The Census Bureau forecasts that the U.S. will become a minority-majority population for the first time in 2043.
Highlands County is moving in that direction, but if recent trends continue, minorities likely won't exceed the white majority in the next three decades.
According to the Dec. 18 set of new population projections based on the most recent 2010 U.S. Census, non-Hispanic whites will, for the first time, comprise less than 50 percent of the population. At that point, there will not be a racial majority in the United States.
The Census Bureau attributes changes to projected fertility levels and international migration.
Minorities -- all but the single-race, non-Hispanic white population -- now comprise 37 percent of the U.S. population. Minorities are projected to become 57 percent of the population in 2060. The total minority population would more than double, from 116.2 million to 241.3 million.
The non-Hispanic white population will peak in 2024 with 199.6 million. That is 1.8 million more people than today. From 2024 onward, the population of non-Hispanic whites is expected to slowly decrease.
In Highlands County, the number of Hispanics grew almost 400 percent between the 1990 and 2010 censuses, but Hispanic is an ethnic, not racial, statistic. Hispanics often identify themselves as white, black or more than two races.
In Highlands County, 2,195 residents did claim two or more races in the 2010 census.
Other remarks from the U.S. report:
--The population will hit 420.3 million in 2060. It currently stands at around 314 million.
--In 2056, the population over the age of 65 is expected to outnumber the population younger than 18 for the first time.
--The Asian population is expected to more than double from 15.9 million in 2012 to 34.4 million in 2060, comprising 8.2 percent of the population.
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