California not only has the distinction of being one of a handful of majority-minority states in the nation, it also will soon be known as a state where Latinos make up the largest ethnic group. Demographers predict that by 2014, the Hispanic population there will surpass the white population for the first time since California became a state back in 1850.
The Los Angeles Times reports that whites and Latinos in California will each make up roughly 39 percent of the state's population by the middle of this year. Soon after that Latinos will edge out whites as the most populous group. By 2060, Latinos will comprise almost half, 48 percent, of the state's population. Whites will make up 30 percent of California's populations, Asians will make up 13 percent, and blacks will make up four percent.
A major reason that Latino population growth will outpace white population growth is because the former is much younger than the latter. According to the Los Angeles Times: "By 2030, there will be 7.2 million Latinos younger than 25 compared to 2.2 million who will be 65 or older. By comparison, 4.1 million of the white population will be 65 or older and 3.8 million will be younger than 25."
Of course, not everyone is so happy about the news that Latinos will soon be California's largest ethnic group. A commenter with the user name Timetoriot wrote: "Nothing to celebrate." Another by the name of Mag Trojan 10 wrote, "Say hello to the new Banana Republic. Full of corruption and violence. Say goodbye to California." And plenty of commenters made cracks about "illegals" streaming across the California border. Of course, not all Latinos are in this country illegally. Some come from families who have lived in this region since before California became a state. Moreover, Latinos come from all walks of life. Most of the Latinos I know in California are educated, law-abiding working professionals, so I find the idea that a California with a Latino majority will be a lawless and uneducated one ridiculous. Although studies show that while Latinos lag behind whites and other groups in terms of educational attainment, they also show that the number of highly educated Latinos has been growing with the passage of time. In 2011, for example, Latinos made up 16.5 percent of college students. That's a spike of more than 5 percent since 2006. To boot, 76 percent of Latinos graduated from high school in 2011, the highest amount ever to do so. These statistics are worth celebrating. California will continue to be a great state whether or not whites remain the majority group. The state's diversity is one of the reasons it's so attractive to people across the country and the globe alike.