If Demography Is Destiny…

Ultimately, of course, demography is destiny, but if significant changes in the makeup of the population fail in the short term to change the status quo, those changes do tell us a lot about our current civic unrest, including acts of domestic terrorism.

The Brookings Institution has issued an analysis of the most recent census and it points to the demographic realities that have triggered the racist backlash we are experiencing.

The big picture shows healthy growth in our larger cities–what the report calls “major metro areas”–despite the fact that the nation as a whole experienced historically low growth over the past decade. (The decline in the nation’s overall growth rate is attributed to reduced immigration, a decline in fertility and an increased death rate due to an aging population.)

The disproportionate growth of urban America was characterized by increased racial and ethnic diversity, especially among youth populations–a data point that undoubtedly feeds the grievances of MAGA Republicans. Much of that metropolitan growth occurred in the South.

Reflecting changes from earlier decades, six of the fastest-growing metro areas in 2010-2020 were located in the traditional Sun Belt magnet states of Texas (Austin, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio) and Florida (Orlando and Jacksonville), along with three southeastern metro areas (Raleigh, N.C., Charlotte, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn.) as well as Seattle.

Brookings notes that every metro area with greater than 10% growth is located in either the South or West except three: Columbus, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul. I was pleasantly surprised to find Indianapolis in that category. (The rapidly changing populations of Florida and Texas may help to explain the increasingly frantic efforts of Abbott and DeSantis to energize their GOP bases before the demographic shift overtakes them…)

The most politically potent information was the data on increased diversity.

The 2010-2020 decade continued the nation’s “diversity explosion” that was already evident in the 2010s. This was especially the case among the nation’s major metro areas. While people of color (those identifying as Latino or Hispanic, Black, Asian American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Native American/Alaska Native, or as two or more races) together comprise more than two-fifths (42%) of the total U.S. population, they now comprise over half (50.3%) of the combined populations of major metro areas.

The impact of this minority concentration is most apparent in 20 of the 56 major metro areas, where people of color now comprise more than half of the 2020 population. This was the case for only 14 major metro areas in 2010 and just nine in 1990. The newcomers to this category are metro area Dallas, Orlando, Fla., Atlanta, Sacramento, Calif., New Orleans, and Austin, Texas. As shown in Map 2, most of these are located in California and Texas, where the greatest minority populations tend to be Latino or Hispanic. Metro area Chicago is close to being next in tipping to minority-white status.

Rising diversity is not specific only to these minority-white metro areas. Each of the nation’s 56 major metro areas registered a decline in its white population share since 2010 and, in 41, the decline was 5 percentage points or more. Metro area Seattle led all others, with a decline from 68% white in 2010 to 58% in 2020. Las Vegas experienced the largest 20-year change, from 60% white in 2000 to 39% in 2020.

Brookings also looked at the data on neighborhood segregation, finding limited improvement nationally. Milwaukee, interestingly, remains the most highly segregated city in the U.S.

Another very troubling finding was an absolute decline in the youth population.

The 2020 census data allows for an assessment of the size and recent changes in the nation’s under-age-18 population (referred to here as the “youth” population).

An especially noteworthy finding is the overall decline in this population by over 1 million during the 2010- 2020 decade. In a country that is rapidly aging, such an absolute decline in the youth population represents a demographic challenge for the future.

As White American fertility has declined, the percentage of the youth cohort that is White has also declined.

 The 2020 census shows that more than half of the youth population in 37 major metro areas are people of color, up from 24 in 2010 and 16 in 2000. The rise of youths of color is a key element of the changing demographics of America’s under-age-18 population. These groups have not only stemmed a sharp decline in the youth population but, as they age, will be driving most of the growth in the nation’s labor force.

There’s lots more data and many charts at the link, but the overall picture is clear: America is becoming more urban; it is also aging and rapidly diversifying.  Many older White Americans perceive these demographic shifts as an assault–not just on their status as the “real Americans,” but on their very concept of what America is.

They’re terrified and they’re angry. And they’ll vote for candidates who promise to prevent the inevitable.


  1. Change is scary. Especially, the older we get. It would be interesting to break down that population with a survey pertaining to mortality.

    I noticed in our small community, that the older population gets more vocal about changes to the appearances or how things used to be. Interest in nostalgia and sentimental values increase as well. Why do the politicians have to tear down this or that when it had so many memories?

    As we progress into a new age where having lots of male toys that need to be towed by large trucks across the country get costlier to have in your possession, fear of change develops into resentment and anger.

    I’ve heard more people complain that “progress isn’t always a good thing.”

    When I share what the Buddha famously said, “All things in life are impermanent” they just look at me funny. Change is constant and inevitable. Our attachment to how things were brings suffering.

    Birth, maintenance, and death = Cycle of Life

    All religions point at the same cycle. 😉

  2. “As White American fertility has declined, the percentage of the youth cohort that is White has also declined.”

    The sentence above explains much more than I believe was intended when it was written in this context. It is the decline of White Americans that the White Nationalst MAGA party is trying to overturn by its determined efforts to END all abortions and move on to control access to birth control. The fact that these actions hit harder in minority populations is set on the financial disparity between the races and will escalate with controlling access to birth control and I foresee an increase in minority population. It is a chosen decline of “fertility” as Whites can generally more readily pay for birth control and abortions. It will backfire on the far right determination to increase white control of the government and this nation. Hitler’s creation of a pure white race is Trump’s White Nationalist MAGA party’s creation of same by anti-abortion as their “Final Solution” will result in higher birth rates among the minorities they are trying to destroy. Just my view of this issue.

  3. I’ve seen a recent meme that states something to the effect of; why are you white folks worried about becoming a minority? Are they treated differently?

    There it is.

  4. Todd,
    That is the best thing you’ve ever written and I couldn’t agree more!
    As I approach 70, I work diligently to never say those horrible words, “well when I was a kid…”
    It doesn’t matter what it was like in 1950 to young people challenged with navigating the 2022 world.
    In my run for Town Council, I am trying to listen to their concerns so as to make my community relevant to them.
    Once all the elderlies are gone, what are we leaving for the kids?

  5. Yes, the United States is becoming more diverse and less white. Democrats assume that more people with darker skin means a more liberal electorate. They are most definitely wrong about that.

    Here’s what I’ve learned from being involved in politics for decades. African-Americans are more conservative than white Democrats. African-Americans tend to vote Democrat not because of liberal policies, but because the Democratic Party has successfully demonized the Republican Party as racist or at least being friendly to racist policies. It stands to reason though, because blacks have more conservative views, that there would eventually be some pulling away from the Democratic Party. We’re seeing that now. Democrats are not going to continue to depend on getting 90% of the African-American vote in every election.

    Latino voters are even more conservative than black voters. Unlike with black voters, most don’t view the Republican Party as racist. While Dems are still getting a strong majority of the Latino vote, that share of the vote is notably down. While the Democrats have been trying to use the immigration issue as a wedge, that doesn’t seem to be working very well.

    In short, the Democratic Party can’t sign on to extremely liberal policies and assume black and brown voters will continue to support them. If Democrats want to hold on to their coalition, they’d be advised to moderate their positions, not go further left.

  6. Paul, you just canceled racism without intention. The problem with the Democratic Party is that they use identity politics (racism) just like the Republican Party. Only for different reasons.

    Neither party improves the lives of minorities – they just use them for votes. That is why people of color are refusing to vote or vote for GOP. They’ll also find that the GOP does nothing for them either.

    So far, the Democratic primaries have exposed this across the country. Despite the spending by the Establishment Dems, the progressive or Leftists have won the most votes. This is now occurring internationally as well as many countries got fooled by USA-led coups to bring in fascist or far-right leaders who sold out the people to the IMF or US oligarchs.

    People are voting against their best interests because of the propaganda media. This PM manipulates the people instead of telling them the truth.

  7. I wonder how many Black friends Paul K. Ogden has? Those whose homes he has been in, those he has invited to his home, those who stop by for a cup of coffee or a beer or to talk over a problem or to offer their help? Those they have gone out to public events with; those whose children are actually friends with his children if he has any, maybe dating them? How many Blacks live in his neighborhood and know him well enough to talk “over the fence” with? Reading about Blacks and Browns and statistics and seeing the only examples, the criminals, we see on the news daily, does not provide knowledge of the vast majority of Blacks who work, pay bills, raise families, care for the elderly in their family, grocery shop, clean house, wash their cars, mow their lawns and do the dozens of day-to-day chores and responsibilities needed to raise families and maintain homes.

    Doesn’t the combined total of minorities already outnumber whites in this country make “us” the minority?

  8. I cannot cite the source but I recently read a piece that what is good for the the Indy-Metro area (Marion+Donut Counties) isn’t necessarily good for Indiana. This is because most of its net-in-migration is from other areas of Indiana and not from other states or nations. Net in-migration in other large metro areas, especially those in the South and West, are from out of state and country.

  9. Change is the only real constant. Those who embrace it have a lot more fun than those who don’t.

  10. What if political party themes are not completely explained by the nature of the constituents reflected by the leadership, but the opposite? What if the leadership decides what concepts are most easily sold to their followers, and employs advertising to enhance their need? In other words, parties employed brand advertising to reveal what cohorts they can most easily appeal to then leaned into those attributes with advertising either overt or covert?

    Brand advertising is really a process of taking general demographic trends and building them up, empowering them, and making them more extreme.

    What if one party effectively used propaganda (which is really covert militarized advertising) to enhance the demand for a political party that fed into and built up incipient demand for itself?

    Effective advertising creates demand not only for the products or services being sold but also the channels they advertise through. Everyone wins except for maybe the manipulated consumers.

  11. The majority in any society tends to become resistant to change and revel in the good old days to support their view of the past, present and future but that’s not the way change works. One must have a mindset open to change in order to have a seat at the table in accommodating change, and there are other lenses than the political lens within which to be comfortable as the inexorable tide of change moves on whether accommodated or not, as suggested by JoAnn in her real world description today.

    Thus I spent several years in a minority status in another society and had no problems while participating in local social and other activities while there. My good old days were not their good old days, of course, and when we whites become the minority in this country we will be far better served to accommodate that new reality than to insist that our good old days (days of racist ideology mixed with religion and terminal capitalism) remain in place since, as I often write elsewhere, the nature of change is itself subject to change – algorithms v. a Scrooge clerk’s tally, for instance.

    Professor Kennedy’s blog today is more specific as to both race and where people are living and reinforces what we have been knowing since post WW I, i. e., that there is a movement from rural to urban communities started by the vast improvement in farm machinery following such war among other factors which resulted in far less need for agricultural labor (and which some economists hold was the cause of the Great Depression). Whatever the cause, it amounted to change, and one for which we were ill-fitted to accommodate until FDR’s New Deal.

    First things first and looking ahead – minorities can prosper in democracies – so let’s first energetically tend to that item on our accommodation of change list.

  12. Todd writes that “the Democratic Party has successfully demonized the Republican Party as racist or at least being friendly to racist policies.”

    The Democratic Party did not need to define the GOP in that way, because it simply has been that way for decades. That is why Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” worked so well; that is why Reagan kicked off his presidential run in Philadelphia, Louisiana.

    The old Jim Crow, and the new Jim Crow appear to be most active in the former confederate states.
    Yes, demography is the salient issue, initiating the fear that inflames the MAGA crowd. Change can be very scary, and I would guess, especially for evangelical, traditionalist types. Their fear of change can lead them to virtually deify a “Big Daddy,” manipulating lifetime grifter.

  13. Is this the replacement theory that democrats have been pushing on Republicans? Ha. I guess if they respond to comments they become domestic terrorists? Certainly the government needs red flag laws and their proper implementation to fight against domestic terrorism. A Syrian individual killed several people in a store similar to what happened in Buffalo NY. Terrorism needs to be enforced by the FBI and ICE

  14. I read about the early 20th century of Israel, and one of the things I find interesting, is that while the British forced the influx of European Jewish settlers into Palestine, the Palestinians reacted violently to the changes. When the Jews were forced to push back with violence, the Palestinians fled, fearing what they had tried to do to the Jews would happen to them. Here we are almost 100 years later, and decedents of the Palestinians that fled and the Jews are still stuck in a vicious cycle that seems to have no end in sight.

    That brings we back to the MAGA crowd and the changing demographics in the US. Is there some projection going here? “We know how we treated the minorities, and by God, we aren’t going to give them a chance to do the same thing to us….”?

  15. Well, as mentioned before, history is cyclical. Roman hierarchy which started with emperor Constantine wanted to bring religion into the state government especially christianity. Because he saw the Christian faith expanding rapidly. He figured that if he brought that into Roman government instead of trying to kill Christians, he could expand his government, he could expand his population, he could unite different factions.

    They used the Huns, the Huns were the de facto military for Rome because their population decline also affected the military!

    But the Romans were also proud! They did not want the Huns who were outcasts to be part of their society. They would not give the Huns Roman citizenship. So the Huns were good to fight for Rome but not good enough to be Romans. What happened? The Huns decided to sack Rome! And the Romans couldn’t stop them. The indigenous Romans we’re not numerous enough to resist. And when they started to release gladiators, well, many of the gladiators were foreign residents! They were not indigenous Romans! They allied themselves with the Huns!

    It’s the same with the military here! The government can accept foreigners into the military, foreign residents so to speak, but refuse to make them citizens! It’s been said maybe upwards of 10 or 15% of the military are foreign residents. So, look at history!

    Christ said, love God and love your neighbor! So, the white Evangelical nationalist movement really does not love God, they worship anything that will promote their ideas of sanctity. But their ideas of sanctity really doesn’t include anything scriptural! And that’s the sad thing.

    In 1913, folks really didn’t lock their doors, your neighbors would walk in through your front door! My great grandfather used to talk about his neighbors coming over to use equipment out of his barn. Sometimes he didn’t even know until they brought it back. The first world war changed all of that. Unfortunately, it changed for the worst.

    With all of the laws, has society been made any safer? Does anybody feel safe leaving their door unlocked? Would you let your neighbor walk in and help themselves? Would your neighbors feel safe allowing you to do the same? Is just a snapshot showing how much society has actually decayed. Racism was driven by the churches! Slavery was approved by most churches. Especially the major churches of the time. Because they claimed the darker races were cursed and from Canaan. Which genetically is false, but it made it easier to soothe a conscience if it was bothering someone.

    As far as minorities go, I will actually agree with Paul on his comment. Where I worship, a majority of the congregants are either African American, African immigrants, or Latino either born in the United States or immigrants here. Also, up the road, the Koreans and the Japanese. Usually not friendly towards each other but worshiping together as brothers and sisters.

    And yes, on the whole, African Americans or individuals of African descent, and those in the Latino population are much more conservative than their white counterparts. Latinos and Filipinos are usually the most conservative that I’ve noticed. Because the Catholic church does not allow abortion or contraception. So most of the Latinos will have many more children than their white counterparts. Filipinos in my area, absolutely the same thing. There are more minorities being born than those of the white ethnic groups.

    So, harken back to Rome! The Romans wanted to keep their culture pure! And, it ended up costing them their culture in the long run. They were overthrown and forcibly assimilated by their surrounding enemies. But only after there society had disintegrated and they became weak.

    Eugenics became a way to start evening the playing field so to speak. Those who they considered intellectually stunted, or those who were poor minorities, were sterilized in this country and in England along with some select European countries. The Germans were a big fan of that. But Eugenics actually was started in the United States and Britain simultaneously. I will guarantee you, that a majority of African Americans or those of African descent, and those of Hispanic or Latino culture, do not support abortion. And, many also don’t approve of contraception. The contraception issue is manipulated by religion so they can attach it to abortion. That really is not the case in scripture. those individuals are actually surprised when that’s pointed out to them through scripture, and they realize that their pastors have been lying to them all along. But, that’s why Eugenics was such a nefarious practice, because sterilizing individuals against their will should never have been allowed. How many cases have we heard about pastors taking mistresses to an abortion clinic? Or, how many pastors have been caught engaging in homosexual behavior while roiling against it? So much obscurantism and so much misdirection and hypocrisy, people will never find out what the truth of the matter really is! Because there’s a shield of Lies around the truth!

  16. AgingLGirl, Right on…been saying that for years! That’s the fundamental fear, to be treated as they/we have treated others. Well I’ll be darned, our actions have consequences.

  17. Dan – I hate to get involved in discussions of the Mideast, but your facts are off
    Britain restricted Jewish immigration and had an open door policy for Arabs. Those are the brief pre-1947 partition facts. You are correct that many Arabs hated the anti-imperial, socialist and communist ideas of these early Jewish settlers. That wave of Jewish immigrants were more “European”, unlike the post-independence influx of some 800,000 Jews for North Africa and Arab lands. Other Arabs didn’t mind. However, you are correct about the vicious cycle of violence that does not seem to end.

    As for the changing demographics, there is another dimension that makes this worse – migration. Most of the cities Sheila mentioned are new hubs for hi-tech. Hi-tech is bringing “Northerners” to the south, along with being more educated and the aforementioned more diverse mix of population, “Northerners” (AKA damned Yankees) are seen as different, as “other”. This isn’t new; ask the ghost of Leo Frank, lynched in 1915 for being a Jew, a Northerner, and a factory owner – mostly in that order.

  18. Len – Thanks for the correction. I will admit, my recent reading was a very narrow slice of history.

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