Center for American Progress

RELEASE: As Children Across America Go Back to School, New CAP-Brookings Interactive Looks at Demographic Changes Among Them, Nationally and by State
Press Release

RELEASE: As Children Across America Go Back to School, New CAP-Brookings Interactive Looks at Demographic Changes Among Them, Nationally and by State

Press Contacts

  • Tanya Arditi

Washington, D.C. — Today, Center for American Progress demographers Ruy Teixeira and Rob Griffin, in collaboration with William Frey from the Brookings Institution, released a new interactive that looks at the demographic changes facing the country’s youngest group: children.

The interactive, “A Blending American Youth,” explores some of the population changes that will define America in the 21st century. Going state by state, it provides data on the racial makeup of different age groups going out to 2060, with a particularly fine-grained look at the demographics of children.

“Looking at the data, we know that younger cohorts have been diversifying at a faster rate than older age groups,” said Ruy Teixeira, CAP Senior Fellow and co-author of the project. “While the whole country is becoming minority-majority around 2043, the age 45 and older group doesn’t reach that milestone until the late 2050s. Eighteen- to 44-year-olds reach that shift in the early 2030s, while children, who are by far the most racially diverse, will be less than 50 percent white nation-wide by sometime in the early 2020s.”

The interactive also looks at the data by youth dependency ratio, which divides the share of a given population that is younger than 18 by the share of the population that is working age. This measure provides a sense of how many working-age people there are, at any given moment, to fund and even provide certain types of resources for the younger population. For example, in the 1980s, Latinos and African Americans had the highest ratios, indicating that the number of children was closer to the number of working-age adults, which translates into a relatively small number of adults to support those children. Going forward, the aging of the population contributes to the general decline in these ratios across racial groups, but the changes are not equal: The ratio for African Americans and Latinos drops the most precipitously, and as we approach 2060, Latinos, Asians, and others will have essentially identical scores, while African Americans and whites will have the lowest scores.

“The child population is leading the way toward a more racially diverse America in the 21st century,” said William Frey, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of the project. “Because the U.S. labor force will be much more diverse than it is today, Americans must ensure that the next generation is ready to contribute. We need to prepare for this future in all parts of the country—not just in big immigrant gateways like California, New York, and Texas but in each of the 50 states.”

Access the interactive here.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Tanya Arditi at tarditi@americanprogress.org or 202.741.6258 at CAP or Jordan Treible at jtreible@brookings.edu or 202.238.3160 at Brookings.

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