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Demographics: Transforming America

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- New U.S. Census Bureau figures underscore a profound, far-reaching change: America's white majority keeps shrinking and soon will be a minority alongside other minorities. The report said:

• U.S. children under 5 now are 49.9 percent minority. Within a year, more than half will be nonwhite.

• Within five years, more than half of American children under 18 will be minority.

• For the first time within a century, more U.S. whites are dying than are being born.

• Hispanics grew most in 2012, increasing by 1.1 million, becoming 17 percent of the populace.

• Asians grew fastest, adding a half-million, and now are 5 percent.

• African Americans constitute 12.3 percent.

• Within a generation, traditional European whites will slip below half the U.S. population, and America will be a "minority-majority" nation. Nonwhites will continue rising. Whites, Hispanics, blacks, Asians, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and the rest will be minorities together.

Brookings Institution demographer William Frey said the "gradual decline of the white population" is "a signature demographic trend of this century." He said America's future "will be reliant on the success of waves of young Hispanics, Asians and blacks who will become the bulwark of our labor force." He added that minorities "will hold greater sway than ever."

Transformation is coming. West Virginia, a bastion of Appalachian whites, will be among the last places to feel the cultural shift that will engulf the rest of America. But this state cannot escape the tide rising on all sides.

Minorities generally have progressive political views and vote Democratic. The conservative Republican Party -- traditional domain of WORMs (white old rich men) -- faces an uncertain future. The GOP is trying to change its demographic identity, with limited success so far.

Some economists predict that well-educated whites will continue to dominate in wealth and power, even after they slip below majority status.

America is evolving, right before everyone's eyes. Stay tuned, and try to envision where our culture is heading.


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