White births in the United States are no longer in the majority, according to US Census Bureau data made public Thursday.
Minorities — Hispanics, blacks and Asians and other mixed races — accounted for 50.4 percent of births over a 12-month period to July 2011, marking a majority for the first time in US history.
The demographic milestone had been expected for years in a country founded by European whites and that early on relied heavily on the work of enslaved Africans, then went through a civil war and civil rights battle over issues of race.
Whites still maintain the largest single share of the total births, at 49.6 percent, according to the census data, and remain the majority — 63.4 percent — of the population as a whole, according to the Census Bureau in the latest release of data from its 2010 census
In recent years, the growth of Hispanic populations immigrating from Latin America has hastened a decline in the majority status of white births, the census data suggested.
That trend is expected to continue with Hispanics “squarely within their peak fertility,” with a population median age of 27, the New York Times said, citing Pew Hispanic Center demographer Jeffrey Passel.
In the period between 2000 and 2010, more Hispanic births were recorded in the United States than Hispanics immigrants arriving in the country, Passel said.
The tipping point represents a “transformation from a mostly white baby boomer culture to the more globalized multi-ethnic country that we are becoming,” William Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer, told the Times.