White kids will no longer be a majority in just a few years
By 2018 or 2019, the Census Bureau projects that white children will account for less than half of the under-18 population.
May 15th, 2013
03:40 PM ET

White kids will no longer be a majority in just a few years

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.


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Filed under: Age • Census • Diversity • Education • How we look
Census questionnaires go online
No more paper surveys. The Census Bureau is planning on the 2020 census to be online.
April 1st, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Census questionnaires go online

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) - Each month, about 300,000 households across America receive a survey in the mail from the U.S. Census Bureau. Until recently, they had to be completed the old-fashioned way: pen on paper. But no more.

The Census Bureau has put its monthly American Community Survey online. Just answer the questions and hit the submit button. It's a secure site that requires a password and pin.

"It’s a convenient option for the public," said Todd Hughes, assistant division chief of the American Community Survey Office.

The first online American Community Survey was done in December. Since then, Hughes said about half the responses to the monthly survey have come in via the Internet.

The statistical survey generates data on age, sex, race and income. It also asks questions on health, where people live, veteran status and disabilities. It's the largest of the Census Bureau's surveys that's available online - 60 other surveys are also available electronically.

The online questionnaires are designed to lower cost and make the process more efficient, Hughes said. They will also enhance accuracy.

On paper forms, people sometimes check multiple answers to a question. Online, they can't do that.

It's hoped that in large part, the next decennial census in 2020 will be conducted online. The Census Bureau is certainly planning on that, Hughes said,

That could be huge considering that in 2010, the government printed 360 million questionnaires. Stacked one on top of another, a pile of the census forms would stand about 29 miles high, more than five times higher than Mount Everest.

Yes, the trees are smiling.

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Filed under: Census • Diversity • Who we are
Downtown living in vogue, census says
New Census numbers show population growth rates within downtown areas.
September 27th, 2012
05:00 PM ET

Downtown living in vogue, census says

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) - Singer Petula Clark once raved about downtown as the place that took away loneliness and worries and made everyone happy.

"The lights are much brighter there

You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares and go

Downtown, things'll be great when you're

Downtown, no finer place for sure,

Downtown, everything's waiting for you"

Clark sang that ditty decades ago after which some American downtowns fell into gloom and doom. But Thursday, new census data showed that downtowns were officially back as happening places.

In many American cities, people are moving back into downtowns, defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as within a two-mile radius of City Hall. Data from the 2010 census (PDF) said that 16 million people, or about 6% of America's 258 million metro-area population, were living in downtowns.

Metro areas with 5 million or more people experienced double-digit population growth rates within their downtown areas, according to census numbers released Thursday.

The Windy City topped the list. Downtown Chicago registered 48,000 new residents over 10 years. Also on the list were New York, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and Washington.

Demographers cite gentrification and people's a desire to live closer to their jobs as two main reasons for moving downtown. FULL POST

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Filed under: Census • Where we live
Census: More people identify as mixed race
The census map shows America's multirace population as a percentage of county populations.
September 27th, 2012
02:35 PM ET

Census: More people identify as mixed race

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) - Before 2000, you had to pick one: White, black, Asian, American Indian, Alaska Native or some other race. But now you can tick multiple boxes on the U.S. Census Bureau's race category.

The 2010 census provided the first glimpse of trends in multirace reporting since it was the second time such an option was available. And what it shows is that people who say they are a mix of races grew by a larger percentage than people who reported a single race, according to the data released Thursday.

People who reported a background of mixed race grew by 32% to 9 million between 2000 and 2010. In comparison, single-race population increased 9.2%.

In all, the U.S. population increased by 9.7% since 2000. Many multiple-race groups increased by 50% or more.

But that does not necessarily mean there are many more children of interracial couples. FULL POST

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Filed under: Census • Ethnicity • Race • Who we are
On being poor
People line up at a food pantry. The number of people in poverty rose in 17 states, the Census Bureau says.
September 20th, 2012
05:02 PM ET

On being poor

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) The Census Bureau released a depressing statistic Thursday: 46.2 million people in America fell below the poverty line last year. One in five children are poor. 

What does it feel like to live in poverty?

Writer John Scalzi knows.

He remembers a Southern California childhood marred by a broken family. His mother put her two children in the back of the car and drove away from the home they’d known.

She bought a box of Raisin Bran and warned her children: “That has to last.”

John Scalzi's essay on poverty was based on his own experiences.

Scalzi, 43, was in the first grade then.

Years later, the Raisin Bran memory became a line in an essay called “Being Poor.” He wrote it in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when so many asked why the poor of New Orleans had not fled their drowned city.

It occurred to him then that wealthier Americans did not understand that the poor do not always have the luxury of choice.

But he knew.

He was the kid who wore the cheap shoes from Lucky Drug Store – the ones with the glued-on soles. He could feel them come off on the playground.

He was the kid who discovered letters from his mom to his dad begging for child support and the kid hoping he would get invited to a friend’s for dinner. He once stole a piece of meat from Ralph’s supermarket, fried it up and cleaned the plate before Mom came home. He then told her she didn’t have to make any dinner because he wasn’t hungry anyway.

Here are a few other ways Scalzi measured poverty:

Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap they see on TV.

Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won’t hear you say “I get free lunch” when you get to the cashier.

Being poor is living next to the freeway.

Being poor is a heater in only one room of the house.

Being poor is hoping your kids don’t have a growth spurt.

Being poor is Goodwill underwear.

Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.

Being poor is stopping the car to take a lamp from a stranger’s trash.

Being poor is making lunch for your kid when a cockroach skitters over the bread, and you looking over to see if your kid saw.

Being poor is a sidewalk with lots of brown glass on it.

Being poor is picking the 10 cent ramen instead of the 12 cent ramen because that’s two extra packages for every dollar.

Read Scalzi’s full essay here.

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Filed under: Census • Economy • How we live • Poverty • Who we are
Census director: One 'mainstream culture' doesn’t make much sense
Outgoing Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves spoke to CNN about what he learned about America.
August 8th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Census director: One 'mainstream culture' doesn’t make much sense

Editor’s Note: On Wednesday, the Census Bureau shares its 2010 Census Race and Hispanic Origin Alternative Questionnaire Experiment, one of the largest quantitative efforts done for race and Hispanic origin research. This interview with outgoing Census Director Robert M. Groves has been edited for clarity.

By Guy Garcia, Special to CNN

(CNN) - There was a whiff of doomsday in the air when Robert M. Groves was confirmed as director of the U.S. Census Bureau in 2009.

Plagued by technical difficulties and poor planning, the bureau seemed ill-prepared to tackle the gargantuan task of counting the nation’s growing and increasingly diverse population.

Groves, a professor and director of the Public Research Center at the University of Michigan and the author of several books on statistical surveys, certainly had the right background for the job, but congressional critics questioned whether he had the organizational moxie to get the bureau back on track.

He not only fixed the technical snafus and produced census surveys in dozens of languages to better reach the nation’s polyglot population, but he also streamlined the bureaucracy and completed the 2010 Census $1.9 billion under budget.

In his final week as Census Bureau director, he spoke to CNN about what he learned about America, and what he sees for its future.

Robert M. Groves, Census Director

CNN: How is America changing?

GROVES: My personal experiences as a Census Bureau director have taught me that talking about a “mainstream” culture doesn’t make much sense. It’s hard to go from Manhattan to, you know, Lincoln, Nebraska, without saying, "Gee, I’m in two very different places." People talk differently, they move at different rates, they’re interested in different things, they’re knowledgeable about different things. They interact differently. So it isn’t quite clear to me anymore what we mean by mainstream culture. We are many different cultures in this country, and we’re actually quite proud of that. FULL POST

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Asians, more than Latinos, are largest group of new arrivals in U.S.
A Pew survey shows Asian-Americans are the "fastest -growing, hightest-income and best-educated" racial group in America.
June 19th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Asians, more than Latinos, are largest group of new arrivals in U.S.

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) –The immigration debate often centers on stemming the flow of people entering the United States illegally and what to do about securing borders to the south. But here's a fact that goes without much attention: Asians have now taken over Latinos as the largest group of new arrivals every year.

In 2010, 36% of new immigrants were Asians compared to 31% for Hispanics, according to a report released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

That's a significant change from a decade ago, when 19% of immigrants were Asians and 59% were Hispanics.

"They were already a significant part of the immigration story. It seems like in the last few years they are the most important part of the immigration story," said Karthick Ramakrishnan, a political scientist at the University of California at Riverside, and expert on Asian-American immigration and civic participation.

He said that if the trends continue, Asian-Americans will play greater roles in shaping American society and perhaps, more significantly in an election year, they will have an impact at the polls.

"This is an important moment to see immigration for what it is - that it is far more complicated and diverse than deporting illegal immigrants," Ramakrishnan said, referring to discussion sparked by President Barack Obama's policy shift last week to spare some children of illegal immigrants from deportation.

Far fewer Asian Americans enter the United States illegally than do Hispanics. The Pew survey looked at recent arrivals of people with both legal and unauthorized status, as well as those arriving with work, student or other temporary visas.


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Opinion: Minorities are not looking for 'payback'
The U.S. population is becoming less white, according to new census data.
May 24th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

Opinion: Minorities are not looking for 'payback'

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN.com contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist.

By Ruben Navarrette Jr. , CNN Contributor

San Diego (CNN) - You've probably read those articles about how, in the United States, minorities are becoming the majority. That's a polite way of describing what is really going on. Namely, that the U.S. population is becoming more Latino and less white. More than any other group, it is Latinos who are driving demographic changes.

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that, of all the babies born in the United States in 2011, more than half were members of minority groups. Latinos, Asians, African-Americans and other minorities accounted for 50.4% of births last year, marking the first time in U.S. history this has happened.

Immigration is a driving force. So is the fact that Latinos have higher birthrates because they tend to be younger and starting families. According to the report, Latinos have a median age of 27; with whites, it's 42.

When I read these kinds of stories, I wince. Some people assume that making lawmakers, media and corporations aware of population trends will persuade them to see the value in diversity and cause them to reach out to nonwhite populations. In my experience, it doesn't have that effect at all. People tend to do what they want to do the way they've always done it.

But what you can set your watch by is the backlash to these stories. It's rooted in fear, but also in human nature. No one likes being told they're being displaced or pushed aside, or that they're not going to be as relevant as time goes on.

Read Ruben Navarrette Jr.'s full column

Opinion: Minorities? Try 'people of color'
New Census numbers show the marjority of children under 1 are of color.
May 18th, 2012
08:32 AM ET

Opinion: Minorities? Try 'people of color'

Editor’s Note: Rinku Sen is the President and Executive Director of the Applied Research Center (ARC) and the publisher of Colorlines.com

By Rinku Sen, Special to CNN

(CNN) –With the news that, for the first time in U.S. history, the majority of American babies are not white, it should put to rest use of the term “minorities” as a reference to America’s black, Latino, Asian and Native American residents.

Nearly 30 years ago, I learned to think of myself as a person of color, and that shift changed my view of myself and my relationship to the people around me.

It is time for the entire nation, and our media in particular, to make the same move.


May 17th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Census: Fewer white babies being born

By Stephanie Siek and Joe Sterling, CNN

(CNN)– U.S. minorities now represent more than half of America's population under the age of 1, the Census Bureau said, a historic demographic milestone with profound political, economic and social implications.

The bureau - defining a minority as anyone who is not "single race white" and "not Hispanic" - released estimates on Thursday showing that 50.4% of children younger than 1 were minorities as of July 1, 2011, up from 49.5% from the 2010 Census taken in April 2010.

"2011 is the first time the population of infants under age 1 is majority minority," said Robert Bernstein, a Census Bureau spokesman.

The latest statistics - which also count the national population younger than 5 as 49.7% minority in 2011, an increase from 49% in 2010 - portend a future of a more racially diverse America, with new and growing populations playing more important roles politically and economically in years to come, analysts say.


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