The United States Is Getting Browner and Younger

The United States Is Getting Browner and Younger

The latest Census information shows that immigration, particularly by Mexicans with children, is altering the face of the country markedly in the South and the West.

Published May 12, 2011

No one can say that change is coming to this nation of nearly 309 million people, it’s here. The latest census information shows that immigration, particularly by Mexicans with children, is altering the face of the country markedly in the South and the West.

 

The impact of a younger, browner population in traditionally more conservative Sun Belt states such as California, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado will affect local, state and national elections and issues including Medicare and immigration. Last year, census estimates reveal that those states had the lowest median age at roughly 35.1, compared with 39 in the Northeast and 37.5 in the Midwest.

 

This puts the traditional powerhouse of 78 million largely white baby boomers, now between the ages of 46 and 65, in a declining numeric and some would say, political position. While older people are more likely to go to the polls, younger immigrants are just as likely to vote differently than those concerned with issues affecting the elderly. Over the past 10 years, the median age of states where many boomers live, including New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Ohio and Connecticut, but where there are few immigrants, climbed by 2.5 years or more.

 

William H. Frey, a demographer at Brookings Institution, told the Associated Press, "the census numbers show that we are really splitting apart between regions that are gaining younger people and families with children and those that are getting older and where traditional families are becoming scarce.”

 

He also said, "the age divide has a race-ethnic dimension, and it will certainly play a role in politics that pits benefits for seniors with those for younger adults and their children.”

 

In 38 states, the census reports that Mexicans were more than half of the total Hispanic gains, with the largest uptick in the U.S.-Mexico border states such as  including California, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada and Arizona.

(Photo: Scott Gries/Getty Images)

Written by Frank McCoy

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