Majority Become the Minority in Several US Cities

Minorities become a majority in Washington region

By  and Ted Mellnik, Wednesday, August 31, 12:04 AM
Washington is among eight big-city metropolitan regions in which minorities became a majority in the past decade, according to a new analysis of census data showing white population declines in many of the largest metro areas.

Along with Washington, the regions surrounding New York, San Diego, Las Vegas and Memphis have become majority-minority since 2000. Non-Hispanic whites are a minority in 22 of the country’s 100-biggest urban areas.

The white population shrank in raw numbers in 42 of those big-city regions. But every large metro area showed a decline in the percentage of whites.

The shifts reflect the aging of the white population as more people get beyond their childbearing years and the relative youth of the Hispanic and Asian populations fueling most of the growth.

“What’s happened is pivotal,” said William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution who conducted the analysis. “Large metropolitan areas will be the laboratories for change. The measures they take to help minorities assimilate and become part of the labor force will be studied by other parts of the country that are whiter and have­n’t been touched as much by the change.”

Racial and ethnic minorities make up slightly more than half of the residents of the Washington region, according to 2010 Census figures. The region was 55 percent white in 2000 and 64 percent white in 1990.

Not every part of the region has been affected equally.

Whites are minorities in the District and in Maryland’s Montgomery, Prince George’s and Charles counties. In Virginia, Prince William County is majority-minority.

With 55 percent of its residents white, Fairfax County could become majority-minority by the next census. So could Loudoun County, which is 62 percent white. Arlington County is one of the few places in the region where the percentage of whites is on the rise.

In most places, the demographic shift has been so rapid that even the officials tracking it have been stunned.

A report this spring by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission noted that the number of students enrolled in the area’s eight school districts grew by almost 119,000 from 1995 to 2010. The number of white students rose by barely 1,000. The rest were minorities.

“What has happened in the past 15 years in the public schools of Northern Virginia is literally mind-boggling,” the report says. “Even for a region accustomed to constant and accelerated change, the spectacularly swift transformation of the racial and ethnic profile of Northern Virginia’s school-aged population is without precedent.”

When the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments wanted to offer tips to homeowners and renters facing foreclosure, it printed brochures not only in English and Spanish but in Mandarin Chinese, Vietnamese and Amharic, a language spoken in Ethi­o­pia.

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) said the growth in racial and ethnic minorities has helped transform places such as Fairfax from reliably moderate Republican domains to ones where Democrats control the Board of Supervisors and that are represented in Congress and the General Assembly by Democrats.

“You’re going to start seeing that demographic impact politically in the outer suburbs” more and more, he predicted.

The census figures offer a glimpse of the future workforce for high-paying, high-skilled jobs and for lower-paying service jobs, said Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University.

“If we fast-forward to 2020, when we’re out of the doldrums the economy is in today, we’re going to need more workers than we have residents,” he said. “I look at this flow of nonnatives, whether they’re moving here from California or right off the boat from whatever country, as an important source of workers that will enable the economy to grow. “

Fuller said that as more people approach retirement, about 60 percent of the job vacancies created will be filled people who do not live here today. Almost half the jobs will require college educations, but the rest will not. Landscapers, home health aides, waitresses, cashiers and other low-skill positions are often filled by immigrants.

“There are an enormous lot of jobs that aren’t great jobs,” he said. “I don’t know who’s going to do the jobs that have to be done unless people have to because they’re newcomers.”

Frey said the changes over the past decade have altered Washington and the way it is perceived.

“It’s not a traditional immigrant magnet,” he said. “Ten years ago, when you thought of immigrants, you’d think of L.A., New York or San Francisco. You wouldn’t think of Washington. Now it’s moved up on the pecking order.

“It’s a precursor of what’s coming in other places.”

The Tipping Point – 10%

You can fool some of the people some of the time and all of the people if ten percent of them are really convinced of their position

By Will Femia, Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:29 PM EDT, The Maddow Blog
Wait, what?

Well, the story is that “scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society.” That’s a pretty bold statement. How the heck could you even test for such a thing?

It turns out, the study, Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities (pdf), used an algorithmic model called a binary agreement model. Not as messy as asking people about their opinions and how strongly they hold them, the idea here is that a person can have opinion A or opinion B. If you interact with someone with the same opinion, you keep your opinion. If you interact once with someone with a different opinion, you hold both opinions. And if you interact a second time with someone of a different opinion, you switch to that opinion.

Here’s the chart from the study that shows how all that works:

In this case, the Bs don’t change their mind; they’re “unshakable.”

So the question is how many unshakable Bs does it take in a group having random interactions to convince all the As? As you might imagine, the study is a whole lot of the maths and not a lot of case studies or anecdotes. If you don’t believe this model reflects real humans, I don’t know how to convince you otherwise. I’m only a social science spectator but it seems plausible that when people interact with others of different opinions they can end up adopting those opinions.

Looking for this at play in the wild after the jump…

Where do we see this dynamic at play in the real world? The researchers cite “the suffragette movement in the early 20th century and the rise of the American civil-rights movement that started shortly after the size of the African-American population crossed the 10% mark” as examples of their 10% tipping point.

Of course, it’s backward to take an example and try to make it fit a study’s conclusion but hey, does the sudden change in public opinion they’re talking about remind you at all of the trajectory of polling on gay marriage? You don’t see it so much in this gallup chart, but check out the trend line on this chart (pdf) from a survey released yesterday, commissioned by a group called Freedom to Marry:

I think we’d have to dig deeper into the “strongly support”/”strongly oppose” numbers to get at the unshakables described in the Rensselaer study, but it’s an impressive demonstration that a tipping point exists at all. The whole subject gives me a new respect for the ability of small groups to break into the mainstream. I wonder if there’d be a way to graph the opinions of the Tea Party. Or if there’s a discernible tipping point in the public opinion of alternative rock in the late 80s/early 90s. Did Lollapalooza 1 mark a 10% tipping point?

Bonus reading: While looking for a free version of the Rensselaer study I found a free book on the subject of minority influence: The social psychology of minority influence (pdf).  /// strangely, this link only seems to work when Google Scholar is the referring URL. It’s the first result here.

Colbert Covers Voter ID Laws [Video]

Prometheus Radio Project vs. FCC

Media Reform Victory: People Win, Corporations Lose!

By Sue Wilson

The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia handed the public a huge victory last Thursday, and giant corporations a rare loss, in their decision [PDF] on a case that (ironically enough, given the subject matter) most of the public knew nothing about, but one which has the potential to benefit real people with better quality news and information for decades to come.

The case, Prometheus Radio Project v FCC, pitted “Citizen Petitioners” who seek more persons owning local media outlets to ensure diversity in viewpoints and news coverage, versus “Deregulatory Petitioners” who want fewer persons (spell that “corporations”) to own local media outlets, and the publicly-owned broadcast airwaves that go with them, in order to enhance their profits.

At stake were the rules determining how many local TV and radio stations one company can own in a single market; whether a newspaper owner can also own a TV or radio station in the same town; and how broadcast ownership by minorities and women should be handled. (More)

Minority is the New Majority

Majority Of U.S. Babies Are Non-White For First Time, Census Finds

Minority Babies

First Posted: 06/23/11 01:40 PM ET Updated: 06/23/11 02:34 PM ET 

WASHINGTON (AP) – For the first time, minorities make up a majority of babies in the U.S., part of a sweeping race change and growing age divide between mostly white, older Americans and predominantly minority youths that could reshape government policies.

Preliminary census estimates also show the share of African-American households headed by women – made up of mostly single mothers – now exceeds African-American households with married couples, a sign of declining U.S. marriages overall but also continuing challenges for black youths without involved fathers.

The findings, based on the latest government data, offer a preview of final 2010 census results being released this summer that provide detailed breakdowns by age, race and householder relationships such as same-sex couples. Demographers say the numbers provide the clearest confirmation yet of a changing social order, one in which racial and ethnic minorities will become the U.S. majority by midcentury.

“We’re moving toward an acknowledgment that we’re living in a different world than the 1950s, where married or two-parent heterosexual couples are now no longer the norm for a lot of kids, especially kids of color,” said Laura Speer, coordinator of the Kids Count project for the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation.

“It’s clear the younger generation is very demographically different from the elderly, something to keep in mind as politics plays out on how programs for the elderly get supported,” she said. “It’s critical that children are able to grow to compete internationally and keep state economies rolling.”

Currently, non-Hispanic whites make up just under half of all children 3 years old, which is the youngest age group shown in the Census Bureau’s October 2009 annual survey, its most recent. In 1990, more than 60 percent of children in that age group were white.

William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the data, said figures in the 2009 survey can sometimes be inexact compared with the 2010 census, which queries the entire nation. But he said when factoring in the 2010 data released so far, minorities outnumber whites among babies under age 2.

The preliminary figures are based on an analysis of the Current Population Survey as well as the 2009 American Community Survey, which sampled 3 million U.S. households to determine that whites made up 51 percent of babies younger than 2. After taking into account a larger-than-expected jump in the minority child population in the 2010 census, the share of white babies falls below 50 percent.

Twelve states and the District of Columbia now have white populations below 50 percent among children under age 5 – Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Maryland, Georgia, New Jersey, New York and Mississippi. That’s up from six states and the District of Columbia in 2000.

At current growth rates, seven more states could flip to “minority-majority” status among small children in the next decade: Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut, South Carolina and Delaware.

By contrast, whites make up the vast majority of older Americans – 80 percent of seniors 65 and older and roughly 73 percent of people ages 45-64. Many states with high percentages of white seniors also have particularly large shares of minority children, including Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas and Florida.

“The recent emergence of this cultural generation gap in states with fast growth of young Hispanics has spurred heated discussions of immigration and the use of government services,” Frey said. “But the new census, which will show a minority majority of our youngest Americans, makes plain that our future labor force is absolutely dependent on our ability to integrate and educate a new diverse child population.”

Kenneth Johnson, a sociology professor and senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire, noted that much of the race change is being driven by increases in younger Hispanic women having more children than do white women, who have lower birth rates and as a group are moving beyond their prime childbearing years.

Because minority births are driving the rapid changes in the population, “any institution that touches or is impacted by children will be the first to feel the impact,” Johnson said, citing as an example child and maternal health care that will have to be attentive to minorities’ needs.

The numbers come amid public debate over hotly contested federal and state issues, from immigration and gay marriage to the rising cost of government benefits such as Medicare and Medicaid, that are resonating in different ways by region and demographics.

Alabama became the latest state this month to pass a wide-ranging anti-immigration law, which in part requires schools to report students’ immigration status to state authorities. That follows tough immigration measures passed in similarly Republican-leaning states such as Georgia, Arizona and South Carolina.

But governors in Massachusetts, New York and Illinois, which long have been home to numerous immigrants, have opted out of the federal Secure Communities program that aims to deport dangerous criminals, saying it has made illegal immigrants afraid of reporting crimes to police. California may soon opt out as well.

States also are divided by region over old-age benefits and gay marriage, which is legal in five states and the District of Columbia.

Among African-Americans, U.S. households headed by women – mostly single mothers but also adult women living with siblings or elderly parents – represented roughly 30 percent of all African-American households, compared with the 28 percent share of married-couple African-American households. It was the first time the number of female-headed households surpassed those of married couples among any race group, according to census records reviewed by Frey dating back to 1950.

While the number of black single mothers has been gradually declining, overall marriages among blacks are decreasing faster. That reflects a broader U.S. trend of declining marriage rates as well as increases in non-family households made up of people living alone, or with unmarried partners or other non-relatives.

Female-headed households make up a 19 percent share among Hispanics and 9 percent each for whites and Asians.
Other findings:

_Multigenerational households composed of families with grandparents, parents and children were most common among Hispanics, particularly in California, Maryland, Illinois, Nevada and Texas, all states where they represented nearly 1 in 10 Latino households.

_Roughly 581,000, or a half percent, of U.S. households are composed of same-sex unmarried couples, representing nearly 1 in 10 households with unmarried partners. Unmarried gay couples made up the biggest shares in states in the Northeast and West, led by the District of Columbia, Oregon, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont. The largest numbers were in California and New York, which is now considering a gay marriage law.

_Minorities comprise a majority of renters in 10 states, plus the District of Columbia – Hawaii, Texas, California, Georgia, Maryland, New Mexico, Mississippi, New Jersey, Louisiana and New York.

Tony Perkins, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council, a conservative interest group, emphasized the economic impact of the decline of traditional families, noting that single-parent families are often the most dependent on government assistance.

“The decline of the traditional family will have to correct itself if we are to continue as a society,” Perkins said, citing a responsibility of individuals and churches. “We don’t need another dose of big government, but a new Hippocratic oath of ‘do no harm’ that doesn’t interfere with family formation or seek to redefine family.”