The next America: America’s racial tapestry Is changing

At the same time our population is going gray, we’re also becoming multi-colored. In 1960, the population of the United States was 85% white; by 2060, it will be only 43% white. We were once a black and white country. Now, we’re a rainbow.

Our intricate new racial tapestry is being woven by the more than 40 million immigrants who have arrived since 1965, about half of them Hispanics and nearly three-in-ten Asians.

Because these tranformations happen tick by tock, without anyone announcing them with a drum roll or press conference, they are sometimes hard to perceive.

But every so often societies experience “aha” moments, when the change is right there in plain sight. We had several such moments in early 2014, as three iconic American brands, Coke, Chevy and Cheerios, rolled out ads during the Super Bowl and Olympics that were aimed at what one voice-over called “the new us.”

Product advertisers aren’t in the business of making political statements. They’re certainly not in the business of making enemies. They must have known some of their images – interracial families, same-sex parents, “America the Beautiful” sung in several languages – would disturb some of their customers. But they also do their market research and look at their numbers. They know how fast the country is changing.

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Part of a long report called The Next America by Pew Research. No reader restrictions.

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