This brief documents how unfolding demographic forces have placed today’s children and youth at the forefront of America’s new racial and ethnic diversity. Authors Kenneth M. Johnson, Andrew Schaefer, Daniel T. Lichter, and Luke T. Rogers discuss how the rapidly changing racial and ethnic composition of the youth population has important implications for intergroup relations, ethnic identities, and electoral politics. They report that diversity is increasing among America’s youth because there are more minority children and fewer non-Hispanic white children. Minority births exceeded non-Hispanic white births for the first time in U.S. history in 2011 according to Census Bureau estimates. Both the declining number of non-Hispanic white women of prime child-bearing and growing numbers of minority women contributed to this change as did differential fertility rates. The largest gains in child diversity between 2000 and 2012 were in suburban and smaller metropolitan areas. Yet, child diversity is geographically uneven, with minimal diversity in some areas of the country and significant diversity in other areas. They conclude that natural population increase—particularly fertility rates—will continue to reshape the racial and ethnic mix of the country, and this change will be reflected first among the nation’s youngest residents.

Publication Date



National Issue Brief No. 71


Durham, N.H. : Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire

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