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Cox News Service
Census Bureau Says Asians And Hispanics Will Be Nearly Half Of U.S. Population In 2050
By Shweta Govindarajan
March 18, 2004
WASHINGTON -- The number of Asians and Hispanics in the United States is expected to nearly triple by 2050 and will almost equal the nation's non-Hispanic white population at midcentury, the Census Bureau says.
In projections being released Thursday, the Census Bureau predicts the overall population of the United States will grow by nearly 50 percent to 420 million by 2050.
These are the first projections to be released by the Census Bureau since its 2000 population survey.
If the projections hold, whites -- defined in the Census as non-Hispanic whites -- will account for 50.1 percent of the population in 2050. That will be significantly less than in 2000, when Census Bureau data put whites at 69 percent of the overall population.
Projected lower birth rates among whites will be a reason for the decline. And, the Census Bureau predicts the population among whites will drop between 2040 and 2050 as aging baby boomers start to die. Whites born in 1964 will be 76 in 2040.
The fastest increase is projected to be among Asians, whose population is expected to grow by 213 percent from 10.7 million in 2000 to 33.4 million in 2050. That will make them 8 percent of the population at midcentury.
Nearly 67 million people of Hispanic origin are expected to be added to the population from 2000 to 2050 _ a 188 percent increase from 35.6 million to 102.6 million. They will account for 24 percent of the overall population, the Census Bureau predicts.
"The basic trends have not changed. The population is becoming much more diverse," said Gregory Spencer, chief of population projections at the Census Bureau.
Spencer said the interim figures _ a placeholder until the 2005 release of a comprehensive set of national and state population projections _ were calculated to fit with previous projections, including the 2000 census. To make the projections match, researchers raised the number of people expected to immigrate to the United States, which accounts for the projected increase in Hispanic and Asian populations, Spencer said.
The African American population also is projected to increase by about 70 percent, from 35.8 million people in 2000 to 61.4 million people in 2050. African Americans would account for 14.6 percent of the total population by midcentury. They were 12.7 percent in 2000.
In contrast to the overall population increase in the United States by 2050, most European populations are projected to decline.
The U.S. elderly population is expected to increase, with approximately one in five people being 65 or older by 2030.
Females will continue to outnumber males at midcentury, reaching 213.4 million in 2050, compared to 143.7 million in 2000. Males are expected to number 206.5 million in 2050, a jump from 138.4 million four years ago.
"There's certainly a lot more uncertainty about what's going to happen with immigration because of 9/11 and the development of the Homeland Security agency, (but) for the most part we haven't made any dramatic changes (in the latest projections)," Spencer said. He added that only a drastic decline in the number of people coming into the country would radically change census predictions.
"We're the third biggest country in the world. We have almost 300 million people," he said. "If you don't make big changes (in immigration), you tend to get pretty much the same result."