America’s population is becoming increasingly diverse, and by the mid- 21st century “people of color” may very well equal non-Hispanic white Americans in number. Today, about in four Americans is a minority. The largest segment of minorities, 32 million strong, is represented by African Americans, who make up 12% of the nation’s population.
During the first half of the 1990s, the African American population increased by 8%, and is projected to reach nearly 42 million by the year 2020. The rate of growth for African Americans, however, is expected to be much slower than for other minorities. If current trends hold up, Hispanics will outnumber African Americans within the next 15 years–an outcome that would represent a historic shift in America’s racial and ethnic composition and could mean long-range changes in social, political and economic life.
THE CHANGING FACE OF AMERICA
By the year 2020, an estimated 115 million Americans will be minorities. The Asian population will have the most rapid growth rate, while Hispanics will add the most numbers.
U.S. POPULATION: 1995
American Indians* 1.9 million (0.7%)
Asians & Pacific Islanders 8.8 million (3%)
Hispanics 26.9 million (10%)
African Americans 31.6 million (12%)
Whites 193.6 million (74%)
U.S. POPULATION: 2020
American Indians* 2.6 million (0.8%)
Asians & Pacific Islanders 18.6 million (6%)
Hispanics 52.7 million (16%)
African Americans 41.5 million (13%)
Whites 207.3 million (64%)
*American Indians represent Native Americans, Eskimos and Aleuts
Source: Statistical Bulletin, July-September 1996, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., New York; and Current Population Reports, P25-1030, U.S. Census Bureau, 1996