August 26, 2011 | USA Today | Original Article

Minority babies almost the majority

Only 50.2% of babies under age 1 are white and not Hispanic, according to the 2010 Census — a sharp decline from 57.6% just 10 years earlier.

"We are almost at a minority-majority infant population," says Brookings Institution demographer William Frey, who analyzed the latest Census data. "We probably have passed it since the Census was taken" in April 2010.

The number of states where minority babies dominate has doubled to 14 since 2000. The balance has tipped in big states such as New York, Florida, New Jersey and Georgia.

Minorities have been the majority in Texas and California nurseries for more than two decades. In Texas, the majority of people under age 47 are minorities, in California, under 52.

Steady growth in the number of young U.S. Hispanics who have more children than whites is shrinking the ranks of non-Hispanic whites.

The shift is dramatic in states such as Florida and Nevada, where whites are in the minority among those younger than 38. A decade earlier, whites were the majority in all age groups in Florida and in Nevada, among all those above age 3.

In rural areas, the number of white children declined by more than 1 million or almost 10% from 2000 to 2010, says Kenneth Johnson, demographer at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute.

The number of young white women of child-bearing age is declining while there is an increase in minority women of child-bearing age, Johnson says.

In Georgia's Whitfield County, home of Dalton, the "Carpet Capital of the World," more than 59% of infants were minorities in 2010 compared with 38.4% in 2000.

The area's floor-covering industry has attracted so many Hispanics that the North Georgia Health District, based in Dalton, has brought in translators and prints materials in Spanish, says Jennifer King, public information officer.

The nationwide changes are redefining who is a minority and who is not.

"These little babies … by the time they get to be in their 20s and 30s, the current racial and ethnic categories … won't have anything close to the meaning that (they have) today," Frey says. "When they think about white majority, it'll be something in the history books."