The Demography of Race and Inequality: An Illustration of Latinos in the United States

Monday, 11 July 2016: 10:00
Location: Elise Richter Saal (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Rogelio SAENZ, University of Texas at San Antonio, USA
Throughout history the timing of the demographic transition has varied across countries as well as groups within nations of the world.  Access to technologies, sanitary conditions, and vaccinations that reduce mortality has been driven by socioeconomic status, as is the case with access to technologies and contraceptives that reduce mortality.  Thus, MDCs and majority/dominant populations within countries today have relatively low levels of population growth or even population decline due to aging populations; LDCs and minority populations within countries have high levels of population growth due to youthful populations. 

This paper provides a theoretical framework for understanding the demography of race and inequality.  In particular, the framework provides an understanding of how racial inequality brings about current disparities in population growth across racial/ethnic groups and how groups in power use political, economic, legal, and social forces to maintain their political and economic power. 

The experience of Latinos in the United States is used to illustrate the demography of race and inequality perspective.  The Latino population constitutes the largest minority group in the United States.  Latinos exhibit great diversity with certain segments of the population tracing their presence in the United States for more than a century while others have migrated to the United States only recently.  The Latino population has historically had low levels of education and low socioeconomic standing in the United States.  Over the last several decades the Latino population has grown rapidly alongside slow growth in the white population.  Population projections suggest that the Latino population will expand significantly over the coming decades with the white population experiencing population decline in the next couple of decades.  As the Latino population has grown rapidly, efforts have been mounted to minimize the political and economic standing of the Latino population.