Figure 3.11

U.S. population by racial/ethnic group: Observed population, 1950-1995; projected population under medium immigration assumption, 1995-2050.

exceeding 1 percent for the next half-century. The size of the Asian population will increase from 9 million in 1995 to 34 million in 2050 (growing from 3 to 8 percent of the total population). The growth of the Asian population is principally fueled by immigration. Although fertility levels for the foreign-born Asian population is slightly above average, the sizable future growth stems from the large number of immigrants added to the Asian population. Based on the low to high immigration assumptions, the Asian population in 2050 may range from 26 to 42 million.

Fueled by heavy immigration and by high attribution rates—more than 50 percent of multiple-ancestry persons report themselves as Hispanic—the Hispanic population will grow substantially over the projection period. It will rise from 27 million in 1995, or about 1 in 11 of the total population, to 95 million in 2050, or about 1 in 4. The growth of the Hispanic population is driven by multiple factors: immigration, higher fertility rates, and high attribution rates. Although immigration is the principal factor, the Hispanic population will grow significantly in the future even if immigration were to cease. Because of their higher fertility, especially of the foreign-born, the Hispanic population will almost double by 2050, even in the absence of immigration. Under the low to high net immigration assumptions, the size of the Hispanic population will increase to 77 to 113 million in 2050.

One caution in interpreting these results arises from our assumptions about current conditions of exogamy and ethnicity persisting into the future. In fact, intermarriage has been changing during recent decades, especially for Asians and



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