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By Jenée Stanfield

In last month’s poll, asked our readers how you think the culture of the U.S. will respond to the fact that new babies of color now outnumber white babies.

There were 22 votes total, and none of you seemed to think this fact would result in no change to racist attitudes in the United States. Some of you felt racist attitudes would rise and others felt they would fall. Almost half of all those who answered felt that none of our options represented the change that would occur in the U.S. because of this shift.

- Rise in racist attitudes           23%
- No change in racist attitudes            0%
- Lowering of racist attitudes            18%   
- None of the above            45%   
- I don’t know            14%

With 2008’s economic downturn, birthrates in the U.S. have plummeted, but birth rates for white babies have had the sharpest decline of any racial or ethnic group. In May, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that more than half of all Americans under the age of one are of color or “minorities.” The bureau defines minority as anyone not “single race white” and “not Hispanic.” From April 2010 to July 2011, the percentage of Americans under one year of age who are minorities rose from 49.5% to 50.4%. According to Robert Bernstein, a Census Bureau spokesman, "2011 is the first time the population of infants under age 1 is majority minority.”

Kenneth M. Johnson, senior demographer at the Carsey Institute and professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire, sees this as an opportunity for American children to have greater exposure to racial diversity and for all Americans to embrace this diversity. According to him, this will change attitudes and outlooks in the U.S. The first of these changes will be felt in hospitals and schools, where it is likely that more translators will be needed and a greater priority on English language learning classes.

This rise in minority babies being born is partially attributed to the rising rates of U.S. immigration over the past several years, which has brought in a lot of young families. This is in conjunction with an aging white population moving out of its “childbearing” years.

Sources: Daily Mail. “Number of babies born to ethnic minorities surpasses whites in U.S. for first time.” May 17, 2012. July 23, 2012.

Siek, Stephanie and Joe Sterling. CNN. “Census: Fewer white babies being born.” May 17, 2012. July 23, 2012.

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