White population aging rapidly in US, dying faster than babies are born, data show

Deaths of non-Hispanic white people now outnumber births in the majority of U.S. states for the first time ever between 2015 and 2016, new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau show.

The figures reveal that the country’s white population is aging rapidly – an average white American is 43.5 years old – as more whites postpone having children.

Meanwhile, minority populations in the U.S. are rising significantly faster thanks to immigration flows and younger population of Hispanic Americans, who are on average 29.3 years old.

According to the Census Bureau projection, whites in America will constitute less than 50 percent of the population around 2045, a demographic shift many have foreseen for a long time.

“It’s happening a lot faster than we thought."

— Rogelio Sáenz, a demographer

But the new report signals that the change may come faster than previously predicted as it revealed that the white population is now dying faster than it's being replaced in 26 states – up from 17 just two years ago, the New York Times reported.

“It’s happening a lot faster than we thought,” Rogelio Sáenz, a demographer at the University of Texas at San Antonio and a co-author of the report, told the newspaper.

The report shows that the number of white Americans declined by 0.02 percent between 2016 and 2017, totaling 197.8 million people. In comparison, the Hispanic population has continued to grow throughout the years and reached nearly 59 million people, benefitting from the 2.1 percent increase over last year.

The total population of people of Asian heritage also increased to 22.2 million, with a 3.1 percent increase compared to the prior year, and there are 47.4 million African Americans, up 1.2 percent.

“White fertility has gone down. There’s a little bit less white immigration in the last year. As the white population becomes older, that means that even if fertility gets up a little bit, it’s not going to be what it was a long time ago.”

— William Frey, a demographer

“White fertility has gone down. There’s a little bit less white immigration in the last year,” William Frey, a demographer and sociologist at the Brookings Institution in Washington, told the Hill. “As the white population becomes older, that means that even if fertility gets up a little bit, it’s not going to be what it was a long time ago.”

In general, the latest figures also indicate that the whole population of the U.S. is also increasingly getting older, on average 38 years old, with experts saying the trend can be blamed on both millennials and baby boomers.

“Baby boomers and millennials alike are responsible for this trend in increased aging,” Molly Cromwell, a Census Bureau demographer, told the Hill. “Boomers continue to age and are slowly outnumbering children as the birth rate has declined steadily over the last decade.”

Utah, Texas, Alaska and the District of Columbia have the youngest residents in the country, with the median age ranging between 30.9 and 35 years old.

Maine, New Hampshire, Florida, West Virginia and Vermont appear to be the oldest states, with the median age ranging between 42 and nearly 45 years old.