LatinaLista.net -- When the U.S. Census first started releasing preliminary findings from the 2010 survey, there was mild surprise at just how much the country is changing. It wasn't a total shock since some of these changes were so obvious: more Latinos in the population; more women in the workforce, more senior citizens retiring, etc.
But hardly anyone stops to think about these changes and their impact on the nation. Well, researchers at the Keenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill did stop and think and they've gone a step further -- releasing a new report titled Six Disruptive Demographic Trends: What Census 2010 Will Reveal.
According to the researchers, the six disruptive demographic trends are:
South-shifting population. More than half of the nation's population growth during the past decade (51.4 percent) occurred in Southern states, driven in part by an in-migration of an estimated 2.3 million newcomers from nearly all demographic groups -- blacks, Hispanics, the elderly and the foreign born -- and high fertility rates among some, particularly Hispanics.
"Browning" of America. Nonwhites accounted for an estimated 85 percent of U.S. net population growth during the past decade. Non-Hispanic whites represented 65 percent of the U.S. population in 2009 compared to 76 percent in 1995.
Intermarriage increase. Marriage across racial and ethnic lines has doubled since 1980, further contributing to the browning trend, with 41 percent of all intermarriages in 2008 between Hispanics and whites; 15 percent between Asians and whites; 11 percent between blacks and white; and both parties nonwhite in 16 percent of intermarriages.
"Graying" of America. The first baby boomer born in America turned 65 on Jan. 1, sparking a "silver tsunami" of 79 million baby boomers who will exit the U.S. workforce over the next 20 years. About 8,000 Americans will turn 65 every day over the next five years, and they will live longer than previous generations because of advances in health care and lifestyles that are more active.
Gender shift. Women now hold nearly half of all paid U.S. jobs (49.8 percent), own 40 percent of all businesses and hold 43 percent of executive, administrative and managerial positions in the U.S. economy, narrowing the male-female wage gap to its lowest point in history.
More grandparent-headed households. The number of children living in grandparent-headed households increased by 26.1 percent between 2001 and 2010, compared to 3.8 percent for all U.S. household types. One or both parents also live in about two-thirds of the grandparent-headed households.
In response to these changes, the report's authors challenge national, state and local governments to meet these emerging shifts by creating new policies and programs that both help and address the new issues resulting from these changes. However, according to them, education should be a big priority for this nation going forward.
James H. Johnson Jr., director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and co-author of the report said, "Education presents the greatest challenge and opportunity. The youth at risk of falling through the cracks of our public education system are predominantly nonwhite, mainly black and Hispanic, who attend severely under-resourced and the lowest-performing schools.
"Allowing these students to languish in failure factories is not only an ethical and moral issue but a major factor in our future competitiveness. Given the huge wave of baby boomers who are about to retire, we will need the skills and talents of these younger generations to prosper in the years ahead."