Latinos will surpass whites by next year and become the largest ethnic group in California for the first time since 1850, data compiled by a state agency found.
The Department of Finance estimated whites and Latinos will each represent 39 percent of the state's population by June, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday. Latinos will become the larger population shortly afterward, the agency said.
Latinos are estimated to be 48 percent of California residents by 2060, when 30 percent will be white, 13 percent Asian and 4 percent African-American.
The demographic changes will occur, in part, because of the retirements of white baby boomers, the study said.
In 2030, 9.6 million Latinos will be of working age -- 25 to 64 -- while 7.2 million whites and 3.1 million Asians will be in that demographic group. By 2060, 12.1 million Latinos will be in that working group, compared to 7.4 million whites and 3.2 million Asians.
The better educated and prosperous the younger generation is, the better the state's tax base will be, said USC demography and urban planning Professor Dowell Myers.
"Without the babies born to those immigrant mothers, we would really be in deep trouble," he said.
The report found California's population would be more than 52.6 million by 2060.
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