Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Cultural View of Demographics?

The U.S. Bureau of the Census published its annual population estimates for the United States yesterday. Almost obscured in the original table released (here), is the fact that in the fiscal year under examination (July 1, 2011 to July 1, 2012), the demographic category labeled White Alone, Not Hispanic, experienced more deaths in the period than it had births. The difference, in favor of deaths, was 12,419. Nevertheless, “White Alone” gained 175,965 people—all due to immigration; total immigration was 188,384. That number was also “White Alone” immigration. That number, less the 12,419 above, yielded a positive gain in “White Alone” numbers, a minimal up-tic of 0.1 percent over 2011. All other groupings increased by higher percentiles: Asians by 2.9 percent, mostly from immigration, Hispanics (of any race) by 2.2, and Blacks by 1.1 percent.

What the Census Bureau emphasized in its headline was the gain in Asian population. What the media picked up was that “White deaths outnumber White births.” Now, it so happens, that 88.2 percent of the 53 million Hispanics are racially White. Indeed, when White Hispanics are included with other Whites, Whites gained 0.5 percent in population. That’s still the lowest performance, but a little better.

The upshot is that both the Bureau’s special segregation of “White Alone, Not Hispanic” as a category—and the media’s focus on that category—indicates a cultural factor running rampant in the handling of our demographic statistics.

Tribal concerns are never far from human interests no matter how secular and enlightened we think ourselves to be…

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