By Annalyn Kurtz @AnnalynKurtz
(CNNMoney) - White, non-Hispanic kids will no longer make up the majority of America's youth in just five to six years, according to Census Bureau projections released Wednesday.
Those projections, which include four different scenarios for population growth, estimate that today's minority ethnic groups will soon account for at least half of the under-18 population, either in 2018 or 2019.
"This is going to start from the bottom of the age distribution and move its way up," said William Frey, demographer and senior fellow for the Brooking Institution. "All of these projections show we're moving to greater diversity in the United States."
Already, more than half of American babies being born belong to racial and ethnic groups traditionally thought of as "minorities" - which means it could soon be time to toss that word out completely.
By the time those kids grow up to become adults - sometime between 2036 and 2042 - everyone in the working-age population (ages 18 to 64) will be a member of a group that comes up short of the 50% line.
Demographers call it a "minority-majority." No one single racial or ethnic group will make up more than half of the population.
Editor's note: Freeman Hrabowski has been president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County for 20 years. He was named one of the world's 100 most influential people in 2012 by TIME. He spoke at TED2013 in February. TED is a nonprofit dedicated to "Ideas worth spreading," which it makes available through talks posted on its website.
(CNN) - Fifty years ago this month, I chanced to hear the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. I was a mild-mannered kid with a speech impediment and a love of math. That day, I was focused on solving math problems, not issues of justice and equal rights. But King broke through to me when he said this: If the children of Birmingham march, Americans will see that what they are asking for is a better education. They will see that even the very young know the difference between right and wrong.
I chose to march, and found myself among hundreds of children jailed for five terrifying days. Mind you, I was not a brave child. But even at 12 years old, I believed and hoped that my participation could make a difference.
Twenty-five years later, I had made my way to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. My colleagues and I had an outrageous dream: Perhaps a young research university - just 20 years old - could alter the course of minority performance in higher education, particularly in the sciences. Baltimore philanthropists Robert and Jane Meyerhoff shared our vision.
And now people ask: What magic have we hit upon that has enabled us to become a national model for educating students of all races in a wide range of disciplines? How did we - as a predominantly white university with a strong liberal arts curriculum - become one of the top producers of minority scientists in the country?
Rather than magic, there are a number of educational principles at work. And what my colleagues and I have found is that they all grow out of one key truth: The world does not always have to be as it is today.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at email@example.com.
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