A press release from the Census Bureau today reveals that 50.4% of the nation’s population under the age of 1 were minorities. This data represents the 12-month period ending July 1, 2011. The new number represents a slight increase from the 2010 Census, which showed 49.5% minority. Therefore, of the children born July 2010–June 2011, the majority of them were non-white.
While this statistic will probably get the most headlines, some other interesting facts are also revealed in the press release. The median age of the nation also increased to 37.3 years. The size of the over-65 population increased to 41.4 million while the under-18 population dropped about 200,000 to 74 million.
There is no doubt that the demographic shape of the American population is changing. The population is becoming more diverse with the overall percentage of minorities now at 36.6%. Hispanics make up almost half of the minority population at 52 million, over 8 million more than the next largest minority, African-Americans.
The population is also becoming older. In some respects, this is the result of longer life expectancy than in years past. In addition, the birthrate continues to decrease among most groups.
There will be real challenges facing American society in years to come, but there are also great opportunities. Education, language, and social services will be some of the difficulties in adjusting to the demographic changes. However, there is reason to rejoice as we see greater diversity in our society because we see the work of God in creating beautifully different people.
For the church, there are also great challenges and opportunities. The church remains a very segregated place on the whole, and we need to figure out how to address that. Eternity will not be spent worshiping our King in ethnic groupings. Instead, our churches need to work diligently to reach people of every ethnicity, many of whom live in our own communities.
The church will also need to address its own aging population. The New Testament church had people from every age demographic. I cringe when I see churches that specifically want to reach only a specified age segment. How are the younger ones to learn wisdom from their elders? How are the younger to serve the elderly who can no longer serve themselves?
I pray we as the church can be diverse in both ethnicity and age, but in many respects we have a lot of work to do.
United States Census Bureau, “Most Children Younger Than Age 1 are Minorities, Census Bureau Reports,” May 17, 2012.