America’s Demographic Shifts and the Racial Generation Gap

America’s Demographic Shifts and the Racial Generation Gap

by Stacy M. Brown

It’s been a poorly kept secret that the underlying reason for much of America’s hate seen in recent years revolves around the fear that white people are fast losing their grip on the nation’s majority.

That fear has resonated and is ever-present politically and socially.

The Jan. 6 insurrection, former President Donald Trump and his MAGA supporters, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ assault on Black history, the uptick in hate crimes, including police brutality against African Americans, and the continued wave of “Karens” and “Kens.” 

Indeed, white supremacists and white nationalists, and the politicians who fuel them, see a new majority – people of color – and that has served to spark what’s more and more beginning to look like an all-out civil war – or more pointedly, a race war.

In April 2021, the Census Bureau released the first set of results from the 2020 decennial census, providing a snapshot of the U.S. population for use in congressional reapportionment and redistricting. 

But recently, the agency released more detailed census information that shows a fuller picture of the population as it stood during the once-a-decade headcount.

“These new statistics make plain that substantial old-young racial gaps exist in much of the country, and are likely to persist in the near term,” William H. Frey, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, wrote. 

“This is reflected in a cultural generation gap that underlies many aspects of the nation’s social fabric and politics, including views about the recent Supreme Court decision on affirmative action and state proposals to limit teaching about race and diversity in public schools,” Frey wrote in new researched released by the Brookings Institution.

The statistics show that the nation continues to age, with the fastest population growth occurring among the older population while the youth population declines. 

Brookings’s data shows white Americans contributed substantially to older population gains compared to younger and middle-aged populations, which registered white declines. 

Non-white residents accounted for all the gains in post-baby-boomer populations. 

Although all race and ethnic groups are aging to some degree, the median age of white Americans is higher than all others in most geographic areas, researchers wrote.

They said these patterns have led to a “racial generation gap,” in which the younger population—more influenced by immigration in recent decades—is far more diverse than older age groups.

This demographic phenomenon has been shown to underlie many aspects of American social life, including its politics, Frey wrote. 

 “Generation Z will be the last generation of Americans with a white majority, according to census data,” Daniel De Vise wrote for The Hill.

“The nation’s so-called majority minority arrived with Generation Alpha, those born since about 2010.”

De Vise added that, “barely two decades from now, around 2045, non-Hispanic white people will fall below half a share of the overall U.S. population.”

The journalist concluded that “America’s white majority, and its numbered days, is a lightning-rod topic, given the nation’s history of slavery and enduring patterns of discrimination against minorities and immigrants.”

Additionally, “Race is the most complicated variable in the census, and it’s the one that draws people like moths to the flame,” Dowell Myers, a professor of policy, planning and demography at the University of Southern California, told The Hill. 

Justin Gest, a professor at George Mason University’s Scholar School of Policy and Government, observed that, “In this environment, nationalism has experienced a rebirth.”

In an op-ed, Gest wrote that in the face of destabilizing demographic change and the uncertainties of globalization, nationalism is a familiar security blanket. 

“In democracies particularly, nationalism asserts precisely what demographic change threatens: a specific ethno-religious people’s social dominance and entitlement to the state,” Gest concluded.

Source: Published without changes from Washington Informer Newspaper

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