America in full color

2020 Census shows we are a vibrant country thanks to a steady influx of newcomers who ensure we remain an energetic and prosperous nation.



August 17, 2021 - 9:42 AM

Census data has revealed a changing America. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Tucker Carlson and his less mainstream allies will surely see in new census numbers a reason to turn up the volume on their tired racial and ethnic whine: American whites are on track to lose their majority status due to permissive immigration policies and discrepant birth rates. They say this as though Mexican Americans, Asian Americans and others — what Carlson has toxically referred to as “new people, more obedient voters from the Third World” — cannot honor the principles that make America great, a claim that clashes with any honest reading of history. 

We see in the new numbers a healthy indicator that the United States continues to evolve racially and ethnically, and a timely reminder to whites that the nation badly needs to welcome and integrate people with a range of backgrounds if it has any hope of remaining economically and culturally dynamic. (We also see powerful evidence that it’s increasingly out of date to see America through a white-and-Black lens, but that’s the subject for another editorial.)

In the demographic data just released from the 2020 count, the U.S. white non-Hispanic population fell to 58%, down from 69% in 2000. Hispanics now make up 19% of us. Asian Americans grew to 6%. Blacks held roughly steady at about 12%, as their total numbers grew modestly.

The white population didn’t just shrink in relative terms; it contracted in sheer numbers. Blame the fact that some have moved to big cities, where family sizes are smaller, while post-industrial towns have hollowed out. Blame, relatedly, a punishing opioid crisis.

Whatever the cause, it’s clear whites, who too often complain about seeing “their” country slip away, owe a debt of gratitude to their non-white neighbors. More people are the key to maintaining an energetic and prosperous nation (not to mention a viable Social Security system). Right now, those people are coming from other parts of the world, and from non-white Americans reproducing at faster rates.

Replacement theory? Boo. Augmentation theory’s the only sustainable path to a brighter American future.