Old and Brown: America in 50 Years

Census Bureau: Non-Hispanic whites will be a minority by 2043.

A baby is held up during during the announcement of the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument by President Barack Obama on Oct. 8, 2012 in Keene, California.
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In 50 years, the United States of America will look like a very different place.

New projections by the U.S. Census Bureau predict non-Hispanic white people will be a minority by 2043 due mostly to the doubling of the Hispanic and Asian populations. Races we now consider minorities, which comprise 37 percent of the population today, are projected to comprise 57 percent of the population by 2060.

"The next half century marks key points in continuing trends — the U.S. will become a plurality nation, where the non-Hispanic white population remains the largest single group, but no group is in the majority," the Census Bureau's acting director, Thomas L. Mesenbourg, said in a statement.

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Not only will the population be more diverse, it will also be older. The bureau predicts the elderly population will double by 2060, so that one in five people will be aged 65 or older, up from one in seven today. By 2056, the elderly will outnumber the young (those under 18) for the first time. The population of the very old, people aged 85 and up, is expected to triple over that time period and reach 18 million. The elderly and elder elderly will continue to be majority white, the bureau predicts.

As the graph above shows, whites are the only race expected to decline in population over the next half century. The non-Hispanic white population will continue to climb from 198 million today to its peak of about 200 million in 2024, at which point it is projected to begin to decline. By 2060, the bureau predicts it will have fallen by more than 20 million from its 2024 high.

While Hispanic and Asian races show the most growth, the black population will also increase by around 20 million. The infant mortality rate among blacks, which today is more than double that of any other race at 13.1 per 1000 births, is predicted to fall to 6.3 per 1000, about the current average for all races in the United States today.

The total population of the United States is expected to hit the 400 million mark in 2051 and reach 420 million in 2060. That is a considerably slower growth rate than in the past, and even slower than projected as recently as 2008 and 2009. The latest revision predicts lower birth rates and less international migration than in previous projections.

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Seth Cline is a reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at scline@usnews.com.