Unfunded government liabilities in the hundreds of trillions of dollars. An illegitimacy rate that surpasses 40 percent. Metastasizing welfarism, for both individuals and corporations. Regulatory ratcheting and a rising tax burden. An appalling incarceration rate, fueled by an unwinnable “war” on drugs. Hundreds of military installations that do nothing to keep the Republic safe.
Who made this mess? And who gets to clean it up?
“States of Change: The Demographic Evolution of the American Electorate, 1974–2060” is an exhaustive exploration of a citizenry that was, is, and will be. A joint publication of the leftish Brookings Institution, moonbat Center for American Progress and neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, the report is designed to stimulate “discussion … on the implications of demographic change.”
In 1980, America was 80 percent white. That world is gone. “The scale of race-ethnic transformation in the United States,” write authors Ruy Teixeira, William H. Frey, and Robert Griffin, “is stunning.” Latinos will be 29 percent of the population in 2060. Blacks will maintain their share in the low teens, but Asians/Others — a group that includes “those identifying as both non-Hispanic and Asian, Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, American Indian, Alaskan Native, or multiracial” — will rise from 8 percent to 15 percent. In 2060, the white portion of the population will be “less than 44 percent.”
In 1994, New Mexico became the first “majority-minority” state. California attained the status in 2000, followed by Texas in 2004. Next up, according to “States of Change” are Nevada (2019), Maryland (2020), Arizona (2023), Georgia (2025), and Florida (2028). Utah — yes, Utah — will be 42 percent minority in 2060.
Generational metamorphosis will be as impactful as racial and ethnic shifts. The men and women who experienced the Great Depression and World War II make up just 1 percent of the population now. Millennials grab the largest share today (27 percent), followed by Baby Boomers (24 percent) and Gen Xers (21 percent). In 2060, the Boomers will be gone, the Xers down to a remnant. “Post-Millennials” and “Post-Millennials 2,” most of whom are not yet born, will constitute nearly half the population.
Forty-five years from now, the average American will be older — continuing what appears to be an irreversible trend. In 1980, a quarter of us were older than 50. Now, the share is a third. By 2060, it will be 42 percent. (If you’re looking for investment opportunities, think eldercare.)
The nation’s unwavering commitment to matrimony dissolved in the 1970s. There are no signs of a U-turn. “On the most basic level,” write Teixeira, Frey, and Griffin, “we have seen a rapid decline in the married share of the electorate,” and “continuing, albeit slowing, growth in the unmarried population” is likely.
Demographic alterations are not manifesting equally everywhere. “Melting Pot states” were the “first to feel the effects of the nation’s new diversity to a large degree, and they serve as models of what will occur elsewhere as new racial minorities continue to disperse.” Examples include California, Texas, Florida, and New York.
“New Sun Belt states” are what the authors consider “America’s new frontier.” In the West, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Idaho set the pace as the country’s fastest growing laboratories of democracy between 2000 to 2010. In the Southeast, New Sun Belt states are expanding, too, aided by “migration from other parts of the United States.” Blacks are the dominant minority in the region, but Latinos are catching up. Virginia, for example, will be 17 percent Hispanic in 2060.
The “Heartland” sector “sprawls across the middle of the country, both North and South, and even touches some coastal areas in the East.” Its member states “are not highly diverse,” and they’re hardly job-creation dynamos. But in the Rust Belt, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are becoming less white. New England’s three lower-tier states — Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut — will be at or near majority-minority status by 2060.
Talk-radio entertainer Michael Savage recently boasted that “it’s permanently 1955” on his program. It was surely a comforting thought for his listeners. But as a long-term strategy for dealing with cultural, fiscal and economic challenges, nostalgia for Ike, tailfins and Elvis isn’t very helpful. Then again, neither are misty reminiscences of George McGovern, bell bottoms, and Donna Summer.
Demographers make mistakes, but one projection in “States of Change” cannot be in error. The people who drove America into a ditch — the “Greatest” Generation, the Silent Generation and the Baby Boomers — won’t be responsible for fixing the car.
Former Nevadan D. Dowd Muska (www.dowdmuska.com) writes about government, economics, and technology. He lives in Corrales, New Mexico. Follow him on Twitter @DowdMuska.