U.S. becoming more diverse
The nation is becoming even more diverse: More than one third of its population belongs to a minority group, and Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment. The U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday that the minority population reached an estimated 104.6 million-or 34% of the nation’s total population-on July 1, 2008, compared to 31% when the Census was taken in 2000. Nearly one in six residents, or 46.9 million people, are Hispanic, the agency reported.
Even more telling for the future: 44% of children under age 18 and 47% of children under the age of five are now from minority families. The quickly expanding Latino population is having a healthy impact on the economy, according to Ken Gronbach, author of “The Age Curve: How to Profit from the Growing Demographic Trend.”
“Latinos have saved our country,” he said. “They represent 14% of the population but 25% of the live births. The United States is the only western industrialized nation with a fertility rate above the 2.2 per new births per household family replacement rate.” Growth of other minority groups is also outpacing that of the majority population. Asians, the second-fastest growing group, increased 2.7% year-over-year to 15.5 million. The African-American population rose 1.3% to 41.1 million.
They will also help to prop up the real-estate market once the economy begins to recover, according to Rakesh Kochhar, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center. During the housing boom, minorities closed much of the homeownership gap, although the bust has worked to widen that again.