Sunday, June 30, 2013

Salon: GOP Chairman Reince Priebus Claims That Republican Efforts to Court Hispanics Have Been No Good

Republican Chairman Reince Priebus recently declared to a Hispanic elected and appointed officials organization that the GOP has not done a good job at reaching Latino voters.  He also claimed that things were going to be different in the future.

The Salon.com article covering Priebus's statements is linked below.

Salon.com: GOP Chairman States Republican Efforts to Court Hispanics Has Been No Good

Politico's Alexander Burns: Emerging Democratic Confidence Due to a Changing America


The Democratic Party

Politico's Alexander Burns examines the increasing confidence of progressive/liberal Democrats that the arc of history is turning in their direction. He notes that this past week the Democrats made progress in four areas:  climate change, same-sex marriage, immigration reform, and a symbolic victory on abortion rights in Texas.

As Burns sees it, the Democrats ten years ago never could have staked their political future on such contentious issues.  But as many progressive and liberals see it, the nation has evolved in more leftward directions.  Burns' column is linked below.

Politico.com's Alexander Burns: The Emergence of Democratic Confidence in a Changing America

Regarding the danger of overconfidence by the Democrats:

"Democratic and progressive leaders shrug at such thinking. In their view, that’s missing a much larger point with bigger and longer-range implications: that the country as a whole has changed, demographically and generationally, to such an extent that their value set is embraced by a national political majority."

----Alexander Burns

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Slate.com's David Weigel: Skepticism About the Republican Need for Hispanic Votes

For many, basic familiarity with American demographic change leads to the simple conclusion that the Republican Party must expand its appeal to minority voters, particularly Latinos. Some Republican strategists, commentators, and elected officials have echoed this conventional wisdom.  Certain strident GOP conservatives, however, have maintained that the Republicans stand to gain very little by altering their message and policy stances.  Most specifically, these conservatives vehemently oppose the immigration bill that was passed this week by the U.S. Senate.

David Weigel, in the column linked below, argues that contrary to conventional wisdom, the GOP might be able to profit off of greater racial polarization, thereby increasing the Republican share of the white vote by margins even greater than the ones they enjoyed in 2012.  A reduction in Black turnout, in turn, could be enough to carry the GOP to victory in presidential elections.

Slate.com's David Weigel: Skepticism About the Republican Need for Hispanic Votes

"Imagine there's no black candidate driving up black turnout, imagine the Hispanic vote splitting the way it does now, but imagine more loyalty from white voters to the GOP—a real trend from 2010 and 2012. Republicans could hold that coalition and win the White House into the 2040s."
                   
---David Weigel

Friday, June 28, 2013

Conservative Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution: Social and Economic Consequences of the Decline of Marriage

In an opinion column for the Brookings Institution, Ron Haskins claims that the profound changes in American family structure are having a negative impact on children.  Haskins further contends that the numerous government programs and policies have not produced the desired results in terms of encouraging marriage.

Haskin's chief complaint is that children are paying much of the price of structural changes in family and the labor force. His column is linked below.

Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution: Consequences of the Decline of Marriage

"Here is a succinct summary: between 1970 and 2010, marriage rates declined by nearly 75 percent for 20 to 24 year old women and more than 30 percent for 30 to 34 year old women; nonmarital births increased by over 280 percent; the percentage of women age 35 who are single with children increased by over 120 percent; and about 60 percent of men and women who marry cohabited prior to their first marriage."  

----Ron Haskins, The Brookings Institution

The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky: Here Come More Rightwing Appeals to Racial Animosity

In The Daily Beast article linked below, Michael Tomasky examines the intra-party Republican civil war on the matter of race, ethnicity, and immigration.

In short, Tomasky warns that the pro-immigration Karl Rove segment of the GOP is greatly in danger of losing on immigration reform, and in contrast, the more anti-immigration Phyllis Schlafly subdivision of the Republican right will continue to race-bait.

Tomasky harshly argues that, for such Republicans, "race baiting is their crack pipe."

Michael Tomasky: The GOP and "Race-Baiting"

"If the House Republicans kill immigration reform, and Republican parties across the South double down to keep blacks from voting, then they really will need to jack up the white vote—and especially the old white vote—in a huge way to be competitive in 2016 and beyond."

----Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast

Please check out the prior blog entries on the Karl Rove versus Phyllis Schlafly perspectives.

Republican Strategist Karl Rove: Solely Increasing the GOP's Share of the White Voting Demographic Will Not Reverse Recent Electoral Losses

As the immigration reform battle in Congress now moves to the House of Representatives, there appears to be a serious rift among conservative Republicans on where to proceed.

One wing of the conservative movement is pro-immigration, those believing that the GOP must become more appealing to the growing U.S. minority population, particularly the Hispanics, a demographic group that makes up around 17% of the U.S. population and is increasingly becoming a more important voting demographic.  In both 2008 and 2012, Barack Obama overwhelmingly carried the Hispanic vote.  In November 2012, for example, despite a sluggish economy and little progress on immigration reform, President Obama still carried around 70% of the Hispanic voting demographic.

Other conservatives contend that a GOP pursuit of a greater share Hispanic votes is a fool's errand, and that Republican candidates should concentrate on maximizing white conservative voter turnout.  Veteran conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly vehemently holds this view. Her sense of things is explored in the prior blog entry.

But Karl Rove, a key political adviser to George W. Bush in the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns, maintains that the Republican Party cannot continue to rely solely on its traditional appeal to white voters.  He explains his views in a Wall Street Journal column linked below.

Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal: Increasing the GOP White Vote is Insufficient to Turn the Tide

CNN.com, Nov 2012: Latino Vote Proved Key in Obama Win

PewHispanic.org: In 2012, Obama Won Hispanic Vote 71% to 27% Over Romney

Prominent Conservative Activist Phyllis Schlafly Denounces Latinos as Potential Republican Voters, Claiming Hispanics Lack Understanding of the Bill of Rights; Schlafly Also Slams Latinos For Out of Wedlock Births, Comparing Hispanic Rates With Black Rates

The Republican Party


Long-time Conservative Activist Phyllis Schlafly recently made incendiary comments about Latinos and their potential for voting Republican.  Speaking on a radio show, Schlafly stated that Latino immigrants hail from nations that do not have expertise in limited government.  She also decried the Latino rate of out of wedlock births.

Schlafly argued that the Republican Party should concentrate of white voters.

Salon.com: Phyllis Schlafly Makes Incendiary Comments About Latinos

RightWingWatch.org: Phyllis Schlafly Denounces Latinos as Potential Republicans

ABCNews.com: Phyllis Schlafly's Call For the GOP to Concentrate on White Voters


“They come from a country where they have no experience with limited government. And the types of rights we have in the Bill of Rights, they don’t understand that at all, you can’t even talk to them about what the Republican principle is.”   
-----Phyllis Schlafly, commenting on Latinos and their potential to be Republican voters

Thursday, June 27, 2013

New York Times Editorial: The Senate Passage of the Immigration Bill and the Matter of the House of Representatives

The New York Times editorial board hails the Senate passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill while acknowledging that its passage in the House of Representatives is very much in doubt.  The Times contends, however, that pressure can be brought upon the House, and that there is reason to maintain hope for a bill that could be passed into law.  The editorial also argues that the immigration bill provides Speaker of the House John Boehner a great chance to achieve something of historical significance.

New York Times Editorial on the Senate Passage of Immigration Reform

"The failure of immigration reform would be a disaster, but it can be avoided if Mr. Boehner gives Republicans and Democrats the chance to vote on comprehensive reform. There is a strong chance that if he does so a good bill could pass."  
         
---New York Times Editorial Board

National Education Report Card: Among 17 Year Olds, Little Change in the Last 40 Years, But Minorities at Various Ages Improved Significantly

In terms of math and reading, American student scores of 17 year olds show little change in comparison 17 year olds of the early 1970s.  Among minority students at various age levels, however, test scores have improved significantly.

The data is based off the scores of 26,000 students in public and private U.S. schools.  The exam was the NAEP, the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Miami Herald: The Nation's Educational Report Card

NationsReportCard.gov: 2012 Results

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Passed by the U.S. Senate, But the Bill Faces Hostile GOP Opposition in the House of Reprsentatives

On Thursday, June 27, 2013, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill by a vote of 68 to 32.  The bill now goes to the House, the Republican-controlled chamber where the bill faces a very uncertain future.

The Atlantic: Immigration Bill Passes the Senate

CNN: U.S. Senate Passes Major Immigration Bill

U.S. Census Bureau Presentation Material For C-SPAN: America's Largest Cities

Linked below are slides used on a C-SPAN show in June 2012.  The topic concerned the largest urban areas in the U.S.

U.S. Census Bureau Presentation Material: Largest Cities in America

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

U.S. Census Bureau Presentation Material For C-SPAN: Hispanic Population

Linked below is a page with slides used by a Census Bureau presenter in discussing the U.S. Hispanic population. The presentation was made in June 2012.

U.S. Census Bureau Presentation Material for C-SPAN: Hispanic Population


The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 Decision, Strikes Down the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996; Also Allows--By a 5 to 4 margin--the Overturning of California's Prop 8 to Stand

On June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued two milestone decisions pertaining to same-sex marriage.

The first decision struck down DOMA (The Defense of Marriage Act of 1996) as a violation of the 5th Amendment.  One of the major provisions of DOMA is that it denied federal benefits to same-sex married couples in states that have such legal marriages.

The second decision, in essence, allowed a lower court's overturning of California's Proposition 8 to stand.  Prop 8 was a 2008 ballot initiative passed by California voters.  It banned same-sex marriage in California.  But the measure was struck down by a court, and the government of the State of California refused to defend Prop 8.  The Supreme Court essentially determined that the defenders of Prop 8 did not have the legal standing to defend the ballot initiative.  As such, Proposition 8 no longer has legal standing in California.  It appears that state-sanctioned same-sex marriages will resume shortly in the most populated state in the U.S.

One of the most basic consequences stemming from the Court's decision on Proposition 8 is that a significantly larger portion of the U.S. population will now be living in an area where same-sex marriage is legal.  California has a population of around 38 million, about 12% of the total U.S. population.

The long-run cultural and political ramifications of these decisions are impossible to predict with great precision, but it stands to reason that certain aspects this deeply divisive issue have been further tilted to the advantage of the proponents of same-sex marriage.

UPDATE:  As the day progressed, the legal ramifications of the Prop 8 decision became a bit more cloudy.  It appears that the State of California will resume the granting of same-sex marriage licenses in about a month.  Some political conservatives indicated, however, that new legal challenges might be made in California.

Time.com: The SCOTUS's Historic Decisions on Same-Sex Marriage

Washington Post: The SCOTUS Strikes Down DOMA

Pacific Standard: Political Racism is Stronger in the South

According to political scientist Seth Masket, Southerners certainly express racist sentiments less overtly than in the past.  He also notes that the South has evolved significantly in the recent pass, and moreover, non-Southern regions of the U.S. are hardly racism-free either.

But Masket contends that, when it comes to using coded language to express hostility--particularly political hostility--towards minorities, Southerners do so in greater numbers.

Examples of such symbolic racist language, according to Masket, would include complaints against immigrants, welfare recipients, food stamps users, etc.

Pacific Standard: Symbolic Racism and Southern Politics

Salon.com: Political Racism in the South

"But even with all that progress and all the movement of people into and out of the region over the past half century, key cultural differences do remain. A future Paula Deen could emerge in the North. But she’s far more likely to emerge in the South." 

----Seth Masket, Pacific Standard 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Nation's Ari Berman on the Gutting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965: "The Worst Voting Rights Decision in a Century"

Ari Berman of The Nation traces the history of conservative challenges to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, an history that began shortly after the passage of the act in August of 1965.  He notes that Chief Justice John Roberts has been a part of that history for around 30 years.  While working in the Justice Department during the Reagan Administration, Roberts sought to weaken the Voting Rights Act at a time in which the law had been on the books only for 17 years or so.

Ari Berman: Comments on the SCOTUS's Decision on the Voting Rights Act of 1965

SCOTUS Guts the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Alabama

In a 5 to 4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a key provision that requires certain states to get federal pre-clearance in order to change any voting-related laws. The Court has held that the criteria used for pre-clearance has become antiquated.

The plaintiff in the case was Shelby County, Alabama.

SCOTUS Guts the Voting Rights Act of 1965

ABC News: Article on the SCOTUS decision on Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Annie E. Casey Foundation: 23% of U.S. Children Were Living in Poverty in 2011

A report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation contends that almost 1 in 4 American children were living in poverty in 2011.  The report notes the increase of poverty in the U.S. Southwest.  In particular, the study claims that New Mexico scored worst in the U.S. in the category of children's "well-being."

Annie E. Casey Foundation: 23% of U.S. Children in Poverty in 2011

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pew Research Hispanic Center: U.S. Residents of Salvadoran Origin in Line to Become the 3rd Largest Hispanic Origin Group, Surpassing Cubans

Flag of El Salvador

According to the Pew Research Hispanic Center, U.S. Hispanics of Salvadoran origin and U.S. Hispanics of Cuban origin each constitute a population of around 1.9 million. In fact, in a recent Pew survey, Salvadorans technically outnumbered Cubans, though by a difference not all that statistically significant.

Significance is found, however, in that U.S. residents of Cuban origin are no longer the definitively third largest American Hispanic group, a distinction held for several decades, per the Pew Research Hispanic Center.

Currently, per Pew, U.S. residents of Mexican origin total approximately 33.5 million, while those of Puerto Rican origin have a population of around 4.9 million.

Pew Research Hispanic Center: Salvadorans Replacing Cubans as 3rd Largest U.S. Hispanic Group?

Brief State Demographic Profiles: Connecticut

Connecticut

This is the 7th installment of demographic profiles of each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.  Some of the Census Bureau data are rounded.




State: Connecticut
Population: 3.6 million
Population growth from 2010 to 2012:  <1%

Population under 18 years of age: 22.4%
Population 65 years of age and older: 14.4%

Racial-Ethnic Composition
White, Non-Hispanic: 70.9%
Hispanic:  13.8%
Black: 11.1%
Asian: 4.0%
Native American: <1%
Multiracial: 2.0%

Median Household Income:  $69,200
Percentage of Population in Poverty: 9.5%

Persons per square mile: 738 

-------------
Source: The U.S. Census Bureau (2010-2012 data),   www.quickfacts.census.gov

The Supremes Make a Modest Ruling on Affirmative Action in Fisher v. University of Texas

In a much anticipated ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court regarding affirmative action, the high court, in Fisher v. University of Texas did not strike down affirmative action policies that consider race in admissions criteria.  But the SCOTUS did not make a sweeping ruling either in favor of affirmative action or against it.  In fact, the court sent the case back to a lower court insisting that the appeals court demand a more specific justification for race-based considerations in University of Texas admissions criteria.

As the younger population of the United States continues to diversify racially and ethnically, the issue of diversity and higher education is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

Politico.com: The SCOTUS's Mild Ruling on Affirmative Action

NBC News: Fisher v. University of Texas

Huffingtonpost.com: Fisher v. University of Texas SCOTUS ruling

Sunday, June 23, 2013

European Demographics: Portugal's Declining Birth Rate

Portugal

The Washington Post examines Portugal's birth dearth, a decline of 14% form 2008 to 2012.

The Post notes that the Portuguese decline coincides with that of some other European nations, declines which ultimately will threaten the long-term economic health of these nations.

Washington Post: Portugal's Declining Birth Rate

"Portugal is at the forefront of Europe’s latest baby bust, one that is shorting the fuse on a time bomb of social costs in some of the world’s most rapidly aging societies."
---Washington Post

The Atlantic's Molly Ball: A Democratic Revival in the South?

The Democratic Party
Molly Ball of The Atlantic examines the efforts toward and the possibilities of a resurrection of Democratic electoral fortunes in the South.

Ball does not deny that a Democratic renaissance is far less than certain.  But Ball does note that a string of recent Democratic victories at local levels does suggest that the GOP does not have a permanent lock on the electorate.

Ball cites Obama's 2008 and 2012 triumphs in Virginia and Florida, his 2008 North Carolina win and 2012 close call as evidence that Democratic fortunes might be growing in the former Confederacy.

Fueling this potential, of course, are the changing demographics of the region.  A growing Hispanic share of the Southern population, along with an influx African-Americans returning to the South might allow the Democrats to compete in a state like Georgia in coming election cycles.

The Atlantic's Molly Ball: A Democratic Revival in the South?

"At current rates of growth, Georgia and Mississippi could be majority-minority states within a decade."

----Molly Ball, The Atlantic

The Washington Post's Carlos Lozada on the Issue of Latino Identity

In a Washington Post editorial, Carlos Lozada contends that Latino identity is far from simple, and applicable in select circumstances.

Washington Post's Carlos Lozada on Latino Identity

"This is why the anti-Latino sentiment that has emerged in some quarters of American politics is self-defeating. It fosters unity among the otherwise disparate peoples it targets. It strengthens, even creates, the very identity it seeks to dislodge." 

 ----Carlos Lozada

Brief State Demographic Profiles: Colorado

Colorado

This is the 6th installment of demographic profiles of each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.  Some of the Census Bureau data are rounded.




State: Colorado
Population: 5.2 million
Population growth from 2010 to 2012:  3.1%

Population under 18 years of age:  24%
Population 65 years of age and older:  11.3%

Racial-Ethnic Composition
White, Non-Hispanic: 69.7%
Hispanic: 20.9%
Black: 4.3%
Asian: 2.9%
Native American: 1.6%
Multiracial: 2.7%

Median Household Income: $57,700
Percentage of Population in Poverty: 12.5%

Persons per square mile:  48.5

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Source: The U.S. Census Bureau (2010-2012 data),   www.quickfacts.census.gov

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Charlie Cook of National Journal: The Republican Party Needs to Appeal to Hispanic Voters

The Republican Party
Political analyst Charlie Cook of the National Journal examines the travails of the Republican Party with Latino voters in recent years, along with the political risks conservatives are taking by opposing immigration reform.

 He notes that, as the debate over comprehensive immigration reform heats up, the GOP should be aware of its vexing history with Latino voters, particularly in the wake of California's Proposition 187, a anti-immigrant 1994 ballot initiative championed by Republican Governor Pete Wilson and the political right, an initiative that gave the GOP a short-run victory that launched a long-term demogrpahics-based GOP disaster in California.

Charlie Cook: The GOP Needs to Appeal to Hispanics

"Remember, 50,000 Hispanic citizens reach voting age every month." 
----Charlie Cook

Pew Research Hispanic Center: Survey of 14 Origin Groups Among U.S. Hispanics

In a study published on June 19, 2013, the Pew Research Hispanic Center chronicles the 14 largest origins groups of American Hispanics, a population group of approximately 51.2 million in 2011. Among American Hispanics, nearly 65% are of Mexican origin.  The next largest Hispanic origin group is Puerto Rican at around 9%.  

Source: Pew Research Hispanic Center

The report is linked below:

Pew Hispanic Center: Hispanic Origins Groups

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Brookings Institution Demographer William Frey: U.S. Moving to Majority-Minority at a Faster Rate

Brookings Institution Demographer William Frey contends that the United States is moving toward majority-minority status at a faster rate than anticipated.  Frey notes that 13 states and the District of Columbia already are majority-minority in the under 5 years of age population. The 14 are:

Hawaii
New Mexico
California
District of Columbia
Texas
Nevada
Arizona
Maryland
Florida
Georgia
New Jersey
New York
Mississippi
Delaware

It is noteworthy that the four most populated states, California, Texas, New York, and Florida, are among the 13 states with a majority-minority under-5 population.

Source:  William H. Frey, Brookings Institution

Brookings Institution Demographer William Frey: U.S. Shifting Quickly to Majority-Minority Population

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Political Scientist Ruy Teixeira: Thoughts on Race, Ethnicity, and Identity in an America Moving Toward Majority-Minority

Political Scientist Ruy Teixeira offers thoughts on the recent Census Bureau population estimates, and the lingering issue of Hispanic distinctiveness and identity. His column is linked below.

Think Progress: Race, Ethnicity, Identity and a Majority-Minority America

"The issue therefore is not whether, say, Hispanics in the future will identify as white — most already do — but whether Hispanic ethnicity is going to completely lose its cultural and political significance in the future for large numbers of Hispanics, making them indistinguishable from today’s non-Hispanic, non-multiracial whites. I am skeptical that this will happen very rapidly, but this is the case that skeptics of a majority-minority America have to make."   ----Ruy Teixeira

Brief State Demographic Profiles: California

California



This is the 5th installment of demographic profiles of each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.  Some of the Census Bureau data are rounded.



State: California
Population: 38 million
Population growth from 2010 to 2012:  2.1%

Population under 18 years of age: 24.6%
Population 65 years of age and older: 11.7%

Racial-Ethnic Composition
White, Non-Hispanic: 39.7%
Hispanic: 38.1%
Black: 6.6%
Asian: 13.6%
Native American: 1.7%
Multiracial: 3.6%

Median Household Income: $61,600
Percentage of Population in Poverty: 14.4%

Persons per square mile:  239

-------------
Source: The U.S. Census Bureau (2010-2012 data),   www.quickfacts.census.gov

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Brief State Demographic Profiles: Arkansas

Arkansas 


This is the 4th installment of demographic profiles of each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.  Some of the Census Bureau data are rounded.



State:  Arkansas
Population: 2.95 million
Population growth from 2010 to 2012: 1.1%

Population under 18 years of age:  24.2%
Population 65 years of age and older: 14.6%

Racial-Ethnic Composition
White, Non-Hispanic: 74.2%
Hispanic:  6.6%
Black: 15.6%
Asian: 1.3%
Native American: <1%
Multiracial: 1.8%

Median Household Income: $40,100
Percentage of Population in Poverty: 18.4%

Persons per square mile: 56

-------------
Source: The U.S. Census Bureau (2010-2012 data),   www.quickfacts.census.gov

Brief State Demographic Profiles: Arizona

Arizona

This is the 3rd installment of demographic profiles of each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.  Some of the Census Bureau data are rounded.




State:  Arizona
Population: 6.55 million
Population growth from 2010 to 2012: 2.5%

Population under 18 years of age:  25.1%
Population 65 years of age and older: 14.2%

Racial-Ethnic Composition
White, Non-Hispanic: 57.4%
Hispanic:  30.1%
Black: 4.5%
Asian: 3.0%
Native American: 5.2%
Multiracial: 2.5%

Median Household Income: $50,800
Percentage of Population in Poverty: 16.2%

Persons per square mile: 56.3

-------------
Source: The U.S. Census Bureau (2010-2012 data),   www.quickfacts.census.gov

Brief State Demographic Profiles: Alaska


Alaska

This is the 2nd installment of demographic profiles of each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.  Some of the Census Bureau data are rounded.





State:   Alaska
Population: 710,000
Population growth from 2010 to 2012: 3%

Population under 18 years of age: 26.1%
Population 65 years of age and older: 8.1%

Racial-Ethnic Composition
White, Non-Hispanic: 63.7%
Hispanic: 5.8%
Black: 3.6%
Asian: 5.6%
Native American: 14.9%
Multiracial: 7%

Median Household Income: $69,000
Percentage of population in Poverty: 9.5%

Persons per square mile: 1.2

-------------
Source: The U.S. Census Bureau (2010-2012 data),   www.quickfacts.census.gov

Brief State Demographic Profiles: Alabama

Alabama

This is the first installment of demographic profiles of each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.  Some of the Census Bureau data are rounded.





State:   Alabama
Population: 4.8 million
Population growth from 2010 to 2012: 1%

Population under 18 years of age:  23.5%
Population 65 years of age and older: 14%

Racial-Ethnic Composition
White, Non-Hispanic: 66.6%
Hispanic:  4%
Black: 26.5%
Asian: 1.2%
Native American: <1%
Multiracial: 1.4%

Median Household Income: $42,900
Percentage of Population in Poverty: 17.6%

Persons per square mile: 94.4

-------------
Source: The U.S. Census Bureau (2010-2012 data),   www.quickfacts.census.gov

Monday, June 17, 2013

Opening the Gates: The Immigration Act of 1965

LBJ signing the Immigration Act of 1965 into law

On October 3, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration Act of 1965 into law.  The legislation abolished the national origins quota system, a system that favored European immigration over immigration from Asia, Africa, and other non-European areas. The national origins quota system had been in place since the enactment of the Immigration Act of 1924.  

When first enacted, supporters of the Immigration Act of 1965 saw the new policy largely as a matter of fairness and non-discrimination.  Both Senator Edward Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson, in 1965, greatly underestimated the significance of the law.

In short, the Immigration Act of 1965--also known as the Hart-Cellar Act--opened up the United States to millions of immigrants from all over the world.  The 1965 act, in conjunction with subsequent modifications, facilitated the racial-ethnic  diversification of the American population.  Moreover, the sustained population growth of the United States in the last 40 years has stemmed, in part, from robust immigration.

NPR: The Immigration Act of 1965

The Immigration Act of 1965

Summary of Major U.S. Immigration Laws

Obama's 2008 Victory Rooted in the Immigration Act of 1965

GOP Senator Lindsey Graham: The Republican Party is in a "Demographic Death Spiral"

The Republican Party
Pro-Immigration Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina issued a stern warning to his fellow Republicans: The GOP is in a "demographic death spiral," and if immigration reform fails to pass, it will ensure a Republican defeat in the 2016 Presidential Election.

Washington Post: Lindsey Graham's Warnings to Fellow Republicans

Think Progress: Lindsey Graham and the Republican "Demographic Death Spiral"

 “But if we don’t pass immigration reform, if we don’t get it off the table in a reasonable, practical way, it doesn’t matter who you run in 2016. We’re in a demographic death spiral as a party and the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic community in my view is pass comprehensive immigration reform. If you don’t do that, it really doesn’t matter who we run in my view.” 

 ------U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina

Columnist Cynthia Tucker: The U.S. Should Embrace its Demographic Change

Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Cynthia Tucker argues recent Census Bureau population estimated demonstrate that the America of Norman Rockwell is dead.  She further contends that the American people should embrace the change.

Tucker's column is linked below.

Cynthia Tucker: The U.S. Should Embrace its Changing Demographics

"Just last week, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau confirmed a trend long in evidence: The nation continues, inexorably, to grow darker." ------Cynthia Tucker

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Pew Research Center: About 40% of American Households With Children Have Mothers Who are the Sole or Primary "Breadwinners"

Wendy Wang, Kim Parker, and Paul Taylor have produced a study published by the Pew Research Center (May 2013) in which they conclude that 40% of households with children have mothers who are the sole or primary "breadwinner." In comparison, in 1960, this number was only 11%, thus the "Breadwinner Mom" demographic has nearly quadrupled since the end of the Eisenhower years.

Among the contemporary mothers who are the sole or primary breadwinners, 63% are single moms.  The other 37% are married women who earn more money than their spouses.

This study provides further evidence that family structure and gender roles are evolving dramatically, an evolution with profound economic consequences.

The study is linked below:

Pew Research Center: 40% of American Households With Children Have Breadwinner Moms

The Atlantic: Article by Molly Ball Examines the Still-Powerful Culture War Wing of the GOP

In the wake of Mitt Romney's 2012 defeat, there has been a great deal of speculation and argument as to whether and how the Republican Party can rebound.  Some of the analysis has touched on, in one way or another, a dilemma facing the GOP, a conundrum involving age and culture.

Social conservatives make up a core constituency in the Republican electoral coalition.  This culture war wing of the party is overwhelmingly white and older.  In the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, the GOP tickets easily won the 40 and above age demographic.

But among voters in the 18 to 29 demographic, Obama won handily, and this demographic--an electoral segment noted for its cultural inclusiveness and tolerance--was definitively important in carrying the President to re-election

It appears that the culture war positions and rhetoric of the modern GOP does not appeal very much to younger voters.  Some Republicans insiders, along with some GOP-leaning commentators, have argued that the GOP must evolve or die.

The social conservative activist base seems to have little interest in evolution.  Molly Ball of The Atlantic takes a look at the GOP base.  Her article is linked below:

The Atlantic: Molly Ball Looks at the Social Conservatives and Their Continued Power in the GOP

"The problem is not that evangelicals' political participation or devotion to the GOP is declining. It's that the gap between what they believe and what everyone else does is growing wider." -----Molly Ball, The Atlantic

The American Prospect: Can Demographic Change in the Lone Star State Change its Electoral Politics?


A few years ago, Texas hit a demographic tipping point and became a majority-minority state, a status currently shared with Hawaii, New Mexico, and California. In the past two presidential elections--2008 and 2012--Democrat Barack Obama carried all but Texas.

Of the four most populated states in the U.S.--California, Texas, New York, Florida--Obama twice carried three out of the big four, but came nowhere near to carrying Texas.

Abby Rapoport argues in The American Prospect however, that Texas might be a potential state where the Democratic Party might become competitive.

Her article is linked below.

Abby Rapoport Examines the New Demographics of Texas and Potential Electoral Implications

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The U.S. Births to Deaths Ratios and Quotients, 1990-2010

The graph here illustrates the annual births to deaths ratio for the U.S. population from 1990 to 2010.

In interpreting this graph, it is important to know that a births to death (B/D) quotient of "1" would indicate a situation in which--in a given year--births and deaths were equal.

In 1990, the births to deaths quotient was near 1.95, a situation in which there were almost 2 births in the U.S. for every death in the U.S. In 2011, however, the births to deaths ratio had fallen.  The 2011 births to deaths quotient was under 1.6.

Pew Research Center: The Factors Behind the Natural Decrease Among Whites from Mid-2011 to Mid-2012

Pew Research Center writer D'Vera Cohn offers a nice summary of the major reasons behind the natural decline of the non-Hispanic white population from mid-2011 to mid-2012.

See the below-linked article by D'Vera Cohn of the Pew Research Center:

Pew Research Center: Why White Deaths Exceeded White Births

The Closing of the Gates: The Immigration Act of 1924


President Coolidge signs the Immigration Act of 1924


On May 26, 1924President Calvin Coolidge (Republican) signed the Immigration Act of 1924 into law, legislation that greatly restricted immigration into the United States, particularly Non-European immigration outside the Western Hemisphere. Also known as the Johnson-Reed Act, the law restricted the number of immigrants, and from where immigrants could come.   

In particular, the 1924 law restricted immigrants by national origin in accordance to a strict formula. The formula mandated that annual immigration from a given country could not exceed 2% of the number of American residents whose national origins were that given given country in 1890. The national origins quotas ensured that most immigrants would be from the British Isles, and the western, northern, and central parts of Europe.

By 1929, the overall limit of quota immigrants was set at 150,000 per year. The number of quota immigrants from a given country was set in proportion that country's national origin share per the 1920 Census.

The Immigration Act of 1924, with only some modification, became the law that governed U.S immigration until 1960s when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration Act of 1965, thus abolishing the national origins quotas.

Immigration Quotas after the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924


Friday, June 14, 2013

Further Thoughts on Yesterday's Census Bureau Population Estimates

On June 13, 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau released American population estimates for the year running from mid-2011 to mid-2012.

For the most part, there were two major headlines that emerged from the release of this data.  The first was that the child population under 5 years of age is nearing minority-majority status.  Per the Census Bureau, the under-5 child population stood at 49.9% minority by mid-2012.

During this year or next, the under-5 U.S. population will likely reach the tipping point and become minority-majority. 

The other headline-making information was the data showing that, from mid-2011 to mid-2012, the non-Hispanic white population experienced natural decline, a situation in which, among non-Hispanic whites, deaths exceeded births.  According to the Census Bureau, in the year that ended in mid-2012, there were around 12,000 more non-Hispanic white deaths than births.

The non-Hispanic white population did not shrink overall during that year, however.  Due to immigration, the addition of non-Hispanic white immigrants provided a slight uptick in the total non-Hispanic white population.

But a year of natural decline in the total non-Hispanic white population should be understood as a significant milestone in the American journey, particularly the story of the peopling of the United States.

Regarding the matter of natural decline, however, it is important to remember that, in the overall U.S. population, births still exceed deaths by a significant margin, thanks to racial and ethnic minorities.

The chart above illustrates how, for over 20 years, annual U.S. deaths have run exceeded 2 million while annual U.S. births have exceeded 3.8 million each year.  More specifically, in 2011, around 2.5 million people died in America, the vast majority being non-Hispanic whites.  But in 2011, despite falling birth rates, there were 3.9 million births, an excess of births over deaths greater than 50%.  In 2011, around half of the children born in the U.S. were members of one or more minority groups.

America's continuing and fairly robust natural increase is predicated of the natural increases among minorities.  American diversity, fueled significantly by 40 years of increased immigration, now resides at the core of American home-grown population growth.

Christian Science Monitor Editorial: The New American "We"


The U.S. General Fertility Rate, 1980-2010

The  graph above illustrates the variations in the U.S. general fertility rate (GFR) from 1980 to 2010.

It is likely that the recent downturn in  the American GFR has been heavily driven by the economic upheaval that hit in 2008.  The recovery from the Great Recession has been slow, and the decline of the overall U.S. fertility  rate coincided with it.

From 2002 through 2007, the general fertility rate rate climbed steadily, peaking at 69.3 live births per 1000 women, ages 15-44.  In 2010, however, the GFR had declined to 64.1.  Preliminary data suggests that, for both 2011 and 2012, the U.S. GFR had slipped to 63.2.   But perhaps as significantly, if these numbers hold up to revision, it might be the case that the U.S. general fertility rate has stabilized.

Demography Vocab Term: "Total Fertility Rate"



Total Fertility Rate: A statistical scenario indicating how many live babies a woman would give birth to over the span of her reproductive years, a mathematical possibility based on the current age-specific fertility rates remaining constant throughout the course of a woman’s fertile years. 

The calculation of the total fertility rate is a bit more complex than the formulas for the crude birth rate and the basic fertility rate. As such, the method for finding the TFR (total fertility rate) will be shown elsewhere. 

But at this juncture it is important to note that when the TFR is higher than 2.0 (the possible number of children born to the average woman), the replacement rate either has been achieved, or perhaps has been achieved (depending on other factors like death rates, etc. in a territory). 

In the United States, the replacement rate has been determined to be around 2.1, with the .1 being added for a variety of reasons like sex ratios and death rates. In some parts of the world, due to higher death rates, etc., the replacement rate is significantly higher than 2.1.

The TFR is a complicated statistical concept indicating a mathematical possibility, not an actual event. Think of the replacement rate as the sufficient level of births that could, in essence, replace the prior parenting generation that produced the children. 

Jeb Bush, a Pro-mmigration Republican, Declares That "Immigrants are More Fertile"


The Republican Party

At the Faith and Freedom conference in Washington, D.C.--a gathering of social conservatives--potential 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush praised immigrants as a positive force in American life.

During his address, Bush (a younger brother of former President George W. Bush) noted that "immigrants are more fertile."  Bush's comments, probably a clumsy choice of words, incited a controversy on Friday nonetheless.

Jeb Bush's Comments on Immigrants as a Positive Force in the United States

Politico.com: Jeb Bush's Comments About the Fertility of Immigrants

National Journal: Jeb Bush and "more fertile" immigrants

Washington Post: Jeb Bush's Comments on Immigrant Qualities

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The American Prospect Considers the Role of Southern Demographic Change and its Impact on Politics in Dixie

While Southern demographic change is not the sole focus of the piece, the below-linked American Prospect article by Bob Moser does credit changes in the make-up of the Southern population as a major factor in driving political change in the former Confederate states.

The American Prospect: Whither the Solid South?

Demography Vocab Term: "Fertility Rate"

Fertility Rate: The ratio of all live births in a year (regardless of the age of the mother) to the sum total of all women of ages 15 to 44, the prime childbearing ages. The calculation of the fertility rate is found by dividing the total number of births by the population of women of ages 15 to 44. 

The Atlantic: Hispanics Play Key Role in U.S. Population Growth

In the wake the newest population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau, The Atlantic has posted an article by Jordan Weissmann that examines the key role of Hispanics in sustaining and increasing the U.S. population.

The Atlantic: Hispanics and U.S. Population Growth

Census Bureau: Natural Decrease for Non-Hispanic Whites in the Year Ending in Mid-2012

The U.S. Census Bureau released estimates for the American population as it existed at mid-2012.  Perhaps the most surprising finding is that, among non-Hispanic whites, deaths exceeded births--a phenomenon known as natural decrease. 

NYT: Natural Decrease Among Whites in 2012

AP Story: Nearly Half of American Residents Under 5 are Minorities

Washington Post: Natural Decrease Among Whites

Census Bureau: Population Estimates released on June 13, 2013

U.S. News and World Report: Five Major Findings in the June 2013 Census Report

Slate.com: White Deaths Outnumber White Births, 2011-2012

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Demography Jargon: Terms Related to the Movement of People from Place to Place


Emigration: The physical migration of a person or persons away from a given territory (perhaps a nation, a city, or some other community), and thus exiting the population of that territory 

Immigration: The physical migration of a person or persons into a given territory, and thus joining the population of that territory (perhaps a nation, a city, or some other community) 

Migration: The physical movement of a person or persons either into a given physical territory, or away from a physical territory 

Net Migration: The mathematical difference between immigration and emigration in a given territory in a given period of time (usually a year).  Net Migration can be expressed as: Immigration minus Emigration 

Race and Hispanic Origin: Census 2000 vs. Census 2010

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the United States is well on its way to becoming a nation in which Non-Hispanic whites are no longer a majority of the American population.

Recent Census Bureau projections have this tipping point being reached in the 2040s.

Regardless of the exact year in which this milestone is reached, the United States has already become a much more racially and ethnically diverse country in recent decades, particularly when considering the recent growth of Hispanic and Asian populations in the United States.

In 2000, non-Hispanic whites constituted 69% of the total U.S. population.  Ten years later, in 2010, the non-Hispanic white share had declined to just under 64% of the total American population.

From 2000-2010, the Hispanic and Asian populations increased their respective percentage shares the overall American population.  As an overall percentage share of the U.S. population, Black residents remained relatively unchanged at 12%.  From 2000 to 2010, however, the Hispanic share grew from 13% to 16%.  The Asian share, in turn, grew from 4% to 5%.

Tomorrow (June 13th), the Census Bureau will release estimates of the U.S. population as it was on July 1, 2012.  And while tomorrow's estimates do not constitute a new census (the next official census will be in 2020), they will give us insight into a variety of population trends, including those of race and ethnicity.

December 12, 2012 Article by Hope Yen on Census Bureau Projections

Demography Jargon: "Birth Rate" and "Crude Birth Rate"


Birth RateThe ratio of the number of live births in a given period of time (usually a year) to the number of persons in a given population (the population number being calculated at some point in that year). Most birth rates are expressed in terms of births per 1000 people. 
The birth rate can be found via the following basic equation: (Births divided by Population) x 1000.   It can also be expressed as: (Births/Population) x 1000.

Crude Birth RateThe ratio of the number of live births in a year (usually) to the total population of all males and females in a given population (a nation, state, etc.) per 1000 people. The crude birth rate can be found via the following equation: 
(Births divided by the Total Population) x 1000 = Crude Birth Rate.  

Bear in mind that the total population in calculating the crude birth rate includes both males and females in the total population

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

From Census Year to Census Year: U.S. Population 10-Year Growth Rates, 1900-2010


The federal government is required by the U.S. Constitution to take a  full census of the U.S. population every 10 years.

The first U.S. census was held in 1790, and one has been taken every ten years since then.

The chart at left chronicles the 10-year growth rates of the U.S. population from 1900 to 2010.  The 10-year increments are from census year to census year.

The chart at left shows the variation in these population growth rates from census year to census year.  The most recent census (2010) measured a U.S. population increase of 9.7% (the years 2000-2010), a modest increase compared to most of the other growth rates charted on this graph.

In fact, from 1900 to 2010, only the 1940 Census measured a smaller inter-census population increase than the one measured by the 2010 Census.  Due in large part to the economic deprivation of the  Great Depression, the U.S. population grew only 7.3% from 1930 to 1940.

A Few Basic Terms Used in Demography

Over the next several days, I will be posting some basic terms associated with demography and demographics.  Here are a few:

Cohort: A group of people having some common feature who are measured in some fashion over a period of time 

Demographics: The statistical data derived from measuring human populations 

Demography: The study and measurement of human populations through statistics 

PopulationThe total sum of persons in a given group. A population can be a wide variety of groups, large and small. 
The largest human population, of course, is the sum total of all human beings who are currently alive. The United States, of course, has a total population, as does Baldwin County, Alabama. All American women from ages 15 to 44 make up another population. If fact, we consider these women to be a population in its prime childbearing years.

Population ChangeThe net amount of positive or negative change, in a given amount of time (often a year), to a given population. Population change can be either population growth (positive change) or population decline (negative change). 
As an equation, population change can be expressed as:
(Births –Deaths) + (Immigration –Emigration) = Population Change. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Census Bureau to Release New U.S. Population Estimates


This Thursday--June 13th--the U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to announce its estimates for the American population as it stood on July 1, 2012.  In addition to population totals, the Census Bureau will report its totals for individual states and counties.

National, state, and county totals for race, Hispanic origin, age, and sex will also be reported by the Census Bureau.

Census Bureau to release new population estimates on June 13, 2013

Sunday, June 9, 2013

CDC: Approximately 3,958,000 U.S. Births in 2012

According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were approximately 3,958,000 live births in the United States in 2012.  These initial 2012 numbers from the CDC are "provisional," and subject to change.

The number of U.S. births in 2012 are quite similar to the 2011 totals.  The current CDC total (subject to revision as well) of U.S. births for 2011 is 3,953,593.

In both 2011 and 2012, total annual births in the United States declined by approximately 9% relative to the pre-recession year of 2007, a year in which 4,316,233 babies were born.

In 2007, the U.S. fertility rate was 69.3 births per 1000 women ages 15-44.  According to the CDC, the U.S. fertility rate was 63.2 in both 2011 and 2012.

While both the birth rate and total births provisional numbers for 2012 are well below the final numbers for 2007, these initial 2012 numbers suggest that the so-called Baby Bust has slowed dramatically and leveled off.

The CDC report is linked below.

CDC: Approximate Total of U.S. Births for 2012

U.S. Population Growth: 1900-2010

The graph below chronicles the growth of the U.S. population, per the census totals from 1900 to 2010.


Please note: The populations are noted in millions.  The U.S. population in 1970 was approximately 203 million, for example.

The Census Bureau's Online Population Clock


The U.S. Census Bureau recently posted a population clock containing separate estimates of the world population and the U.S. population.  The page is linked below.

U.S. Census Bureau Population Clock

My Goals for this Blog


Welcome to Demographics and America. 

This blog is designed to promote a better understanding and appreciation of American demographic change, particularly the dynamics of a changing population--its features, structures, behaviors--and its corresponding connection to American social, political, and economic life.

Simply put, twenty-first century America is undergoing dramatic--and arguably unprecedented--demographic change.

We are rapidly becoming a more racially and ethnically diverse nation, particularly among our younger population.  At the same time, we are experiencing a significant population increase among elderly Americans, a consequence of aging Baby Boomers (i.e. those born from c.1946  to c.1964) and overall rising life expectancies. 

And even as the United States is experiencing unprecedented racial-ethnic diversification among its young population, the American birth rate has fallen significantly over the last forty years. 

The long-term decline in the American birth rate has, in turn, coincided with robust levels of immigration for forty years or so, a phenomenon that--in addition to off-setting the consequences of declines in the American birth rate--has enhanced the pace of racial-ethnic diversification.

Diversity and age structure, however, are not the only significant recent changes in American life that are related to demographics.  Internal migrations of American residents to sunbelt states remain important factors in the development of American economic, cultural, and political life.  So too is the evolution of residential patterns in which Americans are significantly less rural, and increasingly urban and suburban.

Family structure and gender roles, moreover, are very much in a state of flux in contemporary American life.  Women are increasingly prominent in higher education. Marriage rates are down.  Female-headed households are on the rise. Similarly, women are continuing to assume wider and more prominent roles in the American workforce.

In short, American demographic change in the twenty-first century is both dramatic and complex. It's also a phenomenon well worth studying.

One of my major goals for this site is to provide timely updates to demographics-related news and reports.  To put it another way, I hope to alert the visitor to sites and sources that can better inform us all about changing demographics in a changing America.

My other major goal is to offer--from time to time--my own views and insights. I hope the visitor will find these musings to be valid and helpful.

For the record, though, I am not a trained demographer, nor am I a statistician.  My take on American demographics is overwhelmingly derivative from the meticulous work of others. 

My academic background is in history.  I hold a Master of Arts in History from the University of Alabama, and have taught high school history since 1997.  As such, I am inclined to study and to explain contemporary demographic change in the stream of the larger American story.  Hopefully, my historically-oriented outlook will help to make this site more valuable to all who visit.  In a sense, I hope to help tell a story that is not easily told.

Also, I assume that visitors to this site will vary greatly in terms of knowledge and expertise about the discipline of demography. That being the case, some of my posts will be oriented around the basics methods of demography, and similarly, rudimentary demographic data.  Other posts, however, will be oriented towards those with a prior interest and knowledge of the topics.  I hope to achieve a helpful balance.

Lastly, I am new to the blogging world.  As time goes by, I am sure that I will make many changes to how I manage this site. Hopefully any and all alterations will be for the better.

I hope you enjoy this blog.

Sincerely,

Mark Leavins
Bay Minette, Alabama