According to the UNH study, the number of white people born began to drop and the number of white people dying began to rise in 1999. This trend was drastically intensified during the 2007 global financial crisis, and the natural increase of the white population has dropped by 79 percent. In 1999, four states had a decrease in white population. In 2014, that became seventeen states. The numbers are in and the facts impossible to ignore: America’s white population is proportionally shrinking, and soon it will numerically shrink. The trend is not liable to stop.
The main cause for white population shrinkage is not a higher number of deaths, but fewer births. The older a population is, the more likely they are to die and the less likely they are to reproduce. The white population in the US is aging: the population explosion after World War II, the so-called baby boomers, are reaching retirement age and are long past the years where they are liable to have children.
According to the US Census Bureau, the median white American is 43 years old, compared to 28 for Latinos and 32 for African-Americans. In the year 2000, the average white American was 39, the average Latino 26, and the average African-American 30. While the American age median is, on average, older than it was 15 years ago, whites are aging twice as fast as the two largest minority groups.
America has also seen an increase in immigration, particularly from nations with primarily non-white populations. The Migration Policy Institute reports that America’s immigrant population grew from 31 million (11.1 percent of the population) in 2000, to 43 million (13.5 percent of the population) in 2015. Europe was the primary source of American immigrants in the latter half of the 20th century, but now 53 percent of immigrants are from Latin America and 30 percent are from Asia. The Latino population has increased from 35 million (12.5 percent of the population) in 2000 to 55 million (17 percent of the population) currently. The majority of the people they replaced in the population were white.
An understated cause for the shrinking of America’s white population is death brought on by drug use. Fifteen of the seventeen states whose white population shrank in 2014 had abnormally high rates of drug-related fatalities. UNH reported. That same year saw a record amount of drug-related deaths, at 47,000 Americans. According to the Center for Disease Control, white people between the ages of 25-34 are five times more likely to die from an overdose than they were in 1999, and the risk is substantially higher for all white Americans under the age of 55. That same risk has remained mostly consistent since the 1990’s for Latinos and African-Americans.
An aging white population, an increase in immigration, and epidemics of both heroin and prescription medication in white communities are the main culprits behind the decrease, but dozens of other factors have minor impacts on the phenomenon. The US Census Bureau predicts that whites will cease to be a majority of the US population by the year 2050.