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US Babies Now a Majority Minority

Via the AP:  Census shows whites lose US majority among babies

For the first time, more than half of the children under age 2 in the U.S. are minorities, part of a sweeping race change and a growing age divide between mostly white, older Americans and fast-growing younger ethnic populations that could reshape government policies.

[…]

Demographers say the numbers provide the clearest confirmation yet of a changing social order, one in which racial and ethnic minorities will become the U.S. majority by midcentury.

These facts will, as we know, cause a freak-out in some quarters (for example:  here, here and here).  However, my basic response is:  so what? People are people and I don’t see the need to be concerned that the average hue of the population is going to shift a bit.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. george says:

    Race doesn’t have much meaning in genetics as it is, hopefully the same will be true culturally soon too.

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  2. James Joyner says:

    The only cause for concern here is cultural rather than racial. In addition to worries that the rapid explosion of the Hispanic population will turn us into a bilingual society–and not in the good sense of everyone speaking a second language–I actually think the focus on race and ethnicity obscures a more important factoid from the article:

    “We’re moving toward an acknowledgment that we’re living in a different world than the 1950s, where married or two-parent heterosexual couples are now no longer the norm for a lot of kids, especially kids of color,” said Laura Speer, coordinator of the Kids Count project for the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation.

    I don’t think this is at all a good thing. It’s great that women aren’t trapped in abusive relationships and that homosexuals no longer have to pretend to be something that they’re not. But it’s not healthy at all that most children aren’t being raised by their biological parents in a family unit.

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  3. “Everybody just gotta keep f***in everybody ’til they’re all the same color” ~~ Bullworth

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  4. Lynn says:

    Well said, James.

    There are also a lot of political implications. I agree with Steven in the sense of “people are people” and I believe people should be judged based on the merits of the character, not their race or ethnicity (or gender or sexual orientation). So what will this mean for affirmative action programs? What about the requirement in many state and local governments to award contracts to a certain percentage of minority businesses? If whites become the minority, as trends seem to indicate, will we still insist on these programs or end them?

    One last point–While I find these statistics about race and ethnicity interesting, what concerns me is the socio-economic state of these babies born. I think it’s great our society is becoming more and more ethnically and racially “mixed”. (disclosure: we’re a “mixed” family; I’m Hispanic & my husband is as white as Casper) But I don’t think it’s great if there are more babies being born than can be financially taken care of by their own families.

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  5. what concerns me is the socio-economic state of these babies born. I think it’s great our society is becoming more and more ethnically and racially “mixed”. (disclosure: we’re a “mixed” family; I’m Hispanic & my husband is as white as Casper) But I don’t think it’s great if there are more babies being born than can be financially taken care of by their own families.

    I do agree with that.

    I also feel that Affirmative Action is wrong. It is wrong now, it has always been wrong, and I sincerely hope that these population trends will result in people realizing just how wrong (and stupid) AA is. Job applicants should be judged on their qualifications, not race or gender.

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  6. Neil Hudelson says:

    But it’s not healthy at all that most children aren’t being raised by their biological parents in a family unit.

    Source? I didn’t click through to the link, so if this quote comes from the article posted, I apologize. If it’s some knowledge you already had, I’d like to know where you got it.

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  7. Gustopher says:

    I would add to Mr. Joyner’s lament that it is sad that children in two parent families are being dumped into daycare. It’s good that women have career options, bad that wages have fallen to the point that two incomes are required, and probably bad for the kids not to be raised by their parents as much as they used to.

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  8. Anon says:
    But it’s not healthy at all that most children aren’t being raised by their biological parents in a family unit.

    Source?

    Well, I think we’d have to define better what we mean by “family unit” to really reach a conclusion, but here is one source that could arguably apply to the “family unit” part, though not the “biological” part.

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  9. James Joyner says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I didn’t intend to hijack the thread here but almost all the studies show that two-parent households are better, although there’s some dispute as to why that is. Google “study two parents” and you’ll find lots of results. Single-Parent Kids More At Risk and Two parents are better than one, but does the gender of parents matter? are two examples.

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  10. Pat Buchanan (granted, he is not known for his racial sensitivity) touched on this in his column four days ago. It is not really a fear of mine, but I do think what he says is worth pondering:

    In 1960, there were 18 million black Americans and few Hispanics in a total population of 160 million. By 2050, African Americans and Hispanics combined will, at 200 million, roughly equal white Americans in number.

    If the racial gap in academic achievement persists for the next 40 years, as it has for the last 40, virtually all of the superior positions in the New Economy and knowledge-based professions will be held by Asians and whites, with blacks and Hispanics largely relegated to the service sector.

    America will then face both a racial and class crisis.

    The only way to achieve equality of rewards and results then will be via relentless use of the redistributive power of government – steep tax rates on the successful and annual wealth transfers to the less successful.

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  11. John Peabody says:

    Well, that last paragraph from Mr. Buchanan is charming. Just…charming.

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  12. James Joyner says:

    @Talmadge East and @John Peabody I share Buchanan’s concerns about a growing underclass. But I disagree with the notion that race is destiny in that regard.

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  13. An Interested Party says:

    The only way to achieve equality of rewards and results then will be via relentless use of the redistributive power of government – steep tax rates on the successful and annual wealth transfers to the less successful.

    Ahh, the scary specter of class warfare…I think I read something somewhere about a theory that stated that people in Scandinavian countries don’t mind having a welfare state because they think the welfare is going to people who are just like them while people in our country are resistant to that because they think the welfare is going to others who aren’t like them at all…

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  14. Neil Hudelson says:

    James,

    Actually I was more concerned with the “most children aren’t being raised by their biological parents” part, than any argument that a 2 parent family is better (for the record, I concur).

    Now that I’ve had time to click through to the link I see:

    Preliminary census estimates also show the share of African-American households headed by women — mostly single mothers — now exceeds African-American households with married couples, reflecting the trend of declining U.S. marriages overall.

    Which answered my question.

    Thanks for the article though. They were good.

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  15. James Joyner says:

    @Neil: Gotcha. The evidence for that is mixed and hard to pin down. For example, it seems that same-sex adoptive couples do a fantastic job, especially if they’re both women. But not only are the numbers too small but the sheer fact of planning and commitment that leads to lesbian adoption makes for an unfair comparison with a mass phenomenon.

    Adoptive parents and step-parents can and often do a wonderful job. But I’m very concerned about the trend toward children not having two loving, committed parents. Biological attachment doesn’t guarantee that, either, but there is a primordial predisposition that leads in that direction.

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  16. Franklin says:

    I would add to Mr. Joyner’s lament that it is sad that children in two parent families are being dumped into daycare.

    Dumped? Daycare is like a trashcan?

    Actually, I would agree that putting a 3-month-old into 9 hours of daycare 5 days per week does beg the question – “why did you have kids?” But my experience is with a daycare that transitions to preschool and even a sort of ‘early’ kindergarten, and they do a great job. We started our kids with 2 days a week at around age 2, and increased the time gradually until kindergarten. They seem smart and get along well with both kids and adults.

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  17. PJ says:

    @James:

    But it’s not healthy at all that most children aren’t being raised by their biological parents in a family unit.

    Sex Ed, contraceptives, morning after pills, and access to abortions would help. And perhaps not defunding Planet Parenthood…

    But then married couples will divorce, and that’s a lot harder to do anything about.

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  18. nbcnbcn says:

    COMMENT DELETED

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  19. MM says:

    nbcnbcn well, Kudos for not even trying the dogwhistle route and running straight down Stormfront lane. I guess.

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  20. Also, Mr. Buchanan isn’t taking into consideration that not all people in the “service sector” are “less successful.” Blacks are starting their own businesses at higher rates than whites (in fact, as the owner of a marketing company I’d like to tap this market), and while someone who owns a plumbing business, barber shop or restaurant probably doesn’t earn as much as a neurologist, they can certainly make decent livings, enough to buy a house and support a family.

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  21. Further, a “service sector” job might be smarter these days. I have a degree in Math & Computer Science, which is worthless due to most computer jobs being offshored to India. (Don’t believe me? Check out the message boards on Dice.com sometime.)

    People like plumbers, auto mechanics, restaurant owners and barbers will NEVER have their jobs offshored.

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