Nonpartisan think tank Pew research has released a new report on the changing demographics in American society. The US is, according to many, a nation of immigrants, a melting pot of cultures and a symbol of multiculturalism in today’s inter-connected world.
Pew released demographic predictions for the next half of the 21st century, when the US will become a melting pot of cultures, with no dominant race or ethnic group. According to the report, by 2065 Whites will comprise 46% of the overall population, Hispanics 24%, Asians 14% and Blacks will represent 13% of the nation.
The report was made public to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which radically changed the country’s policy towards immigration. Until that point, the policy favored immigrants from Northwestern Europe through preferential quotas.
Before 1965, non-Hispanic White Americans had been an overwhelming majority of 85%. Although they remain a majority today, their numbers have significantly decreased to 62% of the population and by 2065, according to Pew, the US “will no longer have a majority group.”
Based on current data, the research also predicts an upcoming increase in the number of immigrants of Hispanic and Asian backgrounds. Based on this, Pew concludes that foreign-born residents will make up 18% of the country’s overall population, expected to total at 441 million people in the next 50 years.
However, these predictions do not come without controversy, as the issue of immigration continues to appear in the main political agenda of contenders for the 2016 Presidential bid. GOP candidates in particular have voiced concern about current statistics, with Donald Trump even explicitly saying that both legal and illegal immigration have gotten out of control.
Pew also surveyed people from the 10th of March to the 6th of April 2015, collecting opinions regarding immigrants from different backgrounds. The data reveals that a more positive attitude is given to Asian and European immigrants, as opposed to those of Latin American or Middle Eastern origin.
Only 26% of those surveyed expressed favorable views towards immigrants from African and Latin American countries, while 22% and 37% respectively expressed concern over the impact of migrants coming from these regions. Recent studies, carried out by groups such as the ADL and the Southern Poverty Law Center, also highlight a surge in racist attitudes and xenophobia in recent years.
Some social conservatives blame the recent rise of racist attitudes as reactionary to an expanding culture of political correctness. Others maintain that the immigration policy is outdated and needs to be amended to the challenges of our time. And with the 2016 run for the White House just around the corner, many feel the subject, despite its controversy, can no longer be ignored or pushed to the margins by either sides of the political spectrum.
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