America 2050: Minorities in majority

By the halfway point of the 21st century, non-white Americans will make up more than half the population, and the elderly population will boom.

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By David Goldman, CNNMoney.com staff writer

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In 2050, 54% of the country's population will be comprised of minorities, according to a Census Bureau study, and the 85-and-older population will more than triple.
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The United States will look very different by the middle of the 21st century - the country will be much more racially diverse and a lot older, according to a U.S. Census Bureau projection released Thursday.

In 2050, the Census Bureau expects, minorities will make up 54% of the country's population. The Census Bureau defines minorities as everyone except for non-Hispanic, single-race whites.

Also by the century's halfway point, the 65-and-older age group will more than double from 38.7 million to 88.5 million, making up more than 20% of the U.S. population in 2050 compared with the current level of 13%. The 85-and-older population will more than triple between 2008 and 2050, according to the forecast.

With these projections, the American economy may have to make some adjustments.

"With the number of people over 65 expected to grow, that's going to put more and more pressure on Social Security," said Peter Morici, a University of Maryland professor of economics. "We're going to have to ask people to work until they're 70, and we'll need a more reasonable health care system."

Meanwhile, the working-age population, 18- to 64-year-olds, will comprise mostly minorities by 2039, according to the forecast. By 2050, the Census Bureau believes minorities will make up 55% of the work force, compared to just 34% now.

Working-age Americans will comprise 34% of Hispanics, 15% of blacks and 9.6% of Asians by 2050. That compares with a workforce made up of 15% Hispanics, 13% blacks and 5.3% Asians now. Overall, minorities are expected to become the majority by 2042.

The U.S. population, which currently stands at about 305 million, is forecast to grow 44% to 439 million in 2050. The number of white Americans is expected to grow only 0.8% by the century's midpoint. During the same period, the Hispanic population is projected to triple, and comprise 30% of the U.S. population compared with 15% today. The black population is expected to grow 60%, and make up 15% of America's populace vs. the current 14%. The number of Asians will likely more than double and make up 9.2% of the U.S. population vs. 5.1% now.

Not only will the nation be more racially diverse, but more American individuals will be too. The percentage of bi- or multi-racial people in the United States is expected to more than double to 3.6% from the 1.7% who identify as such now. To top of page

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