Lawmakers should consider shift in demographics

By ZEIN KATTIH COLUMNIST
On May 21, 2012

By 2042, white Americans will no longer comprise a majority of the U.S. population, according to the Census Bureau.

Though non-Hispanic whites still make up the single largest proportion of births at 49.6 percent, the group is no longer a majority against the combination of other births.

America is already known as a melting pot for its myriad ethnicities and races, yet this shift could lead to significant economic and political changes.

The shifting racial makeup could pose a generational rift between the older, mostly white America with the younger and more diverse population. This will lead to a need to reconsider policies concerning access to higher education in particular, since it will shape the future of new generations and the future of the country.

The Bureau reported that by 2050, non-Hispanic whites will make up 46 percent of the population, blacks 15 percent, Hispanics 30 percent, and Asians 9 percent. For Florida, the Bureau predicted that 41 percent of the population will be white, 17 percent will be black, 35 percent will be Hispanic, and 5 percent will be Asian.

Toddler populations have greater representation from non-white populations, and several states already have largely diverse and non-white centric populations, especially in metropolitan areas of states such as Florida.

Since the older, predominantly white generation will make up the majority of lawmakers, it becomes necessary to question whether those lawmakers will be able to set aside their inhibitions about the changing racial composition of the country and carry out their duties in manners that are most beneficial to younger populations.

This question extends into higher education with policies of quotas and affirmative action. With the predicted demographic change, acceptance quotas will no longer serve their purpose. Moreover, affirmative action may need to be reconsidered or completely done away with. It could be necessary to extrapolate affirmative action into the white population.

According to William H. Frey of the Brookings Institution, 13, 18, and 31 percent of Hispanics, blacks, and whites, respectively, have college degrees. With increasing minority populations, the ideals upon which affirmative action are based may be extrapolated to further engage those populations, which could bode disadvantageous for the white populations in terms of fair representation.

America has always been a center for a multitude races and ethnicities. As its eclectic nature grows, lawmakers and citizens alike must adapt to its changes. This means maintaining a balance between groups, accepting changes and accommodating all demographics.

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