There are three forces acting on the American white majority: globalism, immigration, and fertility. This is a well documented subject, captured in books like White Shift, by Eric Kaufmann, and policy briefs like “The US will become ‘minority white’ in 2045″ by the Brookings Institute. I’m not going to re-knead the dough of white anxiety in this post that has been worked over by others. Instead, I’m going to zoom out and look at the big picture of changing demographics in the U.S., and how that is manifesting in current political language and conversation.
This conversation is not easy to have for anyone. I mean specifically that when it comes to race, demographics, and the future of “The American Spirit” no one will come out satisfied- at least for now. The fact driving all of this is that the white majority will cross the 50% threshold sometime in the next couple of decades. We will enter the true “pluralist” society, in the way I mean it. Pluralism has many definitions if you search the internet; for example, if you Google search “pluralism” you will get this definition:
“a condition or system in which two or more states, groups, principles, sources of authority, etc., coexist.”
This definition has had a nascent presence in the U.S. in the last couple of decades as non-white demographics exert their political power, but it has not manifested so clearly until, ironically, the white vote has changed. As a reactionary force, the vote among conservatives in the U.S. has reached a nadir. What we are witnessing now, the conservative coalitions and advocacy groups, must necessarily be at their most powerful in the present. First we should recognize how, and then why.
While white conservative America represents vast, untold amounts of wealth and power in legacy and current state, it is destined to experience diminishing returns to its forays into the political machine. How? Part of this story is numbers, and part of it is changing attitudes by its parallel white cohort.
Starting with the numbers, white people made up around 72% of the U.S. population according to the 2010 census. In 2020, white people are projected to be slightly above 59% of the population. That is an enormous shift in a country as large as the U.S. Further, as projections from years past will tell us, whites will lose their majority status in the U.S. by 2045. Projections like these have been announced since I was in junior high, but the effects of this transition are now prescient.
Part of the numbers story is immigration, though that isn’t the biggest contributor – natural birth rates are. Without phoning my conjecture in completely, I do know that economically mature cohorts have lower birth rates, and I think that lower white fertility rates are due in large part to the fact that whites as a group matured faster economically than other racial cohorts. Of course there is a blend of imperialism and stacking the deck racially that whites benefited from, but that is only one piece of the picture and the whole is for another post.
There is not only the dynamic among the young and old in the white population, but also the urban vs. rural. Generally, I think people are aware of the fact that whites in urban environment tend to skew liberal, and favor inclusive policies and representatives. Interpreting where whites will fall on the political spectrum in the coming decades is, I think, an interesting question which merits serious thought. Will it be the case that whites turn inward, to gather in solidarity as their racial presence recedes? Or, will they further splinter into opposing factions: the one embracing the neoliberal globalism and inclusive diversity ethos, and the other retreating to bastions of historic culture, repelling the melting pot of shared cultural experience?