gardless of the reported primary ethnic identification. Table 3.9 shows changes in the single and multiple-ancestry categories for ethnic groups. Overall, in 1995, about 7 percent of the population reports one or more different races or Hispanic origins than their primary race or Hispanic identification. The percentage of the population reporting multiple-ancestries will increase from 7 percent in 1995 to 21 percent in 2050, assuming that intermarriage continues at current levels. There is substantial variation in the proportion of multiple-ancestry persons for ethnic groups. Trends for the white population are similar to the overall population, but the increase in the proportion of multiple-ancestry persons is somewhat lower for the black population. But the relative gain in multiple-ancestry persons is especially high for the Asian and Hispanic populations, reaching 36 and 45 percent, respectively, in 2050. The major implication of these trends is to raise questions about the primary racial and Hispanic identification of the large number of persons of multiple-ancestries.

Projections of the type presented here must be placed in a historical context. Early in the twentieth century, public interest focused on fertility differences between the ''new" immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe and the older "American" stock. Indeed, Theodore Roosevelt warned in his inaugural address about immigration bringing on the "suicide of the race."

Had there been population projections by European ethnic groups during the period of peak European immigration (1880-1920) that tried to forecast what the U.S. population would look like by 1950 or 2000, those predictions would certainly have been wrong if they assumed that groups would not intermarry at all and that all future descendants would report the same ethnic identity as their mother (or father). Such projections would have seriously overestimated the proportions of some European groups and underestimated others. Hout and Goldstein (1991) remind us that the number of self-reported Irish Americans in the 1980 census could not possibly have come about purely as a result of immigration and the fertility of Irish immigrants: the number is simply too large. Rather, most of the growth in Irish Americans must have resulted from intermarriage and the choice of many children of intermarriage to claim Irish ancestry.

Projections made at the turn of the century would have been in error for two reasons. First, they would have had to deal with all the vagaries of population projections about fertility, mortality, and immigration. Common to all projections is that the world changes, that basic demographic parameters will vary in the future in ways that cannot be fully anticipated, and thus that assumptions

   

exogamy rates and high attribution rates for multiple-ancestry persons. The medium attribution assumption suggests that the growth of the black population will be slightly greater than conventional baseline projection results. The results in 2050 under the low to high assumptions are clustered within a narrow range, from 51 to 56 million.



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