May 22, 2013 | Volume 100 / Number 21

The Times Are Changing

On May 15, 2013, the headline for a news release from the United States Census Bureau stated, “International Migration is Projected to Become the Primary Driver of U.S. Population Growth for First Time in Nearly Two Centuries.”

To understand what that means in English, one must first determine how population growth is calculated by the calculators who calculate these things. It's very simple, really. They take the number of births against the number of deaths recorded yearly. They call that “natural increase.”

But then the Census Bureau has to take into account how many immigrants were granted admission into the U.S. and how many immigrants “de-immigrated” back to their home country.

Natural increase is usually in the 3 percent to 5 percent yearly increase in population. The Census Bureau can sorta keep tabs on how many legal immigrants enter or leave the country, but they cannot possible track all the illegal migration to and from.

“Our nation has had higher immigration rates in the past, particularly during the great waves of the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” said Thomas Mesenbourg, the bureau's senior adviser. “This projected milestone reflects the mix of our nation's declining fertility rates, the aging of the baby boomer population and continued immigration.”

Compilations for the projected increases in migration to the U.S. are broken out by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin. You say, “Wait a minute. Isn't Hispanic a race?” Well, not according to the U.S. government. It says “Hispanic origin and race are two separate and distinct concepts.” One of the questions on the 2000 Census asks the respondents to report the race or races that “they consider themselves to be.” Seems Hispanics can be of any race. Go figure!

The 2012 projection showed annual levels of net international migration will increase from 725,000 to 1.2 million by 2060.

The projection also shows the U.S. will have a population of 400 million by 2044. One study says by 2060 it will be nearly 450 million people. The study also projects that “the U.S. resident population will become Majority-Minority by the year 2041.” What these folks are saying, again in understandable English, is that by 2041, less than 50 percent of the population will be non-Hispanic single-race white. Yikes!

That puts a whole 'nother face on the United States as we know it.

Never in the annals of recorded history have even two peoples of “mildly'”divergent cultures been able to co-exist more or less peacefully inside a common boundary. (OK, please tell me where. I would love to be in error on that point. But I'm not.)

How can the United States survive with at least 20 “wildly” divergent and 100 “mildly” divergent cultures and religions trying (or not trying) to get along peacefully within our borders?

Some of the larger schools in New Mexico, California, Texas and Arizona have already reached the point of Majority-Minority. The population under the age of 18 is projected to become Majority-Minority by the year 2018, which is ... do the math ... just five years in the future.

Hey, don't get mad at me. I gleaned most of this information directly from the United Stated Census Bureau's press report of May 15, 2013. Some have been direct quotes and some I have read between the lines and paraphrased so the normal person could understand.

I traveled cross country, border to border, ocean to ocean, driving a semi, hauling things people wanted. I have seen the “elephant.” I saw the poverty in the large cities. I witnessed Watts after the violence. I've seen interracial road rage incidents. I have seen discrimination on both sides of the race card.

Most folks here in Valley County who were born and raised in this little corner of Montana and haven't traveled much have been insulated and isolated from the “real world” of mega-populated urban areas. We exist fairly peacefully in our own little world learning about the “other” only by watching the slanted and biased evening news or from the “always reliable Internet!”

But, to quote one of the greatest songsters of my time, “the times, they are a-changin'.”

That's it for now folks. Thanks for listening.

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