"This is sort of the official statistical recognition of something that has been underway for almost an entire generation," said Roberto Suro, director of the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute at USC.
However, California is just the third state in the country after Hawaii and New Mexico with non-white majority, according to state authorities. California now has the largest Latino population in the US.
In 1970, there were 2.4 million Latinos in the Golden State, composing 12% of the population, while whites made up over 15.5 million, being an absolute majority. The Hispanic population continued to grow, reaching 7.7 million, or 25% of overall sate population by the beginning of 1990s.
"It is going to accelerate," Suro added. "This is really the beginning of a new phase that will play out over another generation."
The Latino population is California is relatively young, with a median age of about 29, while the aging Caucasian population’s median age is around 45. State demographers project Latinos will account for about 49% of Californians by 2060.