Friday, August 15, 2008

West (and East) Side Story...

If the numbers of Nepalis who have left, are leaving and plan to leave for the US is any indication, the world outside of the States is literally pouring in for the opportunities, independence and economic possibilities that they see here. Of course, as always, some are exceptionally fortunate, while others end up at gas stations paid by the hour.

For those who may not have read it, "The Inheritance of Loss", by Kiran Desain, last year's Booker Prize winner, beautifully, painfully and poetically describes this socio-cultural turmoil of our times, particularly within the South Asian context.

Behind every number is a story...

In a Generation, Minorities May Be the U.S. Majority
Published: August 13, 2008, NYTimes

Ethnic and racial minorities will comprise a majority of the nation’s population in a little more than a generation, according to new Census Bureau projections.

The census calculates that by 2042, Americans who identify themselves as Hispanic, black, Asian, American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander will together outnumber non-Hispanic whites. Four years ago, officials had projected the shift would come in 2050.

The main reason for the accelerating change is significantly higher birthrates among immigrants. Another factor is the influx of foreigners, rising from about 1.3 million annually today to more than 2 million a year by mid-century, according to projections based on current immigration policies.

“No other country has experienced such rapid racial and ethnic change,” said Mark Mather, a demographer with the Population Reference Bureau, a research organization in Washington.

“A momentum is built into this as a result of past immigration,” said Jeffrey S. Passel, senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center. “Almost regardless of what you assume about future immigration, the country will be more Hispanic and Asian.”

With the Census Bureau forecasting even more immigrants, other demographers estimate that the proportion of foreign-born Americans, now about 12 percent, could surpass the 1910 historic high of nearly 15 percent by about 2025 and may
approach 20 percent in 2050.

According to the new forecast, by 2050, the number of Hispanic people will nearly triple, to 133 million from 47 million, to account for 30 percent of Americans, compared with 15 percent today. Asians, with their ranks soaring to 41 million from 16 million, will make up more than 9 percent of the population -- up from 5 percent.

More than three times as many people are expected to identify themselves as multiracial — 16 million, accounting for nearly 4 percent of the population.

“What’s happening now in terms of increasing diversity probably is unprecedented,” said Campbell Gibson, a retired census demographer.

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