On Tuesday, February 24 at a conference at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), demographers and pundits got a preview of how the United States might look in 2060. The conference revealed the initial findings of the States of Change: Demographics and Democracy project, involving the Center for American Progress, demographer William Frey at the Brookings Institution, and AEI.
The idea behind the project is to look at short- and long-term demographic change nationally and in every state and the implications of the changes for public policy. The data from the project also enable us to make some educated guesses about what the electorate will look like in 2016. In the next year, the project’s directors will ask individuals of different political persuasions to comment on the policy implications of the demographic changes. The project’s new report, available here, includes the following key takeaways.
- Demographic change is coming to virtually every corner of America and to every age group. The pace of change varies in each state, but change is coming.
- Today, in four states, California, Texas, New Mexico, and Hawaii, a majority of the population is made up of racial minorities. If present trends continue, in 2060, 22 states will have majority-minority populations.
- In 1980, the US population was 80 percent white. It is 63 percent white today and in 2060, it will be 44 percent white. Hispanics, by contrast, were six percent of the total population in 1980, are 17 percent today, and will be 29 percent in 2060. The black population will be stable over this period.
- The changes are particularly stark when we look at children. In 1980, 25 percent of those under 18 years of age were minority; today, 46 percent are.
- Our population is also getting older, and each new generation of seniors will be more diverse than the previous one. Today, seniors are 22 percent minority. If present patterns persist, they will be 45 percent minority in 2060.