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Among Nation’s Youngest, Analysis Finds Fewer Whites

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Among Nation’s Youngest, Analysis Finds Fewer Whites

Among Nation’s Youngest, Analysis Finds Fewer Whites
Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times | February 7, 2011

WASHINGTON — Whites continued to decline as a share of the American population in 2009, and they now represent less than half of all 3-year-olds, according to a Brookings Institution analysis of census data released Monday.

The country’s young population is more diverse than ever, with whites now in the minority in nursery schools, preschools and kindergartens in eight states — Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas — and the District of Columbia, according to William H. Frey, a demographer at Brookings. That was up from six states in 2000.

“We are on our way to having a majority of minority students in U.S. schools,” Mr. Frey said.

Nationally, whites accounted for 58.8 percent of all school enrollment in 2009, Mr. Frey said, citing the new data, which measured enrollment from preschool to graduate school as of October 2009. That was down from 64.6 percent in 2000, a decline that came with falling birthrates as the white population aged.

Population growth has come instead from Hispanics, blacks and Asians, whose children represent ever larger shares of the school population. Twenty-three percent of children in kindergarten were Hispanic in 2009, up from 18 percent in 2000 and 10 percent in 1989. Hispanics now account for nearly a fifth of all enrollment from nursery school through college, Mr. Frey said.

The United States has been experiencing the biggest surge of immigrants since the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when European immigrants considerably expanded the population.  (Read more)