New race: Next man in White House could well be a Hispanic
If it took 143 years after the Congress abolished slavery for Barack Obama to reach the White House, the journey from here on for another non-white aspirant to high office may happen a lot sooner as a demographic upheaval transforms the American landscape.
The emerging race map of US is clearly indicating a decline in the dominance of the white vote and though it would stretch things to say Caucasians will cease to matter politically, America is turning distinctly less white than it has been. This is slowly giving rise to voting blocks that are proving increasingly decisive in tilting poll results.
The Obama win can overstate the case as blacks and Hispanics, usually not compatible, voted in droves for the Democrat nominee. While this was a rare confluence, it underlined the clout of the non-white vote even though the overall split in white preferences revealed by exit polls shows how Obama trounced the race divide.
The Democratic challenger expectedly mopped up 95% of the black vote but also walked away with 66% of the Hispanic ballot. He also got 63% of the Asian vote. Though much less in number, Asian support only worked to seal an advantage Obama derived from capturing a decisive chunk of the Hispanic vote. And if US census projections are anything to go by, political campaigns will be paying a lot of attention to these groups.
The expanding Hispanic population may well make US parties wary of issues like tough immigration laws. And with illegal migrants, with Mexico contributing the most, estimated at 11.6 million as of January 2006, their numbers are climbing. By 2042, non-Hispanic whites could be less than 50% of the US populace.
The US census bureau revised estimates show "white alone" population at 66.71% by 2050. But if Hispanic whites are excluded, this figure falls to 46.32%. And in 2045 itself, the figure will be 48.52%. All Hispanics will be 30.25% of the population, while Asians will jump from 3.8% in 2000 to 9.24%, black numbers will go up from 12.7% to 14.97%.
In a September report, the bureau said one in five persons speaks Spanish at home in four states. Nationally, 12.3% of the population or 35 million people spoke Espanol at home. On the whole, 19.7% of Americans speak a language other than English at home. There are 3.3 million Chinese-Americans, followed by Filipinos at 2.8 million and Asian-Indians at 2.5 million. Overall the group will more than double by 2050.
After Spanish, Chinese is the second largest non-English language spoken in homes and by 2023, half of America's children will form the "minorities". By 2050, the minority population, except non-Hispanic and single race whites, will stand at 235.7 million of a total of 439 million. The white population will, at 203.3 million, be only slightly larger than what it is in 2008 at 199.8 million. This startling fact points to loss of population in 2030s and 2040s as whites decline from 66% in 2008 to 46% in 2050.
With the Hispanic population likely to triple from 46.7 million to 132.8 million, while Asians reach 40-odd million, it may not be long before the US has a Latino president. The odds are harder for an Indian-American, but given the community's networking skills, a vice-president may not be out of reach.