Big news from the US Census Bureau this week: for the first time, ethnic minority babies are the majority of children born in the US. Plenty of blogs and editorials have covered the seismic shift, pointing out that these demographic changes will transform policies and politics, whether certain policymakers accept the facts or no.
A new National Journal cover story by Maribel Hastings (“Future Arrives to Diversify Small-Town USA,”) probes into the implications of these changes, especially when they occur in parts of Americana typically unaccustomed to this level of diversity.
By now, many Americans are familiar with the long-range projections that mark America’s transition into a world nation: By 2023, ethnic minorities will represent a majority of the under-18 population; by 2050, minorities will represent a majority of the entire population. Over the past several decades, this powerful current has infused new energy and challenges alike into metropolitan areas that have long been magnets for immigration, including New York and Los Angeles, Miami and Phoenix, Dallas and Denver. But increasingly, this tide of change is spilling over into places that previously had not been shaped by diversity. While almost 50 percent of U.S. Hispanics live in 10 large metropolitan areas, almost two-thirds of the past decade’s Hispanic population growth occurred outside of those areas. This is bringing propulsive ethnic and racial change, with all of its opportunities and complications, to places not used to it.
On the political and policy implications of the demographic changes, Hastings notes:
Political leaders at all levels face a decision that often determines the immediate fortunes of their communities: whether to facilitate change and provide support for integration or to perpetuate divisions and risk economic strain or even collapse.
Read the rest of Maribel’s National Journal cover story “The Future Arrives to Diversify Small-Town USA.” It’s worth the full read.