According to a recent forecast by the US Census Bureau, the United States will continue to become more racially diverse and will reach a level of plurality by 2043 in which no racial group will be in majority:
“The next half century marks key points in continuing trends — the U.S. will become a plurality nation, where the non-Hispanic white population remains the largest single group, but no group is in the majority,” said Acting Director Thomas L. Mesenbourg.
As the non-Hispanic white population is forecast to decrease in proportion from 2024 onwards, the proportion of minorities is expected to increase to be more than half America’s population within 50 years:
All in all, minorities, now 37 percent of the U.S. population, are projected to comprise 57 percent of the population in 2060. (Minorities consist of all but the single-race, non-Hispanic white population.) The total minority population would more than double, from 116.2 million to 241.3 million over the period.
This growth among the minority population will especially be seen in the growth among Asian Americans, of which most Sikh Americans are a part:
“The Asian population is projected to more than double, from 15.9 million in 2012 to 34.4 million in 2060, with its share of nation’s total population climbing from 5.1 percent to 8.2 percent in the same period.”
Part of the explanation behind the growth rates is the increasing immigration of those from Asia:
Since 2000, the foreign-born population from Asia has grown at a faster rate than the foreign-born population from Latin America and the Caribbean. Between 2000 and 2011, the foreign-born from Asia grew by 41 percent, or 3.7 percent each year. During this same period, the foreign-born from Latin America and the Caribbean increased by 32 percent, or 2.9 percent each year.
Of course, the US Census does not specifically collect data about the number of Sikhs in the United States, and so we are left with estimates that range from 200,000 to 500,000 or more. However, the increasing proportion of the minority population will obviously have social, economic, political and other impacts on this country.
Indeed, the US Census recognizes that:
The Census Bureau’s population projections are used by researchers, policymakers, businesses, and other government agencies for a variety of purposes. A topic of great interest is the aging of the population. Projections of the old-age population are of particular interest for those assessing government programs such as Medicare and Social Security. Projections of the working-age population, typically between the ages of 20 and 64, are of interest to businesses and service providers attempting to evaluate future demand for their products and services as well as the means of supplying those goods. Projections of births and the population under the age of 18 are of interest to educators tasked with planning for future demands on the education system.
The data reported provides a basis from which we should ensure that the country’s increasing diversity is a consideration in policy, education and more.
We certainly saw the impact of increasing diversity in this past election cycle. President Obama’s re-election has been attributed partly to the growth of racial and religious minorities in the United States who tend to vote for the Democratic Party (studies by the Pew Forum and Arab American Institute show stronger leanings toward the Democrats by Indian and Sikh Americans).
As an aside, the US Census seems to recognize the country’s diverse population as well. The banner image used by the US Census’ official blog Random Samplings includes a photo of a Sikh man in the top left corner (around where Oregon would be). Perhaps this gives a small glimmer of hope that they also include that same level of specificity in the Census itself.