For first time in US, white peoples' deaths outnumber births
Latest figures take demographers by surprise
Baby and parent's hand, picture by Shutterstock
- Carol Morello and Ted Mellnik for Washington Post
- United States
- June 20, 2013
More white people died in the United States last year than were born, a surprising slump coming more than a decade before the Census Bureau says that the ranks of white Americans will likely drop with every passing year.
Population estimates for 2012 released Thursday show what’s known as a natural decrease — a straightforward calculation of births minus deaths — of about 12,400 people among the nation’s 198 million non-Hispanic whites.
Although the percentage is small, several demographers said they are not aware of another time in U.S. history — not even during the Depression or wars — when there was such shrinkage among the dominant racial group. No other group showed a similar falloff.
The decrease was offset by 188,000 white immigrants, most from Canada and Germany but also from Russia and Saudi Arabia. And non-Hispanic whites remain the single largest group, making up 63 percent of the country.
But demographers were surprised by the outsize drop in births compared with deaths, which the Census Bureau projects will begin happening with regularity by 2025.
“We’re jumping the gun on a long, slow decline of our white population, which is going to characterize this century,” said William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution. “It’s a bookend from the last century, when whites helped us grow. Now it’s minorities who are going to make the contributions to our economic and population growth over the next 50 years.”
Full Story: Whites’ deaths outnumber births for first time
Source: Washington Post