TABLE 3.10 U.S. Population by Race and Hispanic Origin: Observed Population, 1950-1995; Projected Population, 2000-2050 (percentage of total population)

 

1950

1970

1990

1995

2010

2030

2050

Totala

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

White

87

83

76

74

67

59

51

Black

10

11

12

12

13

13

14

Asian

I

1

3

3

5

7

8

Hispanic

3

5

9

10

14

20

26

a The total U.S. population includes American Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts.

cestry but who identified themselves as non-Asian. Overall, 16 percent of all persons with Asian ancestry had multiple-ancestry.

Now, let us go to the future and see what our model presents about the multiple-ancestry of Asians. If all persons of some Asian ancestry identified themselves as Asian, the reported population could be as high as 42 million in 2050. Instead, if only single-ancestry persons reported themselves as Asian in 2050, the population could be as low as 27 million. The projected Asian population of 34 million in 2050 is between these extremes because only a fraction of the multiple-ancestry Asian population will identify themselves as Asians. The salient secular trend is the increased blurring of the lines of ethnic boundaries. By the middle of the next century, more than one-third of all of those with some Asian ancestry will have multiple-ancestries, compared with only 8 percent today.

There is even greater latitude for variation in the future Hispanic population. In 1995, there were an estimated 4.9 million persons with multiple Hispanic ancestry (17 percent of all persons with some Hispanic ancestry). By 2050, through high fertility and continued intermarriage, the multiple-ancestry Hispanic population will expand to 51 million persons, or 45 percent of all persons with some Hispanic ancestry. If only single-ancestry persons reported themselves as Hispanic in 2050, the Hispanic population will be 62 million (17 percent of total U.S. population). If, instead, on the high side, all persons with any Hispanic ancestry reported themselves as Hispanic, the population could be as high as 112 million (29 percent of the total U.S. population).47

This blurring of ethnic boundaries illustrates some of the ambiguity inherent in any ethnic projection. With this caveat in mind, Table 3.10 shows the projected fraction of the future U.S. population by ethnic group. Today, three-quar-

47  

Taking all ethnic groups into account, including the white, black, and American Indian populations, the multiple-ancestry population is estimated to increase from 18 million in 1995 to 81 million in 2050. By 2050, we estimate that 16 percent of the population will have overlapping ancestries among the current classifications.



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