Demographics; Life in Lebanon

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Demographics

The Washington Post had a nice story yesterday on Page A2 on demographer William Frey. Frey teaches at the University of Michigan and also works at the Brookings Institution in Washington. He also has his own website and has helped set up other demographic websites. I have found his work to be first-rate. I found only one irritating passage in the story:

What will change going forward? In 10 years, minorities are expected to make up nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population, Frey says. Ten years after that, they will have a plethora of high-profile positions as members of Congress, judges and business leaders, he predicts.

I don't know how many a "plethora" is, but we already have Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. In addition, the CEOs of Time Warner, Merrill Lynch, and American Express are of African descent; Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez used to be CEO of Kellogg; and in the recent past we had Secretary of State Colin Powell and the hugely successful Coca-Cola CEO Roberto Goizueta. People who are classified as "minorities" already hold a lot of high-profile positions.

But the article later makes it clear that Frey understands the arbitrariness of our current definitions of "minorities."

Talk of race will have changed dramatically, Frey says. By 2026, "federally discussed racial categories," as they are used today, will be far less meaningful, he predicts. In Los Angeles, 25 percent of the population will be mixed race, with 20 percent in New York. One in 6 babies born that year will most likely not fall into a single category, he says, citing a rising number of relationships between Hispanics and Asians and other races.

Exactly. As I pointed out in my book The New Americans: How the Melting Pot Can Work Again, back in the early 20th century, Irish, Italian, and Polish immigrants were regarded as members of other "races." If we count as "minorities" those who were considered minorities in 1906, the country already has a majority of minorities--a rather large majority, in fact. And, of course, there's been plenty of intermarriage.

Self-promoting note: The paperback edition of The New Americans, with a new introduction, has just been published by Regnery. You can get your copy here.

Frey has been particularly interested in the movement of young people around the country, and the Post article spotlights states that are gaining large numbers of under-35s (Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho) and those that are losing under-35s (West Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota, Wyoming). Frey notes that the U.S. population will reach 300 million next October 17 and that it reached 200 million in 1967, less than 40 years ago.

Life in Lebanon

Glenn Reynolds links to a report from blogger Michael Totten on post-July 12 Lebanon. Totten draws on his experiences during seven months in Lebanon in the past few years and provides links to his earlier posts. Totten is a thoughtful observer, very much worth reading. Interesting excerpt:

Lebanese are temporarily more united than ever. No one is running off to join Hezbollah, but tensions are being smoothed over for now while everyone feels they are under attack by the same enemy. Most Lebanese who had warm feelings for Israel--and there were more of these than you can possibly imagine--no longer do.

This will not last.

My sources and friends in Beirut tell me most Lebanese are going easy on Hezbollah as much as they can while the bombs are still falling. But a terrible reckoning awaits them once this is over.

Some Lebanese can't wait even that long.

Here a Christian mob smashes a car in Beirut for displaying a Hezbollah logo.