According to U.S. Census Bureau figures released May 17, Hispanics, Blacks, Asians and other minorities accounted for 50.4 percent of births as of July 1, 2011. Minorities also accounted for slightly more than half of the 4 million kids under age 1 and 49.7 of all children under age 5.
Experts said the news highlights the growing diversity of American society. According to the 2010 census, the minority population increased 1.9 percent to 114.1 million, or 36.6 percent of the total U.S. population. The demographic shift likely will profoundly impact education, economics and politics.
“This is an important landmark,” Roderick Harrison, a former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau and now a sociologist at Howard University, told the Associated Press. “This generation is growing up much more accustomed to diversity than its elders.”
Kenneth Johnson, a demographer at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute, told USA Today that increase in minority births reflects the fact that there are more minorities of child-bearing age.
While minority births outpaced those of Whites, minorities still had fewer babies than in 2010, a trend that may have been driven by the slow-moving economy. Overall, Blacks, Hispanics and other non-Whites had had 5.9 percent fewer babies—but births among non-Hispanic Whites fell even more, down 10 percent.