The Demography of the Declining White Population in the United States: Will U.S. Whites Continue to Maintain Their Advantage or Will They Become Disadvantaged?

Monday, 16 July 2018: 16:45
Oral Presentation
Dudley POSTON, Texas A&M University, USA
Rogelio SAENZ, University of Texas at San Antonio, USA
In this paper we document the demography of the declining white population in the United States. This is important because this reduction in the size of the white population has taken place in a country where whites have historically been the advantaged and privileged population. Whites over time in the U.S. have been, and continue to be, far better off economically and educationally and socially than the minority peoples. Levels of residential segregation by race and ethnicity these days are as high in the U.S. as they were decades ago. Yet, the share of the U.S. white population today (2016) is the lowest it has ever been. When the United States was established as a country in 1776, whites comprised roughly 80 percent of the population. The share of whites rose to 90 percent in 1920 where it stood until 1950. But the percentage of whites began declining in 1950, to 76 percent in 1990, to 69 percent in 2000, to 64 percent in 2010, and to 61 in 2016—the lowest percentage ever recorded. And Census Bureau projections indicate that whites will be in the minority by 2050; we suggest this will occur around 2044. After showing in our paper why and how demographically the white decline has occurred, we then ask what will happen to whites when they are in the minority. Will white supremacy experience a decline? Will the reduced share of the U.S. population that is white be accompanied by a reduction in the white advantage? Or will whites maintain their socioeconomic advantage despite being disadvantaged demographically? These are particularly important questions to address given the declining majority populations in many other countries of Europe and Asia.