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Whites are about to become a minority
May 17, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
The latest census numbers show that whites are now having fewer babies than minorities. Whites had slightly less than half the babies in 2011; racial and ethnic minorities had more than 50 percent. Most predictions say that whites will actually be in the minority by the middle of the century.
So what does this mean for the country as a whole and for North Dakota in particular?
Looking at the immigration stats, I would assume that there are going to be more Hispanics than Asians, blacks and American Indians. The percentage of Hispanics in North Dakota is still quite small, but it's noticeable. I hear more Spanish in the stores and the Minot school district stats show that there are more kids moving here who speak Spanish as a first language. Spanish speakers make up about half the number of kids who require English Language Learners education in Minot. It's noticeable even in the type of products being sold. One of the department stores began selling Spanish-language movies for the first time a couple of years ago and there seems to be a wider selection of Mexican food in the supermarkets. I've also noticed that the supermarkets are selling more hominy and grits and black-eyed peas than they once did, probably to please the Southern transplants to North Dakota.
I suspect that some people have a harder time than others adjusting to demographic changes. Some people will be happy about added diversity in the area and others will do a lot of grumbling. One way or another, we're going to have to find new ways of looking at the world.
In another 50 years there will probably be many Norwegian-Mexican American North Dakotans in the state, kids who will be as comfortable with Cinco de Mayo as the Norsk Hostfest. But it will be interesting to watch the transformation taking place.
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