Now They Tell Us! A Few Thoughts On What The Census Bureau's Projected White Minority Will Mean For America
Print Friendly and PDF

Typically, the two most important factors influencing the long-term success of an organization are the quantity and quality of people involved.

This is particularly true for a country. Yet there has been barely any discussion in the U.S. prestige press on the implications of the demographic change imposed by immigration. We're constantly lectured by the New York Times on the long-run impact of carbon emissions and by the Wall Street Journal on the difficulties posed for Social Security by the changing ratio of workers to retirees over the next several decades. But the basic factor driving these issues is almost off-limits.

That's why there is a

In forecasting the U.S. population, the wild card is always the Hispanic component.

For example, on January 13, 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau released population projections stating that the number of Hispanics resident in the country would grow massively, from 32 million in 2000 to 98 million in 2050.

When the Bureau conducted the decennial census on April 1, 2000, however, it found out that there were already over 35 million Hispanics within the borders—ten percent more than the government had previously imagined.

So in late 2001, the Census Bureau released "interim" projections incorporating the 2000 Census findings and projected that the number of Hispanics would hit 103 million in 2050.

Now, the Bureau has released its first full-blown set of projections in 8.5 years,. And they're a doozy. The key figure: 133 million Hispanics by 2050, an increase of almost 100 million in half a century.

Is adding 100 million Latinos to the U.S. population a good idea? Will it "form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity"?

(That's the first sentence of something called the "U.S. Constitution"—a once-celebrated document put together way back when by a bunch of long-dead white guys, some of whom were slave-owners.)

We the people are supposed to have a say in such things. But how can we have a say when we're not supposed to talk about it?

The well-worn responses of Establishment figures to public unease about adding 100 million Hispanics usually start with the words "All we have to do is …"

All we have to do is fix education. Once we just figure out how to get Hispanics and blacks to stay in school and learn as much as whites, we're all set!

All we have to do is create more good jobs.

All we have to do is solve the illegitimacy crisis and get the Hispanic out-of-wedlock birthrate back down below 50 percent.

All we have to do is solve the housing / health care finance / carbon emission, energy / infrastructure / and crime crises!

In reality, we don't know how to solve any of these problems. And we are unlikely to discover and implement workable solutions any time soon. I've been following social science and public policy for 36 years now. I've learned that fixes for social problems are rare.

In recent decades, we did finally make some progress against crime. But we did it through the brute force method of throwing a couple of million people in prison.

And there has been little change in the racial disparities in crime rates. Racial and ethnic differences of all kinds have been strikingly stable since the 1970s. In particular, the word that best sums up Latino America is inertia. Things just sort of keep on keeping on in the general direction that they were already moving.

What we do know is that all of these troubles are exacerbated by the mass immigration of people with low human capital.

And alleviating some of that immigration-caused pressure is something we actually do have a rough idea of how to carry out.

But you won't hear that from John McCain, Barack Obama, or the mainstream media. Why not?

One reason is that there are huge constituencies out there who make their livings out of social problems. They won't make the problems go away, of course, because that would make their jobs go away too. Instead, more immigration by more people lacking in human capital is their full employment plan.

Yet the quantity and quality of the American population does matter in the long run. It's not even that hard to do the calculations of the opportunity cost.

Consider high school dropout rates. In 2007, Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman calculated [PDF]that the high school dropout rate in the U.S. had bottomed out at around 20 percent in 1969, but rose to about 25 percent by 2000. Over that period, there was no change in the dropout rate's racial ratio: blacks and Hispanics raised in the U.S. were twice as likely as whites to drop out (and Hispanic youths raised in Mexico were much more likely).

I estimated that the majority of that increase was directly due to simple demographic change—high dropout-rate ethnic groups just made up a larger fraction of all 18-year-olds in 2000 than in 1969.

The rest of the worsening may have been an indirect product of demographic change as well. More non-Asian minorities (NAMs) mean more stressed schools and more anti-education attitudes in the classroom swamping traditional American values even for the kids of traditional Americans.

Simple math suggests that, all else being equal, the ethnic change projected by the Census Bureau is likely to raise the dropout rate from 25 percent to close to 30 percent.

Why do we want that?

Similarly, the change in ethnic makeup of 15-44 year olds will, just by itself, raise the illegitimacy rate by 4 points.

You can do similar calculations for rates of crime, lack of health insurance, unaffordable housing, and other social distresses. Most problems are inevitably made worse by the immigration-driven shift in America's demographic balance—they have what Peter Brimelow in Alien Nation back in 1995 called "an immigration dimension".

Similarly, the burden imposed by affirmative action on individual whites will rapidly increase as the racial ratio of minority quota beneficiaries to majority benefactors shifts. And, note carefully, the Census Bureau forecasts that minorities are forecast to be a majority in the U.S. by 2042, only 34 years from now.

Overall, at the very least, we'll have to get used to being a country of lower average levels of achievement. For whatever reasons, Mexican culture and human accomplishment don't go together.

For example, Hispanics today make up 23.4 percent of all Americans between 15 and 44, yet they only account for four percent of the U.S. Olympic team in Beijing. (Heck, only two of the 23 players on the 2006 U.S. World Cup soccer team had Spanish surnames.)

The Latino Olympic shortfall is particularly notable because Californians are three times more likely to make the Olympic team than non-Californians. The Golden State has always been fitness and outdoors mad. And the California culture encourages obsessions with eccentric minor sports, which is why Los Angeles was such a successful host for the 1932 and 1984 Olympics. And yet, over the last century, the now-13 million Hispanics in California have not assimilated much of the state's local culture.

Even Dara Torres, the swimmer from Southern California who won three silver medals at a Barry Bonds-like age 41, turns out not to be as Hispanic as her surname implies—her father is Sephardic and she grew up in Beverly Hills.

The same pattern is seen internationally. As of Saturday night, the U.S. Olympic team had won 62 medals, while the Mexican team had won just a single bronze.

Moreover, if current policy continues, we'll be a poorer and more unequal citizenry than we would have to be without so much immigration from south of the border. The Pew Hispanic Center reported in 2004:

"According to the study, the median net worth of Hispanic households in 2002 was $7,932. This was only nine percent of $88,651, the median wealth of non-Hispanic White households at the same time. … Twenty-six percent of Hispanic, 32 percent of non-Hispanic Black and 13 percent of non-Hispanic White households had zero or negative net worth in 2002. These proportions are essentially unchanged since 1996. …

"The wealthiest 25 percent of Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black households own 93 percent of the total wealth of each group. Among non-Hispanic White households, the top 25 percent own 79 percent of total wealth."

And, in 2050, the future will look even more depressing. The Census Bureau says:

"In 2050, the nation's population of children is expected to be 62 percent minority, up from 44 percent today. Thirty-nine percent are projected to be Hispanic (up from 22 percent in 2008), and 38 percent are projected to be single-race, non-Hispanic white (down from 56 percent in 2008)."

And then there are the problems exacerbated just by absolute changes in the quantity of residents of the country. A completely obvious trap is the one that liberals these days claim to be most concerned about: America's carbon footprint. Clearly, importing tens of millions of poor Mexicans boosts this country's—and the world's—output of greenhouse gases because they'll burn more fossil fuels living in America than in Mexico. Indeed, the possibility of affording a personal car is often the motivation for immigrating.

But what's relevant for global warming is not just the difference in fuel consumption per person caused by immigration. Illegal aliens also have more children living in America than they would have if they had to stay home in Mexico.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, immigrant Latinas in California in 2005 were having babies at the rate of 3.7 per lifetime, compared to only 2.4 for Mexican women back home in Mexico.

Unmistakable conclusion: Mexicans are sneaking into America to have more children than could afford to have in their own country.

You are almost never told that.

When you look under the hood of the Census Bureau projections, it's apparent that the Hispanic population could turn out to be quite a bit bigger than 133 million by 2050. The Bureau assumes that the Hispanic total fertility rate (TFR) will decline from 2.70 in 2010 to 2.29 by 2050. In the real world, however, the trend has been going in the opposite direction: 1996, Latino women were having babies at a rate equivalent to 2.77 per lifetime. By 2006, the last year for which we have data, Latinos were up to 2.96.

On the other hand, there is a bit of good news in these new projections. The old projections badly underestimated the current level of immigration. Thus, the 2000 forecasters presumed that net immigration from the whole world would top out at 1.1 million per year in 2050.

In contrast, the 2008 projections assume that net international migration will accelerate from 1.3 million in 2010 to over 2.0 million in 2050.

But of course, the level of immigration is not an act of God. It's a political decision—one that United States citizens have the right to change.

And they certainly would—if they were allowed to talk about it.

[Steve Sailer (email him) is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and movie critic for The American Conservative. His website features his daily blog.]

Print Friendly and PDF