Births of racial and ethnic minorities have surpassed that of whites for the first time in U.S. history, Census Bureau data shows.
"This is an important landmark," Roderick Harrison, a former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau who is now a sociologist at Howard University, told the Associated Press. "This generation is growing up much more accustomed to diversity than its elders."
Black, Latino, Asian and mixed-race babies made up 50.4 percent of all births in the year leading up to July 2011. In 1990, minority babies made up 37 percent of all U.S. births.
Although overall whites still constitute a majority of the U.S. population, numbering around 63.4 percent, analysts say that the boom in minority births coupled with an aging white population, could signal large population shifts in the future.
“This is an important tipping point,” William H. Frey, senior demographer at the Brookings Institution, told the New York Times. He described the shift as a “transformation from a mostly white baby boomer culture to the more globalized multiethnic country that we are becoming.”
Births of almost all races have declined significantly since the economic downturn began sometime in 2008. Latino births dropped from 4.2 percent in 2001 to 2.5 percent last year, and Asian births also decreased by nearly half, falling from 4.5 percent to 2.2 percent. White births fell by nearly 11.4 percent, says University of New Hampshire sociologist Kenneth Johnson, according to the Associated Press.
African-American births have consistently increased by around one percent each year. Blacks now compose the second-largest minority group in the U.S., numbering 43.9 million.
(Photo: Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press/MCT/Landov)