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Minorities Are Now Majority Of U.S. Births, Census Says

"For the first time, racial and ethnic minorities make up more than half the children born in the U.S," The Associated Press writes.

As USA Today adds, that news from the Census Bureau is "a sign of how swiftly the USA is becoming a nation of younger minorities and older whites."

Census estimates, USA Today says, that:

"Hispanics, blacks, Asians and other minorities in 2011 accounted for 50.4% of births, 49.7% of all children under 5 and slightly more than half of the 4 million kids under 1."

According to Roderick Harrison, a former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau who is now a sociologist at Howard University, "this is an important landmark."

"This generation is growing up much more accustomed to diversity than its elders," he tells the AP.

The New York Times says the shift "has been long expected, but no one was certain when the moment would arrive — signaling a milestone for a nation whose government was founded by white Europeans and has wrestled mightily with issues of race, from the days of slavery, through a civil war, bitter civil rights battles and, most recently, highly charged debates over efforts to restrict immigration."

It adds that "whites still represent the single largest share of all births, at 49.6 percent, and are an overwhelming majority in the population as a whole, at 63.4 percent."

Update at 9:05 a.m. ET. Data Now Online:

Census has now posted its statement about the data here. There, it adds that "the population younger than age 5 was 49.7 percent minority in 2011, up from 49.0 percent in 2010. A population greater than 50 percent minority is considered 'majority-minority.' " Census has put links to several tables with supporting data here.

The bureau also says:

-- "There were 114 million minorities in 2011, or 36.6 percent of the U.S. population. In 2010, it stood at 36.1 percent."

-- "There were five majority-minority states or equivalents in 2011: Hawaii (77.1 percent minority), the District of Columbia (64.7 percent), California (60.3 percent), New Mexico (59.8 percent) and Texas (55.2 percent). No other state had a minority population greater than 46.4 percent of the total."

-- "More than 11 percent (348) of the nation's 3,143 counties were majority-minority as of July 1, 2011, with nine of these counties achieving this status since April 1, 2010. Maverick, Texas, had the largest share (96.8 percent) of its population in minority groups, followed by Webb, Texas (96.4 percent) and Wade Hampton Census Area, Alaska (96.2 percent)."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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