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Diversity Explosion

Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics are Remaking America

Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Diversity Explosion
    Book Description:

    At its optimistic best, America has embraced its identity as the world's melting pot. Today it is on the cusp of becoming a country with no racial majority, and new minorities are poised to exert a profound impact on U.S. society, economy, and politics. In April 2011 aNew York Timesheadline announced, "Numbers of Children of Whites Falling Fast." As it turns out, that year became the first time in American history that more minority babies than white babies were born. The concept of a "minority white" may instill fear among some Americans, but William H. Frey, the man behind the demographic research, points out that demography is destiny, and the fear of a more racially diverse nation will almost certainly dissipate over time.

    Through a compelling narrative and eye-catching charts and maps, eminent demographer Frey interprets and expounds on the dramatic growth of minority populations in the United States. He finds that without these expanding groups, America could face a bleak future: this new generation of young minorities, who are having children at a faster rate than whites, is infusing our aging labor force with vitality and innovation.

    In contrast with the labor force-age population of Japan, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, the U.S. labor force-age population is set to grow 5 percent by 2030.

    Diversity Explosionshares the good news about diversity in the coming decades, and the more globalized, multiracial country that U.S. is becoming.


    1. A Pivotal Period for Race in America

    2. Old versus Young: Cultural Generation Gaps

    3. America's New Racial Map

    4. Hispanics Fan Out: Who Goes Where?

    5. Asians in America: The Newest Minority Surge

    6. The Great Migration of Blacks-In Reverse

    7. White Population Shifts-A Zero-Sum Game

    8. Melting Pot Cities and Suburbs

    9. Neighborhood Segregation: Toward a New Racial Paradigm

    10. Multiracial Marriages and Multiracial America

    11. Race and Politics: Expanding the Battleground

    12. America on the Cusp

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-2399-8
    Subjects: Population Studies, Political Science, Sociology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. Preface
    (pp. IX-X)
  4. 1 A Pivotal Period for Race in America
    (pp. 1-20)

    America reached an important milestone in 2011. That occurred when, for the first time in the history of the country, more minority babies than white babies were born in a year.¹ Soon, most children will be racial minorities: Hispanics, blacks, Asians, and other nonwhite races. And, in about three decades, whites will constitute a minority of all Americans (see figure 1-1). This milestone signals the beginning of a transformation from the mostly white baby boom culture that dominated the nation during the last half of the twentieth century to the more globalized, multiracial country that the United States is becoming....

  5. 2 Old versus Young: The Cultural Generation Gap
    (pp. 21-42)

    The sweeping racial changes transforming much of the American landscape are segmented by an important demographic dimension: age. The infusion of new waves of Hispanics and Asians and multiracial Americans is most evident among the younger age groups. It was punctuated by the arrival in 2011 of the first “majority-minority” birth cohort: the first cohort in which the majority of U.S. babies were nonwhite minorities, of which Hispanics constituted the biggest minority group—more than one-quarter of all births.¹ Consequently, the racial makeup of the nation’s younger population is beginning to contrast sharply with that of the older populations—baby...

  6. 3 America’s New Racial Map
    (pp. 43-64)

    Although the rumblings of America’s coming diversity explosion are heard most clearly from the bottom up, from young to old, the explosion is also spreading geographically, from fairly self-contained Melting Pot regions—the traditional immigrant gateways—to other parts of the country. This chapter provides an overview, in light of major immigration and domestic migration shifts, of America’s population by contrasting its current racial profile with that of the recent past. It lays the groundwork for the next four chapters by identifying transformations across three different mega-regions of the country: the Melting Pot, the New Sun Belt, and the Heartland....

  7. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  8. 4 Hispanics Fan Out: Who Goes Where?
    (pp. 65-86)

    Hispanics are poised to make the greatest contribution to the nation’s population growth in the foreseeable future. Yet they are hardly a monolithic group. Although public perception often conflates the Hispanic population with Mexican immigrants, U.S. Hispanics increasingly will be native-born Americans from a variety of origins. And as Hispanics spread out beyond the Melting Pot region, their demographic attributes began to vary widely by location. This chapter shows that the concept of the Hispanic community takes on different meanings in different settings and that its greatest potential contribution is likely to occur in those parts of the country where...

  9. 5 Asians in America: The Newest Minority Surge
    (pp. 87-106)

    The most recent dimension of America’s diversity explosion involves the growth of the U.S. Asian population, which has mushroomed largely as a result of post-1965 immigration. While Asians often are dubbed the “model minority,” the population is composed of many national origin groups, ranging from long-time Chinese and Japanese residents to more recent entrants from India and other countries, which will be increasingly important partners of the United States in the global economy. Although recent immigration of Hispanics from Latin America has increased and decreased along with the ups and downs in the U.S. economy, new immigration from Asian countries...

  10. 6 The Great Migration of Blacks, In Reverse
    (pp. 107-130)

    With the flurry of interest in the expansion of new minority populations, important changes in the black population have gone almost unnoticed. Especially significant is the renewed black migration to the South, which is contributing to the continuing distinctiveness of the region. The reversal of the Great Migration out of the South began as a trickle in the 1970s, increased in the 1990s, and turned into a virtual evacuation from many northern areas in the first decade of the 2000s. The movement is driven largely by younger, college-educated, and soon-to-be retiring baby boomer blacks—from both northern and western places...

  11. 7 White Population Shifts: A Zero-Sum Game
    (pp. 131-148)

    Although whites constitute the greatest share of the U.S. population, white growth has slowed to a snail’s pace because of low immigration and fertility rates. White gains and losses for different regions and communities depend heavily on migration to and from other parts of the country. Consequently, white population shifts are a zero-sum game. White migrants tend to favor non-coastal, New Sun Belt destinations, similar to those chosen by dispersing minorities. Therefore large metropolitan areas like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are losing whites to areas like Atlanta, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, among others, in growing parts of...

  12. 8 Melting Pot Cities and Suburbs
    (pp. 149-166)

    Perhaps the most visible demographic impact of America’s diversity explosion is occurring within urban areas. The classic image of an American metropolis was that of a polyglot city surrounded by mostly white suburbs—the “chocolate city/vanilla suburbs” of the 1950s and 1960s, when white-dominated suburbanization left largely black minority populations stranded in many of the nation’s largest cities.¹ The black city/white suburb paradigm has almost entirely broken down. Only in slowly growing northern parts of the country does this stereotype partially hold, and even there changes are afoot as newly arriving Hispanics and Asians contribute to population gains. The old...

  13. 9 Neighborhood Segregation: Toward a New Racial Paradigm
    (pp. 167-190)

    One of the most intimate settings of American life—one that has an especially important role in shaping community race relations—is the neighborhood. Neighborhoods are where Americans socialize, shop, and attend school and where civic matters have the most impact. Most directly related to the subject of this book is the fact that the racial makeup of a neighborhood can either foster or prevent interactions with other groups. And for many Americans, the term that comes to mind when thinking about race and neighborhoods is “segregation.” This term conjures up the image of the stark separation between blacks and...

  14. 10 Multiracial Marriages and Multiracial America
    (pp. 191-212)

    The usual way that race labels are applied in the United States in everyday parlance and in government statistics belies the increase in multiracial marriages and births, which almost certainly will lead to more blended populations in future generations. As this trend continues, it will bring about a blurring of the racial boundaries that were evident and often inflamed in the last half of the twentieth century. The nation is not there yet. But the evidence for multiracial marriages and multiracial individual identity, as with neighborhood residential integration—another measure of interaction at the local, personal level—shows an unmistakable...

  15. 11 Race and Politics: Expanding the Battleground
    (pp. 213-238)

    The sweeping diversity explosion that is now under way in the United States will continue to change the social and demographic personalities of all parts of the country in ways that would not have been anticipated 20 or 30 years ago. Its impact on national politics is one of these. This is nothing new. Since the nation’s founding, significant episodes of demographic change have shaped and reshaped regional interests and voting blocs in unforeseen ways.¹ The country is now in the midst of one of these episodes. The election of the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama, a progressive Democrat,...

  16. 12 America on the Cusp
    (pp. 239-252)

    The diversity explosion that the United States is now experiencing is ushering in the most demographically turbulent period in the country’s recent history. By “turbulent” I do not mean that the nation is about to experience sharp conflicts over its growing diversity. In fact, I believe just the opposite. As the United States comes to understand the magnitude and significance of this new diversity for its demographic and economic future and for its interconnectedness in an increasingly global village, it will seek to find ways to both embrace and nurture its diversity. This demographic turbulence, rather, offers the vibrancy, hope,...

  17. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 253-256)
  18. Notes
    (pp. 257-288)
  19. Index
    (pp. 289-301)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 302-302)