This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

America's Youth Reveal the Country's Changing Face

William Frey of the Brookings Institution has just put out a new report, highlighted in today's New York Times, that compares some of the changes in the United States over the last three censuses. The most striking finding is that:
New minorities—Hispanics, Asians, and other groups apart from whites, blacks, and American Indians—account for all of the growth among the nation’s child population.  From 2000 to 2010, the population of white children nationwide declined by 4.3 million, while the population of Hispanic and Asian children grew by 5.5 million.

This trend undoubtedly brings some challenges, particularly as the younger part of the population becomes more racially and ethnically diverse than the older baby boomer- dominated white population. “Racial generation gaps” can emerge as a result of competing interests regarding community resources or views on issues like immigration.
Indeed, it is my view (Frey does not say this) that much of the angst and anger of the Tea Party movement is fueled by these changing demographics, even though people tend not to want to acknowledge that fact. In a very visible way, the country does not look the same as it used to, and this an important part of the challenges alluded to by Frey. At the same time, the fact that we have a larger child population in relation to the total population than do most other rich countries is a situation that we must collectively work with to our best advantage.

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