Monday, May 3, 2010

Forget The Minority Take Over Of America

You’ve all heard how there will be more minorities in the United States by 2050 than there will be whites, right? Forget it. It’s not happening. Moreover, expect the illegal alien problem to start going away soon all on its own. Why? Because demographics don’t move in a straight line.

If you do as the left does, and you look at demographics as a straight line, then you see that 30 million Hispanics in 1980 turned into 45 million Hispanics in 2000 and will turn into 67 million in 2020 and 104 million in 2040. That, combined with blacks and Asians (groups that are not experiencing growth), results in about 50% of the population by 2050.

But that’s not how demographics work, and recent developments have shown the problem with this assumption. First, when the recession hit the United States, large numbers of Hispanics left the United States. So many in fact, that the Census Bureau had to revise its estimates downward for the future take over of the United States by a decade. They now estimate that there will be only 105.1 million Hispanics by 2050 -- a full decade later than expected.

But there’s another problem with this that hasn’t been considered yet. The key to Hispanic growth has been Mexico. Indeed, almost all of the growth in the Hispanic population in the United States has been the result of Mexicans coming to the United States. When Reagan granted an amnesty in the 1980s, there were about five million Mexicans illegally in the United States. By 2000, we’d added another 12 million. That seventeen million is more than one-third of the forty-five million Hispanics in the United States today, and it represents almost the entire growth in the Hispanic population since the 1980s.

Indeed, if you look at the map to the right, you’ll see that consistent with this, Hispanics are almost entirely concentrated along the border with Mexico.

So why does this matter? Because things are changing dramatically in Mexico.

Mexicans first started coming to the United States in vast numbers in the 1980s. There were two reasons for this. First, with the end of the oil boom, Mexico’s economy tanked. At the same time, the American economy boomed. Thus, with few jobs south of the border and large numbers of jobs north of the border, people fled Mexico for the United States. This was made even worse by the fact that Mexico’s economy was almost entirely dependent on the oil industry and that its government is one of the most corrupt in the world -- leading to a lack of opportunities and huge disparities in income, which creates a large underclass.

The second reason was that Mexico’s collapse coincided with a baby boom that began in the 1950s, similar to that experienced by the United States. Indeed, in the 1960s, Mexico had the highest birth rate in the world, with Mexican mothers having on average seven children each. Thus, in addition to its economic collapse, Mexico was awash in young people, who are by-their-nature more willing to emigrate to find work. These were the people who began coming in the 1980s.

So what’s changed? Mexico’s birth rate has plummeted. It is now just over 2 children per mother, almost identical to the birth rate in the United States, and it’s still falling -- it will soon be at European levels (around 1.4). Because of this, Mexico’s population is estimated to peak in 2043, though I suspect that will happen much sooner, as it has in other countries. That means that the supply of people to head north is quickly running out.

Moreover, because of this change, the population is aging much quicker, which will accelerate the decline in the number of people willing to go north. Not only is an older population less interested in emigrating, but this also means that there will be more opportunities for Mexico’s young to find solid, long-term employment. Also, a smaller, older population tends to lead to greater personal wealth because the competition for employees drives up wages. This again, reduces emigration because it makes it more profitable to remain in Mexico. It also may draw people back to Mexico, just as this recession has done, because they can do better in Mexico.

What all of this means is that there will be fewer Mexicans very soon, and fewer of them will want to come to the United States to find work. That means that American Hispanics will no longer be receiving the mega-demographic boost that illegal immigration has been providing. When you exclude those numbers, the rest of Hispanic America is growing at about the same pace as white America.

Thus, the Hispanic growth rate will soon start to fall from 50% every twenty years to around 4%, about the growth rate of everybody else.

Hence, reports of the minority take over of America have been greatly exaggerated.


StanH said...

These demographic studies are gestimates based on available information, and like the weather are seldom correct. Too me this is typical liberal projection that defies logic as you’ve pointed out.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, By and large, the problem is that they assume that all demographics continue in the same direction without end, and that's never happened before in human history.

Anonymous said...

Can you do an article on why immigration matters? I know why I think it matters, but I don't know how to describe it. I don't have any problem with immigrants, but I don't like the way they are being brought in in these big numbers.

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, Can do. Give me a day or so. I think you've put your finger right on it. Immigration has been turned into a political football by the left because they are using immigration as way to de-Americanize America. That's why every policy they push is intended to keep immigrants from assimilating into our culture. I'll explain more in an article.

patti said...

this is interesting and an angle i haven't read before. but it doesn't surprise me that you guys tackled it first. it's what you do :)

ScottDS said...

I'm with Anon. A good introductory article would be most helpful.

What I'm interested in is the way the actual (read: legal) immigration process works. I have to assume if it were easy, more people would be doing it that way. (I realize that's a naive simplification.)

There's an Australian guy in my improv class and he was talking about work visas and things like that. I don't know if the rules apply equally to all countries or not.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Patti. This is actually raising quite a few concerns in Mexico. We just haven't internalized it here yet, i.e. everyone is still assuming that Mexico will keep on growing unchecked.

This isn't an argument to do nothing about the illegal alien problem, far from it, but it does point out that the situation is very different than we think it is.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: Let me add one other major factor in why the statistics are wrong. I know six youngsters with Spanish surnames. Are they part of the Hispanic "takeover?" Nope. They're six of my eight grandkids. But since they have Hispanic last names, they are automatically classified as Hispanic rather than the much more accurate "American." Intermarriage is a major fact, Hispanic surnames are a statistical con game when used as our race-dividers cite those statistics.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That's another factor to consider, that many people who are counted as one thing whether they consider themselves that or not. I knew several people in law school who were listed as minorities, but who really never saw themselves as that.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I'll put something together, probably for Wednesday.

Our legal immigration system lets in vast numbers of people, just over a million a year. But it's a strange system that uses country quotas, favors people who have family already here, and supposedly favors people with usable skills.

There are also worker programs that let people come here for school or work, which aren't counted in the above million because they theoretically aren't "permanent residents."

The problem, as I'll explain, is that the current system, because of Democratic policies, discourages integration and Americanization. That's why this is such a touchy issue, not the race issue that the left likes to frame this as -- the right would be just as upset if it was a million Europeans each year.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Scott, FYI, Mexico has it's own illegal immigration problem at it's southern end, and it deals harshly with those people.

Tennessee Jed said...

Very nice post, Andrew. Having managed huge amounts of commercial property/casualty business in the private sector, much of my work had to do with sifting through data such as this to make good managerial decisions. As you point out, the devil is in the details and getting the analysis correct. It is so easy to make faulty conclusions based on incorrect assumptions about what data is telling you. Get it right and you are in "bonus city" get it wrong and your polishing up your resume.

People who do this well have traditionally been compensated very well by the corporations who employ them. Of course, in Obamaworld, the threshold where compensated very well becomes over compensated is quite low, as we all know.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Jed. I thought it was worth mentioning. The immigration debate is problematic enough as it, so I thought I would toss out a few more relevant facts to consider. I'm not saying there isn't a problem, because there is, but we need to make sure that our solutions make sense in light of what is really happening.

I agree entirely about the use of data. Too many people look for data to fit their narrative, and that always ends poorly. Whenever you look at data, you really need to look at it from all angles if you want to interpret it correctly. And if you can't interpret it correctly, then you run the problem of implementing bad policies.

Joel Farnham said...


This is very tempting. It does make sense.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I think this is one of those facts that need to be considered. Like I've said above, this doesn't change the fact that there is a serious problem at the moment, but it's always best to consider all the facts when making policy decisions.

Joel Farnham said...


Here is something to think about. The ones who are hard-working and just want a job to pay for their grandmother's knee operation have moved on. The ones that are left are the welfare cheats and scammers who have no excuse.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I don't have any evidence of that. Every study I've seen says that legal residents use public assistance at much higher rates than immigrants or even illegal aliens.

CrispyRice said...

Interesting as always, Andrew!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks CrispyRice!

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