The United States is becoming more diverse than ever, and we should embrace this diversity -- not recoil from it.
Children are leading this wave of diversity. "New minorities -- Hispanics, Asians, and other groups apart from whites, blacks and American Indians -- account for all of the growth among the nation's child population," according to a new report from the Brookings Institution. "From 2000 to 2010, the population of white children nationwide declined by 4.3 million, while the population of Hispanic and Asian children grew by 5.5 million."
Latino youth populations increased in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and all metropolitan areas except for Los Angeles. Already, in 10 states and 35 metropolitan areas -- such as Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York and Phoenix -- a minority of the children are now white. By 2020, that will be true of the entire nation, the report predicts.
"We are in the midst of a historic transformation that is happening most profoundly in our metros," said William Frey, a Brookings senior fellow and author of the report. "This is going to create major challenges, but it also means we have a clear demographic advantage over competitor nations, if our leaders are wise enough to capitalize on it."
America has reached a crossroads. We can choose to take advantage of these demographics and maximize educational and economic opportunities for all, or we can let demagogues divide us for their narrow partisan purposes.
Our diversity strengthens the nation. We are facing increased global competition, and we're lucky to have so many children who are fluent in other languages and well versed in other cultures.
"Out of many, one." Long the motto of this nation, it was never truer than it is today.
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