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Last updated at 16:36 BST, Monday, 21 May 2012

America's changing identity

Summary

21 May 2012

For the first time, children from Black, Hispanic, Asian and mixed-race families make up the majority of births in the United States. Sociologists have suggested that it's an important landmark in the changing identity of American society.

Reporter:

Jonathan Blake

A baby girl and her mother

Will there be a majority of non-white births in the future?

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Report

The US census bureau recorded that just over two million babies were born to ethnic and racial minorities in the year to July 2011, making up just over half of new arrivals. In 1990, just 37% of births were from racial minorities. It means for the first time non-Hispanic white babies being born in the US are in the minority.

Analysts have pointed to several factors which could account for the shift. The overall birth-rate in the US is declining, but that drop is steepest among white people, thought to be the fault of the weaker economy. The economic slow-down could also account for fewer Hispanics entering the United States from abroad.

Sociologists have suggested the data is evidence of a sweeping change underway in the racial make-up of the United States. The older generation is dominated by white people, but the younger demographic is increasingly diverse. Racial minorities make up just over a third of America's population. Trends such as the one identified here suggest that is likely to change over time.

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Vocabulary

census bureau

office of national statistics

ethnic and racial minorities

people whose racial origin is from another country e.g. Mexicans who live in the USA

shift

change

steepest

most extreme

account for

explain why

a sweeping change

a wide-ranging difference

the racial make-up

the balance of people of different ethnic origin

demographic

characteristics of a population

diverse

varied

trends

tendencies

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