In the U.S., diversity is the new majority

A just-released Census Bureau report shows that by 2044, whites will no longer comprise a racial majority in the United States. By then, the nation — like today’s Los Angeles — will be made up of a kaleidoscope of racial groups, including Latinos, blacks, Asians, Native Americans and multiracial Americans.

This “no racial majority” scenario, even three decades away, provokes fear in some white Americans: fear of change, of losing privileged status or of unwanted people coming into their communities. But it is a change that should be welcomed.

The fact is that “no majority” America is here and thriving in 2015. According to the new projections, it is here among children younger than 5, and it is here among all students in the nation’s public schools. It will be here for the nation’s under-30 population in less than a decade, deepening the transformation that has already come to pockets of many urban cores and large swaths of the nation’s coasts and the Southwest.

Interracial marriages are at an all-time high, especially among the young and especially in the most diverse sections of the country. And in just 16 years, there will be minority white populations in 12 states, including California (Los Angeles crossed this threshold in 1990), Texas, Florida, New York, Georgia and New Jersey, according to a recently released States of Change project report that I wrote with Ruy Teixeira and Robert Griffin.

Fear of a racially diverse nation seems to be greatest in parts of the population and the country that have yet to experience this change. These include a slew of communities and states that have recently enacted laws tough on immigrants in the country illegally even though relatively few immigrants live there, legally or illegally. In the broader population, fear is greatest among the least-diverse age groups — baby boomers and seniors, many of whom grew up in an era of low immigration and extreme segregation and interacted less with minority populations…