According to a new study, the number of white deaths exceeded the number of births in 17 U.S. states in 2014. While the finding follows previously predicted trends, 17 represents a new record high number of states in the United States where white deaths outnumber white births. Moreover, it is fully predicted that the number of states in which this pattern exists will continue to rise.
As RT reports, the trend of more white deaths than white births in increasing numbers of states across the country is bolstered by a white population that is increasingly feeling its age, according to research conducted by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.
Overall, the 17 states that are now seeing more white deaths than births represent fully 38 percent of the American populous (or roughly 121 million people). Those states are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.
There are several factors that played into the trend of more white deaths than births in nearly two-thirds of U.S. states in 2014. While the increasing age of the white population is a big one, it is eclipsed by the fact that there are fewer white women of reproductive age, and fertility rates are plummeting, as well.
“Much of this aging baby boom population is white, and so white mortality is growing. Together, growing white mortality and the diminishing number of white births increase the likelihood of more white natural decrease.”
Other contributing factors to the decreased birth rate among white people in America are said to be the high suicide rate among middle-aged white Americans and the opiate addiction epidemic that has swept the country in recent years.
Despite the decrease in white births, which are now surmounted by white deaths in 17 states, the U.S. population rate is not declining at the same rate. In fact, minority populations in the United States are almost making up the difference. Not only have minority populations increased in the country, in 15 of the 17 states, minority births are exceeding minority deaths. The exceptions to this trend are West Virginia and Maine.
The Latino population increase across the United States appears to be contributing to the overall rate of population growth in the U.S., which is steady (aside from the “Great Recession” decline of 2007, a dip that hasn’t recovered) despite the fact that 17 states are now seeing more white deaths than births. By the year 2060, Latinos are predicted to account for nearly 30 percent of the country’s total population.
On the contrary, the white population in the U.S. is supposed to dive below the 50 percent mark by as soon as 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In calculating the data, researchers did not consider white Americans who relocated across state lines, nor did they factor in new white immigrants to individual states.
According to the data, in the period between 2000 and 2014, white women considered to be “of reproductive age” (15 to 44-years-old) fell by 4.7 million individuals. Perhaps even more startling, in 1999, the number of white births less the number of white deaths was 393,000. In 2014, that number had fallen to just 82,000, or by nearly 80 percent.
The pattern of white deaths exceeding white births was first observed in 2012, reports The Washington Post. It was then that the overall number of white deaths in the United States was more than the number of white births for the first time since census record keeping began. At the time, it was reported as being a “natural decline,” and it was only to the tune of 12,400 more deaths than births.
However small that it was, that notable turning point in the demographics of the United States marked the first time in the nation’s history (including during the Depression and World Wars) that the “dominant racial group” had experienced such shrinkage. What’s more, then as in now, while white deaths had begun to exceed white births, no other racial or ethnic group in the U.S. was following the same pattern.
When the historic 2012 numbers were first reported in 2013, it was predicted that the trend of white deaths exceeding white births would continue for the foreseeable future.
“We’re jumping the gun on a long, slow decline of our white population, which is going to characterize this century. It’s a bookend from the last century, when whites helped us grow. Now it’s minorities who are going to make the contributions to our economic and population growth over the next 50 years.”
Kenneth Johnson, who co-authored the recent study which demonstrated that 17 U.S. states saw white death rates that exceeded white birth rates, had a similar reaction to the results of his research.
“The fact that this was going on in states that contain such a substantial part of the U.S. population stunned even me. We’re probably going to see it in several more states [in coming years].”
What do you think? Are you surprised at the changing face of U.S. demographics? Do you think that the trend of fewer white births than white deaths will continue, and does it matter?
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