhaps it will be easier for those folk, which includes my two sons who made different choices from among their available options, to be who they in particular are, without having to feel they have to choose between mom and dad, or pretend that grandma or grandpa is . . . um . . . not there. Or have to go hide in some other town where they can be what they chose to be because nobody there knows different, the way their grandfather had to do. A good thing, although acceptance of this is going to come hard for many.

by Christy1947 2008-08-09 10:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Minorities now the Majority in Key States

Yes - mixed folks have always had a tough time.

Thankfully it is getting easier.  

by NeciVelez 2008-08-09 03:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Minorities now the Majority in Key States

There are a million reasons why this country's immigrant past and present are awesome, but this is one of my favorites: Right now, at this very second, I can go eat food from virtually any region on earth, made by people who actually come from those regions! Who can complain about that?

by LandStander 2008-08-09 03:13PM | 0 recs
Food diversity

is one of the things I love about certain areas of the US.  I remember my first time visiting San Francisco.  My hostess took me on a food tour of small local eateries - had everything from Samoan to Nicaraguan, to Filipino foods.

Same is true in cities like NY and N'Orleans. And it's now not just in the big cities - what a rich
bouillabaisse the US has become.

by NeciVelez 2008-08-09 03:26PM | 0 recs


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