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Minorities to be majority by 2042: Census

In a few decades, the ethnic makeup of the United States will look a lot more like Queens, the most diverse county in the country, the U.S. Census Bureau reported last week.

In 2042, minorities are expected to become the majority, with the nation projected to be 54 percent minority by 2050, the Census predicted. Minorities currently comprise one-third of the American population, the Census said.

Queens had a population of 708,960 non-Hispanic whites, or roughly 31 percent of the 2.2 million people living in the borough, according to 2007 Census population estimates. That makes the other 79 percent of the population minorities. Some 600,047 residents were Hispanic or Latino, compared with 484,768 Asians and 429,023 blacks, according to 2007 Census estimates.

Minorities are also projected to take over the playground by the next generation. By 2023, minorities will comprise more than half of all children in the United States, the Census predicted.

The New York City metropolitan area may see a majority of minorities much sooner than the rest of the country.

A 2006 report by the Brookings Institute showed that the white population in the area decreased by more than 164,000 between 2000 and 2004. During the same period, the area saw the fourth-largest population growth among Hispanics in the country of 288,325. The area also saw the greatest increase in the Asian population of any major urban area in the country during this period of 201,543.

The nation's population is expected to climb steadily over the next few decades, reaching 400 million in 2039, the Census predicted. The population hit the 300 million mark in 2006.

Nationwide, the non-Hispanic white population is projected to reach 203.3 million in 2050, only a slight increase from the 2008 population of 199.8 million. The Hispanic population is projected to nearly triple by 2050, from 46.7 million to 132.8 million, making nearly one in three U.S. residents Hispanic.

The black population is projected to increase from 41.1 million — 14 percent of the population — in 2008, to 65.7 million, or 15 percent, in 2050.

The Asian population is projected to climb from 15.5 million to 40.6 million, going from 5.1 percent to 9.2 percent of the total population.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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