Analysis: What the Census results tell us about the future US electorate

  
Via:  Nerm_L  •  4 months ago  •  33 comments

By:   Harry Enten (CNN)

Analysis: What the Census results tell us about the future US electorate
The United States is a country that is diversifying and getting older, as the population continues to shift more into metropolitan areas.

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If the United States is diversifying then why is the country's politics controlled by only two political parties dominated by non-Hispanic whites?  The analysis presented by CNN is rather perplexing.

You'd think new political parties would emerge as the minority population increases and the non-Hispanic white population decreases.  You'd think political analysis of the influence of demographic changes would focus attention on the electorate drifting away from the two white dominated political parties.  The two political parties represent 150 to 200 years of white dominated politics.  White dominated politics doesn't seem to reflect the increasing diversity of the United States.  

The strangeness of increasing diversity continuing to support the two white dominated political parties would, at least superficially, appear to be validation for the American ideals and culture created by a dominant white population.  The numbers don't lie.  The political analysis indicates that an increasingly diverse population want to keep the Republican Party and the Democratic Party; in spite of the history of white dominance of both parties.  

The puzzling state of politics should not be judged as a diverse population desiring to become white.  That would be a nonsensical conclusion.  But it's not farfetched to assess the state of politics under increasing diversity as a desire to become more American.  And the two political parties represent a symbolic embodiment of American ideals and culture. 

American ideals and culture transcend demographics and diversity.


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



More 2020 Census results are in, and it's clear that the trends we have been seeing over the last few decades show no signs of slowing down. You might say that we've crossed a tipping point of sorts that may have major political implications moving forward.

The United States is a country that is diversifying and getting older, as the population continues to shift more into metropolitan areas.

White non-Hispanic Americans now make up less than 60% of the population. About 57% if you count Puerto Rico or a little less than 58% not counting it. The latter is down from about 64% after the 2010 Census. It's also down from the 69% recorded at the 2000 Census.

The share of the population becoming less White non-Hispanic is not just something that is happening in one state. It's happening across most of the country. In fact, there is just one state (Maine) in which 90% or more of the population is White Non-Hispanic.

Indeed, there are now six states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico where non-Hispanic Whites make up less than 50% of the population. This includes California, the country's most populated state, where Hispanics are now the plurality at 39%.

The shift toward White non-Hispanics making up a lower share of the population is not a surprise. What was unexpected was the rate at which it occurred. The 2019 population estimate, for example, had White Non-Hispanics making up 60% of the population.

The fact that White non-Hispanics made up an even lower share than expected defied a lot of people's expectations. There was a belief that Hispanics would potentially come in under previous estimates (in part because of Donald Trump's administration failed attempt to add a citizenship question), not non-White Hispanics.

Instead, Hispanics are up 20% of the country's population including Puerto Rico and 19% not including it. Hispanics were just 13% of Americans in 2000.

In terms of how this may affect politics, the trendline and implication are clear. Winning candidates will have one of two options in the future.

They'll either need to rely on more diverse coalitions than they have been used to in previous years, or they'll need to run up the score with White voters. Donald Trump did the latter in 2016, but actually gained among people of color in 2020.

In other words, you might expect that this diversity trend would be helpful to Democrats, but there's no guarantee of that.

A countervailing force that could hurt Democrats going forward is that older groups are becoming a larger share of the population.

Adults (18 or over) now make up 78% of all Americans. Children (those under the age of 18) are just 22%. Last Census, adults were 76% of Americans. In 2000, they were 74%.

The graying of this country is happening at the same time that the country's population is growing at a slowing pace. The population grew by 7% this past decade. That's the slowest growth since the Great Depression. It's a marked downturn from the 13% growth two decades ago and 9% a decade ago.

We saw the last two men to become president rely on older voters to win their primaries. Winning candidates in the future would be well advised to understand that the power in the electorate will increasingly come from older voters.

These older voters and younger voters as well will be concentrated in fewer places than they used to be. Per the Census, 52% of the country's counties have a lower population now than in 2010.

Places that had a lot of people or were gaining people continue to do so.

On the larger trendline, 312 of the nation's 386 metropolitan areas have a larger population than they did at the beginning of the last decade. Many of the places who saw population upswings were in the diversifying South and West, as they were during the last Census.

We see that Democrats are increasingly competitive in those places, as President Joe Biden becoming the first Democrat to win Arizona and Georgia on the presidential level since the 1990s illustrates.

We may soon find that the battlegrounds fought over in our elections are not Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Rather, they'll be the Arizonas and Georgias of the world.

Of course, there were places that perhaps don't fit so neatly into the picture.

The Northeast's New York City, which suffered greatly during the coronavirus pandemic over which much of the Census counting took place, continues to be the largest city in the country. At 8.8 million, it is recorded as being the most populated an American city has ever been.

New York just goes to prove that not every expectation is always met.


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Nerm_L
Masters Principal
1  seeder  Nerm_L    4 months ago

Continued support for the Republican Party and Democratic Party while diversity increases is an endorsement of American ideals and culture.  The two parties represent a symbolic embodiment of American ideals and culture.

Attacking American ideals and culture remains a losing proposition in American politics.  Increasing diversity is not threatening those American ideals and culture; diversity is embracing American ideals and culture.  America may be becoming less white but America remains distinctly American.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  Nerm_L @1    4 months ago
America may be becoming less white but America remains distinctly American.

Let us hope that future generations can somehow emulate what was once known as "American exceptionalism."

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
1.1.1  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1    4 months ago
Let us hope that future generations can somehow emulate what was once known as "American exceptionalism."

American exceptionalism has been defined by ideals and a distinctly American culture.  Pundits and think tank political peddlers have mistakenly confused American culture with habits, customs, and traditions.  But the United States has encompassed a broad diversity of habits, customs, and traditions throughout most of the country's history.  The United States has never been a homogeneous population with uniform and inflexible customs and traditions.

The political analysis in the seed really suggests that American exceptionalism is not being threatened by changing demographics.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
Professor Participates
1.1.2  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1    4 months ago
Let us hope that future generations can somehow emulate what was once known as "American exceptionalism."

Would that be the "American 'accept'ionalism" of the 1950's and the post WWII boom in manufacturing, access to higher education, technology, suburban housing, GI bill benefits, low interest loans and high end job training programs that benefited everyone... accept minorities and people of color? Seems like a great time to be alive in America, unless you're on the wet end of the fire hose or biting police dog keeping your or your child away from the whites only schools, voting booths and whites only workplaces and restaurants. Ah yes, the American 'accept'ionalism so many MAGA heads wish they could go back to.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1.3  Vic Eldred  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @1.1.2    4 months ago
Seems like a great time to be alive in America, unless you're on the wet end of the fire hose or biting police dog keeping your or your child away from the whites only schools, voting booths and whites only workplaces and restaurants.

There are people who say that the majority of the population enjoying the benefits of a civilization's high point is not enough - all must share in it! I know some good people who believe that. I really don't know how I feel about that.

American exceptionalism is thus defined by the "New World Encyclopedia" :  has been historically referred to as the belief that the  United States  differs qualitatively from other developed nations because of its national credo, historical evolution, or distinctive political and religious institutions. 



It's kind of like being first in technology, medicine, public safety etc. The very things that immigrants believed differentiated America from the old country. You do know that all our institutions are in decline, right?

I don't know what the future will bring, but one thing I'm sure of - America has already seen it's best days.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1.4  Vic Eldred  replied to  Nerm_L @1.1.1    4 months ago

A few years ago I met someone from South Africa. He was partially happy about the changes his country went through, but he was quick to add "Damn it, nothing works right over there anymore!"

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.1.5  JohnRussell  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1.4    4 months ago

they must need more white people

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.1.6  JohnRussell  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1.3    4 months ago
There are people who say that the majority of the population enjoying the benefits of a civilization's high point is not enough - all must share in it! I know some good people who believe that. I really don't know how I feel about that.

Majority = white

Minority = non white

thats about the size of it, eh? 

 
 
 
Hallux
Sophomore Principal
1.1.7  Hallux  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1.3    4 months ago

I had no idea you were a Mooner.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1.8  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.6    4 months ago

No not quite, there were many black Americans that also shared in the prosperity of the splendid decade. Many found jobs in northern cities, like Chicago and Detroit.

I can't really think of any civilization, which at it's high point, had every member of the population share in the wealth. But for the most part, those who survived the Great Depression and WWII reaped the blessings of that great post war period.


 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1.9  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.5    4 months ago
they must need more white people

Don't know. He happened to be a black South African.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
1.1.10  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @1.1.2    4 months ago
Would that be the "American 'accept'ionalism" of the 1950's and the post WWII boom in manufacturing, access to higher education, technology, suburban housing, GI bill benefits, low interest loans and high end job training programs that benefited everyone... accept minorities and people of color? Seems like a great time to be alive in America, unless you're on the wet end of the fire hose or biting police dog keeping your or your child away from the whites only schools, voting booths and whites only workplaces and restaurants. Ah yes, the American 'accept'ionalism so many MAGA heads wish they could go back to.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act was a culmination of post-WWII civil rights efforts.  Desegregation and an end to Jim Crow was led by a President from Missouri, a President from Kansas, and a President from Texas.  Highbrow coastal sophisticates weren't leading the civil rights efforts of the 1950s.  The fight for civil rights was in fly-over country.

Since civil rights sprang from the heartland, coastal liberal sophisticates ignore, dismiss, and disparage what was accomplished in the 1950s.  Coastal liberals have contributed little to civil rights beyond sniping from the peanut gallery.

Coastal liberals don't understand American exceptionalism because they only fly over it.  

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.1.11  JohnRussell  replied to  Nerm_L @1.1.10    4 months ago
Desegregation and an end to Jim Crow was led by a President from Missouri, a President from Kansas, and a President from Texas. 

Utter nonsense. The Civil Rights Movement developed after Negro servicemen came home after fighting for their country in WW2 only to find they still couldnt eat at lunch counters, send their kids to better schools, or buy houses where they wanted, and were forced to sit in the back of the bus and drink out of separate water fountains. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.1.12  JohnRussell  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1.8    4 months ago
the splendid decade.

The "splendid decade" was almost entirely a period of widespread racial discrimination. Your conclusion is that 

for the most part, those who survived the Great Depression and WWII reaped the blessings of that great post war period.
 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.1.13  JohnRussell  replied to  Hallux @1.1.7    4 months ago
for the most part, those who survived the Great Depression and WWII reaped the blessings of that great post war period.

[Deleted] are the reason there has to be a CRT and a 1619 Project. 

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.14  devangelical  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.13    4 months ago

meh, the next 5-10 years will take out the majority of racists left, if the US can hang on that long.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
1.1.15  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.11    4 months ago
Utter nonsense. The Civil Rights Movement developed after Negro servicemen came home after fighting for their country in WW2 only to find they still couldnt eat at lunch counters, send their kids to better schools, or buy houses where they wanted, and were forced to sit in the back of the bus and drink out of separate water fountains. 

Yep, liberal sophisticates believe civil rights efforts only needed guilt trips and finger wagging.  But those same liberal sophisticates ignore that the fight for civil rights was in the flyover country of the heartland.

If the Presidents from Missouri, Kansas, and Texas were so unimportant to civil rights then why do coastal liberals expend so much effort  influencing Presidential elections? 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.1.16  JohnRussell  replied to  Nerm_L @1.1.15    4 months ago

Truman, Eisenhower and Johnson didnt lead the civil rights movement , they responded to public pressure. 

What happened to Kennedy? He didnt fit your preconception?

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
1.1.17  Dulay  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1.8    4 months ago
No not quite, there were many black Americans that also shared in the prosperity of the splendid decade.

Are you positing that the 1950's was 'the spendid decade' in this country Vic? 

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
1.1.18  Dulay  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.11    4 months ago

In the mid-90's my AA girlfriend and I moved in with her dad because his health was failing. He served in Europe and the Philipines during WWII gaining the rank of Sergeant. When he came 'home' to Montgomery Alabama, while still in uniform, he walked into a store to buy a pack of cigarettes. A young white boy was behind the counter and said to him: 'What do you want boy'. He told me that was the moment when he knew he had to get the hell out of the south. He also told me that neither he or any of his buddies received any benefits from the GI Bill. 

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
1.1.19  Jack_TX  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.16    4 months ago
Truman, Eisenhower and Johnson didnt lead the civil rights movement , they responded to public pressure.

So did Kennedy and Johnson.

LBJ especially was a raving racist who simply capitalized on political opportunity.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.1.20  JBB  replied to  Jack_TX @1.1.19    4 months ago

And, Nixon made Archie Bunker sound tame...

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.21  Kavika   replied to  Nerm_L @1.1.10    4 months ago

I believe you're from Minnesota, Nerm..Here is the reality of that time period and later in MN. 

My dad came home from WWII with a purple heart and two clusters along side of a silver star. He could not buy a home in northern MN. And why was that you ask, he was Indian, Nerm. And that was the experience of most Indians and all of my relatives there.

When I came from a tour in Vietnam in 1965 I was refused service at a diner in Devils Lake ND and again in Bemidji. 

In 1968 American Indian Movement was formed in Minneapolis because of the bigotry and police brutality.

That was/is the reality of what you refer to as fly-over county. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1.22  Vic Eldred  replied to  Dulay @1.1.17    4 months ago

I'm glad you got it.

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
1.1.23  Dulay  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1.22    4 months ago
I'm glad you got it.

Yes, I get that you want to go back to before Brown v Board of Education and all those  pesky 'civil rights' laws were passed. You yearn for the days when women and POC were 'in their place'...

Modernity is hell, ain't it Vic? 

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
1.1.24  Jack_TX  replied to  JBB @1.1.20    4 months ago
And, Nixon made Archie Bunker sound tame...

True. 

Frankly, Nixon and LBJ almost made Trump look tame.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2  JBB    4 months ago

America is getting grayer, gayer and a lot browner and that is just the way it is...

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
2.1  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  JBB @2    4 months ago
America is getting grayer, gayer and a lot browner and that is just the way it is...

And America is remaining distinctly American.  Increasing diversity has not abandoned American ideals and culture.

That's why the Republican Party and Democratic Party remain the only two parties in American politics.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
PhD Guide
2.1.1  Thrawn 31  replied to  Nerm_L @2.1    4 months ago

That is what I have always found to be so odd. When people say "our culture" in the US, what exactly are they talking about? What exactly is "American Culture"? I have yet to have anyone define it in a way that is more that just "blue jeans and rock and roll".

Really though, what is "our culture"? 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
2.1.2  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  Thrawn 31 @2.1.1    4 months ago
That is what I have always found to be so odd. When people say "our culture" in the US, what exactly are they talking about? What exactly is "American Culture"? I have yet to have anyone define it in a way that is more that just "blue jeans and rock and roll". Really though, what is "our culture"? 

People tend to confuse American culture with habits, customs, and traditions which are in constant flux.  The United States spans a continent and has included a wide variety of regional habits, customs, and traditions throughout most of the country's history.

One striking characteristic of American culture is an obdurate independence.  That obdurate independence is markedly apparent in our politics where anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment rhetoric appeals to the electorate.  A political outsider attracts attention and popular support in American politics.  Americans abroad are described as pushy, arrogant, and socially incorrigible which is just another way of saying that Americans are too damned independent. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1.3  JohnRussell  replied to  Thrawn 31 @2.1.1    4 months ago

I always thought being an American meant fair play, and standing up for the underdog. I must have watched too many Frank Capra movies. 

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
2.1.4  Dulay  replied to  Nerm_L @2.1.2    4 months ago
Americans abroad are described as pushy, arrogant, and socially incorrigible which is just another way of saying that Americans are too damned independent. 

Actually it's a way of saying that Americans are uncooth and disrespectful, which has nothing to do with independance. 

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
PhD Guide
3  Thrawn 31    4 months ago
You'd think new political parties would emerge as the minority population increases and the non-Hispanic white population decreases.  You'd think political analysis of the influence of demographic changes would focus attention on the electorate drifting away from the two white dominated political parties.  The two political parties represent 150 to 200 years of white dominated politics.  White dominated politics doesn't seem to reflect the increasing diversity of the United States.  

Asked and answered? Politics is where the money is, and the money is still very clearly in one area. 

 
 
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