2020 Vision: U.S. Demographics Continue Shift

With the 2020 Census getting underway, the demographic changes seen over the last two decades are expected to continue. A new analysis of prior Census data by Axios shows how changing demographics have altered the U.S. electorate. In particular, Hispanics are now the largest minority group in the electorate for the first time, while Texas joins Nevada as the two states to become majority minority since 2000.

These numbers represent the results of a decades-long decline in white births while Hispanic birth rates have grown at the same time. "In many, many areas of the United States, the non-Hispanic white population has been below replacement level fertility for quite some time now," says Steve Murdock, Rice University professor emeritus and former Census director. "We (in the U.S.) have a decreasing white population, as do most of the European-based populations, and I don't see anything that suggests that is going to change."

Murdock predicts this trend will only increase with this year's Census and in the decades ahead. "(White) fertility has been below replacement for years, at least two decades," he says. "And once you've had low fertility for a fairly extensive period of time, coming back is less likely."

The numbers reveal interesting trends about both the beginning and the end of life. While birth rates have steadily declined among whites, older generations are living longer than ever. In fact, the average life expectancy just went up for the first time in years. "There's been a change due to medical science and other things that has increased our longevity," says Murdock. "And I see nothing that suggests that we're suddenly going to stop having improvements in our longevity."

That last trend could be an important one when it comes to elections, since older people tend to vote in far greater numbers than any other age group.

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