The U.S. Census Bureau is projecting that, by the year 2042, minorities will become the majority of the U.S. population. Hispanics, now 15 percent of the population, are expected to double their share of the population, to 30 percent. The new numbers suggest a nation more racially and ethnically diverse, and much older. Producer Zulima Palacio has the story. Carol Pearson narrates.
In the Missouri town of St. Joseph, Hispanics could soon become the majority.
Census Bureau data shows that between 2006 and 2007 the Hispanic population in the region jumped by close to 25 percent.
Lucy Timmerman came to St. Joseph three years ago. She ended up opening a business. She says she can see the difference.
"I think Hispanics are here and they are not going to go anywhere," says Timmerman. "We are going to see more coming."
The trend is national. The U.S. Census Bureau says minorities, now roughly one third of the U.S. population, are expected to be the majority by 2042. By 2050, minorities -- including Black Americans, Hispanics and Asians -- will make up 54 percent of the population. Hispanic people -- because of immigration and high birth rates -- will be 30 percent of Americans
Sixty-two percent of the nation's children will be from minority groups.
"I didn't know that," says Lauren Guzik, a white woman in Los Angeles. "I don't mind it. I have been in California my whole life so I am use to it. I love diversity."
The bureau forecasts a population that is rapidly aging. By 2050, people 65 and over will number some 88 million. They will be 20 percent of the overall population.
Experts say that historically, it takes a generation to absorb the changes. So it will take time until immigrants are less in need of city services and are beginning to run those cities.
"In places like Los Angeles, where Hispanics have been for while, they have a big impact on policy," according to William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution. "They matter. We have a Latino mayor in Los Angeles as a result of all the power they have."
Other cities could experience big changes in the next few years, including Scranton, Pennsylvania, Las Vegas and Denver, where minorities are expected to become majorities.
"We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg when we look at today's younger population," says Frey. "In 10, 20 years, that is going to be America."
If the trend continues, the U.S. will become more ethnically and racially diverse, with Hispanics playing a more dominant role.