Census: Half of all newborns are minorities

(CBS News) The U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday that, for the first time, more minority children are being born in America than white children. Over a one-year period just over 50 percent of the nation's births were minorities.

As CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod reports, 114 million Americans are members of minority groups -- 36.6 percent of the population and growing.

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Laura Hernandez's one-month-old daughter Veronica Hernandez is part of the nation's fastest growing minority group, Hispanics.

They now make up more than half of all infants in California, Texas and New Mexico.

"Our children probably will have more friends in school that are from Hispanic or Mexican descent in comparison to what I grew up in," said Hernandez.

It is not just in the big cities. In Des Moines, Iowa one-third of the staff at the Primary Health Care Clinic is bilingual.

Workers speak Spanish, German, Russian and Thai and they have phones in the exam rooms to connect with translators for other languages if need be.

"I see it everyday" Hernandez said. "For example, when I go to the stores like Target, I see the translations of the signs and labels" into Spanish.

When Grant Wood painted American Gothic in 1930, nearly 90 percent of the country was white. Today, America has a much different complexion. Hispanics make up close to 17 percent of the population, making it the nation's largest minority group. African-Americans are 14 percent of the population. Asians are 5.8 percent.

"This puts an exclamation point on a trend we knew was coming," said William Frey,  a demographer at the Brookings Institution.

Frey said a 25-year influx of immigrants explains the change -- one that will carry profound political implications as infants like Veronica Hernandez grow.

"This will be really important once they start aging and voting in large numbers," he added.

The other piece of the puzzle is the aging white population. The median age of whites in this country is 42. The median age for Hispanics is 28. That is a big difference when it comes to which group will be having more babies.

  • Jim Axelrod

    Jim Axelrod is the anchor of the Saturday edition of the "CBS Evening News" and a national correspondent for CBS News, reporting for the "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley" and other CBS News broadcasts.

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