Demographic shifts a’ coming



According to projections released yesterday by the US Census bureau, the racial makeup and age distribution of America’s population is about to undergo some important changes.

The study reports that by the year 2042 minority groups in the US will outnumber the population of white Americans, and will represent more than 50% of the population by 2050 (when the US population is expected be nearly 440 million.)

From an article in the Washington Post:

The shift will happen sooner among children, 44 percent of whom are minority. By 2023, more than half are expected to be minority, and by 2050, the proportion will be 62 percent.

The largest share of children, 39 percent, is projected to be Hispanic, followed by non-Hispanic whites (38 percent), African Americans (11 percent) and Asians (6 percent).

Hispanics, including immigrants and their descendants as well as U.S.-born residents whose American roots stretch back generations, are expected to account for the most growth among minorities. That population is expected to nearly triple by 2050, growing from about one in six residents to one in three.

In addition to the change in racial distribution, the study predicts that the population will be older on average. The percentage of Americans 85 years and older in the population will double from it’s present value of 2% to 4% by 2050.

The article in the post goes on to discuss the challenges to the US economy and infrastructure that these changes will bring. But there’s little discussion of the effect they’ll have on denominational life.

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3 Responses to "Demographic shifts a’ coming"
  1. I'm sure that some folks respond to this projection with dismay. But let us think: In the 17th century the overwhelming majority of the population in what would become the US was British (mostly English and Scottish), with some Dutch, and the beginnings of an African population. In the course of the 18th century the percentage of the population whose birth or ancestry was elsewhere in Europe (especially northern Europe -- Germany and Scandinavia) began to grow, continuing into the 19th century with southern Europeans, etc., and the percentage of Africans grew substantially, especially because of the expansion of the slave trade. In the 20th century the number of people of Asian origin also grew substantially. In short, the expansion of American demographics beyond the "original" English has always been a part of our history, and an invaluable dimension of our national character. The time is coming when we shall all be members of "minority" groups, and that is surely a good thing!

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  2. How thoughtless of me not to mention (1) Native Americans, who would be a much larger proportion of the historic American population if we hadn't killed so many of them, directly or indirectly; (2) the long-term population of what is now the American southwest. One of my parishioners (and his wife) many years ago were from New Mexico, where his ancestors (of Spanish and Native origin) had lived for a century before my first English ancestor came to Massachusetts in 1638.

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  3. I sometimes tell the story of The Church of St. Matthew and St. Timothy, on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

    When I was a member, 1990-94, on Sundays it had two English services, and one Spanish service.

    When I visited in 2004, it had two Spanish services, and one English service!

    Regardless---and in any/every language---"Blessed be the name of the Lord"

    JC Fisher

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