Pew Researcher Says The ‘Next America’ Is Younger, Less White

Paul Taylor Speaks At Marquette University On Changing Demography Of U.S.


A visitor to Wisconsin this week highlighted the changing racial, ethnic and age demographics of the U.S.

Paul Taylor is a senior fellow at the Pew Research Center and author of “The Next America.” During a talk at Marquette University, he said there are two slow-motion, but profound demographic changes taking place in the United States.

The first, he said, is that the U.S. is on the way to becoming a majority non-white country.

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“This’ll happen sometime a little bit before the middle of this century. In 1960, our population was 85 percent white. By the middle of this century, according to the Census Bureau, it’ll be about 43 percent white,” he said.

Taylor said much of the racial change is happening because of immigration from different parts of the world. One hundred years ago, 9 of 10 immigrants were from Europe. In the last 50 years, only 12 percent were from Europe. Half were from Latin America and 30 percent are from Asia, with Asian immigration — including from China, India and South Korea — overtaking Latino immigration over the last five years.

Taylor said the second profound change has been baby boomers becoming senior citizens.

Put the changing age and race numbers together, and Taylor said “you wind up with a moment in our history where old and young don’t look alike — don’t think alike, don’t vote alike, don’t use technology alike, don’t form families in the same way.”

Taylor said the changes can cause stress on society and various programs. But he said politicians who are able to connect with the changes can benefit. Taylor said the demographic shift toward diversity was a key reason President Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney in 2012.

“Four years of young adults had aged into the electorate — disproportionately non-white and disproportionately liberal and Democratic,” said Taylor. “And to put it the kindest terms I can, four years of older adults had aged out of the electorate. They had gone off to their greater rewards. Were it not for the votes of people under age 30, we’d be in year two of the Romney-Ryan administration.”

Taylor said these demographic shifts don’t mean Democrats will win every election, as evidenced by many races last fall. However, he said 2016 could be another year of bigger voter turnout, and include more of what he calls that “next America.”