Minority America


Recent news from the Census Bureau that a “minority” majority might be a reality somewhat sooner than expected --- 2042 instead of 2050 --- may lead to many misapprehensions, if not in the media, certainly in the private spaces of Americans.

For some on the multicultural left, there exists the prospect of America firmly tilting towards a kind of third world politics, rejecting much of the country’s historical and constitutional legacy. Some left-leaning futurists, like Warren Wagar envision a nation of people fundamentally torn by “racial conflict.” By mid-century, Wagar sees an America suffering from a “gigantic internal struggle” that will eventually lead to its ultimate decline.

The xenophobic right, probably much larger but no less deluded, sees the similar potential for mischief, where American values are undermined by what 19th century Nativists called “ a rising tide of color.” It is part of a scenario that the likes of Pat Buchanan and Samuel Huntington envision as the rise “revanchist sentiments” along the nation’s Southern border.

Yet in reality America’s ability to absorb newcomers represents not so much a shift in racial dominance but a new paradigm, where race itself begins to matter less than culture, class and other factors. Rather than a source of national decline, the new Americas represent the critical force that can provide the new markets, the manpower, and, perhaps most important, the youthful energy to keep our city vital and growing.

You can see this in all sorts of geographies. The most dynamic, bustling sections of American cities --- places like the revived communities along the 7-train line in Queens, Houston’s Harwin Corridor, or Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Valley --- often are those dominated by immigrant enterprise. At the same time many of our suburbs are becoming increasingly diverse, a sign of decline according to some urban boosters but in reality just another proof of the ability of suburbs to reinvent themselves in a new era.

Even small communities have been enlivened by immigrants, where refugees often have an even greater impact than they do on the biggest cities. In the 1990s, newly arrived Bosnians and Russians in Utica, New York were widely seen as sparking new growth and jobs in a stagnating community, bringing values of hard work and sacrifice. “How long before they become Americanized?” asked the head of the local Chamber of Commerce. “Right now all we know is we love them, and we want more.”

This is where America’s future diverges most clearly from that of its competitors, both the older industrialized societies and the newly emergent powers. In recent decades Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Russia, Indonesia, across the former Soviet Union, and the former Yugoslavia --- became more constricted in their concept of national identity. In countries such as Malaysia, Nigeria, India and even the province of Quebec, preferential policies have been devised to blunt successful minorities. Because of such policies, sometimes accompanied by lethal threats, Jews, Armenians, Coptic Christians, and Diaspora Chinese have often been forced to find homes in more welcoming places.

Europe, too, has received many newcomers, but to a large extent its society and economy have proven far less able to absorb them --- a far different result than one would expect from a supposedly enlightened society widely admired by American ‘progressive’ intellectuals. This is particularly true of the roughly twenty million Muslims who live in Europe, but who have tended to remain both segregated from the rest of society and economically marginalized.

In European countries, it is often easier for immigrants to receive welfare than join the workforce, and their job prospects are confined by levels of education that lag those of immigrants in the United States, Canada or Australia. And in Europe, notably in France, unemployment among immigrants --- particularly those from Muslim countries --- is often at least two times higher than that of the native born; in Britain, as well, Muslims are far more likely to be out of the workforce than either Christians or Hindus.

Similarly, European immigrants often separate themselves from the dominant culture. For example, in Britain, up to forty percent of the Islamic population in 2001 believed that terrorist attacks on both Americans and their fellow Britons were justified; meanwhile, ninety five percent of white Britons have exclusively white friends.

In contrast, only one-quarter of whites in a 29-city U.S. survey reported no interracial friendships at all. This measure of racial isolation ranged from a low of eight percent in Los Angeles to a high of 55 percent in Bismarck, North Dakota. Overall, it’s clear the integrative process in the United States, which over the past century has experienced the largest mass migration in history, is well advanced.

This contrast is particularly telling when looking at Muslim immigrants. In the United States, most Muslims --- themselves from diverse places of origin --- are comfortably middle class, with income and education levels above the national average. They are more likely to be satisfied with the state of the country, their own community, and prospects for success than other Americans.

More important, more than half of Muslims --- many of them immigrants --- identify themselves as Americans first, a far higher percentage of national identity than is found in western Europe. More than four in five is registered to vote, a sure sign of civic involvement. Almost three quarters, according to a Pew study, say they have never been discriminated against. “You can keep the flavor of your ethnicity,” remarked one University of Chicago Pakistani doctorate student in Islamic Studies, “but you are expected to become an American.”

Even if immigration slows down dramatically, these groups will grow in significance as we approach mid-century. By 2000, one in five American children already were the progeny of immigrants; by 2015 they will make up as much as one third of American kids. Demographically, the racial and ethnic die is already cast. The forty-five percent of all children under five who are non-white will eventually be the 20-somethings having children of their own. Whether they achieve a majority by 2043 or 2050, many of these Americans are likely to share more than one ethnic heritage.

So rather than speaking about growing separation and balkanization we are witnessing what Sergio Munoz, a Mexican journalist and long-time Los Angeles resident, has described as the “the multiculturalism of the streets.” Street level realities differ from those seen by political reporters or academics. People still talk about the South, for example, and its racial legacy. Years ago economic leaders in southern cities like Dallas, Atlanta and Houston recognized that to preserve institutionalized racism would be bad for business. By the mid-2000s these very cities, were seen as among the best places for black businesses and families.

The remarkable progress on race, even in the Deep South, has in many ways forged the path for the new Americans, including Mexican-Americans and Chinese-Americans who have also faced discrimination. More important, the road to economic success, unobstructed by institutionalized racism, will be even more open for their children.

This does not mean that there remains a great deal of confluence between particular ethnicities and higher rates of poverty. Massive immigration has brought to many cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, large numbers of poorly educated and non-English speaking newcomers. Critics may be correct that current policies tend to foster too much immigration among the less skilled. Although newcomers often increase their wages over time, the influx of even newer arrivals tends to keep wages for groups such as Latinos consistently below native levels, and likely depresses wages for the least skilled natives.

Immigrants by their very nature constitute a work in progress. In the move to highly skilled positions --- including in the blue collar sectors --- the average immigrant income grows and the percentage of children who finish high school or enter college tends to rise (in some groups more decisively than in others). Rates of homeownership also rise with time, reaching native levels after about three decades.

What is too often missing today is a focus on how to spur this upward mobility. This requires less racial “sensitivity” sessions and cultural celebrations, and more attention to the basics that create a successful transition to the middle class --- like decent schools, public safety, better infrastructure, skills training as well as preservation and development of high paying blue as well as white collar jobs.

The bottom line is that neither political nor the cultural arguments about immigration are central to everyday life: Concepts such as “ethnic solidarity,” “people of color” or “cultural community” generally mean less than principles such as “Does this sell?” “What’s my market?” and, ultimately, “How do I fit in?”

In essence, if the economy can continue to work and expand over the coming decade, America’s increasing racial diversity not only will do no considerable harm, but lay the basis of a more remarkable, unique and successful nation in the decades to come.

Joel Kotkin is the Executive Editor for Newgeography.com.

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I think it is an imaginary

I think it is an imaginary problem. We should concentrate on another. You can try virtual villagers 4.

Well, that is not far to the

Well, that is not far to the reality.Now that racial discrimination has already been eradicated, there are several blacks who excel in different fields and organizations.The picture above shows the equal percentage of both race. Anyway, its a nice representation of the issue.If you don't have a printer, or you don't have a good one, you could look into Snapfish for picture printing. Snapfish is a Hewlett Packard run web service that will store and print your digital photos for cheap, and for the rest of month, you get 50 free prints and 20 percent off any photo books. However, you have to buy something at least once a year. You won't have to worry about a payday loan to print anything, because prints are 9 cents a piece. Shutterfly, on the other hand, will store everything free, but their prints are about a penny cheaper for the most basic prints. However, it's nice to know you won't need a payday loan for storage devices and printers if you use Snapfish.

The ongoing financial crash

The ongoing financial crash was caused by overleveraging at all levels of society, from Wall Street to Main Street to the slums. The initial cause, however, was the popping of the subprime mortgage bubble.

At their bubblicious peak, American homes were theoretically worth $24 trillion. The amount of wealth that has evaporated in the popping of the American real estate bubble so far appears to be in the $5 trillion range, to pick a very round number. The blogger Dr. Housing Bubble recently estimated the loss to be $4.68 trillion using Case-Shiller data. Another source estimates $6 trillion. And we haven't necessarily hit bottom yet. So the wealth loss already amounts to a quarter to a third of US GDP—greatly magnified, and spread around the world, by the simultaneous metastasizing of poorly-understood financial derivatives.

I've long argued that the massive ideological and demographic trends in our society toward "diversity" played an underappreciated role in the disaster. Now we're now getting very close to finding the smoking gun that proves my "Diversity Recession" theory.

Many readers have expressed doubts that minorities could possibly play a large enough role in the mortgage market to matter. Actually, they do. In fact, we can now see that, more than anything else, the Housing Bubble was a Hispanic Housing Bubble. Mortgage dollars flowing to Hispanics for home purchases increasing almost eightfold from 1999 to 2006!

As I've argued, the Bush Administration wanted to turn Hispanics into Republican voters by making them homeowners through easy credit. George W. Bush and Karl Rove don't deserve all the blame, however. Their lax mortgage policies were largely a continuation of trends to boost minority and low income mortgage access that were well under way in the Clinton Administration—as I pointed out in my June Takimag.com article on "The Diversity Recession." These lax mortgage policies also had the secondary effect of encouraging residential real estate speculation—“flipping”—by minorities and non-minorities alike.

The federal government doesn't make it easy for citizens to find information on mortgage defaults and foreclosures by race. But it does collect a huge amount of information by race on mortgages handed out, in order to encourage lending to minorities by threatening lawsuits against financial institutions accused of discriminating against them.

A very helpful reader named "Tino" sent me a link to the federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act website: The HMDA National Aggregate Report,

I've chosen to look at conventional home purchase mortgages originated in 2006, the peak of the Bubble, the year of the worst "toxic waste" mortgages.

Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to break out subprime dollars, which is where most of the unexpected defaults occurred. But looking at total dollars loaned on the purchase of homes, prime and subprime aggregated together, is revealing enough.

I looked at total mortgage dollars originated for home purchases in 2006. It appears the minority share of overall mortgage dollars was slightly larger (35%) than their share of the population (about 33% in 2006). This is due to higher average mortgage sizes for minorities ($188,000) than for whites ($183,000).

This may seem counterintuitive—until you stop and think about it. Minorities tend to be concentrated in metropolitan areas with expensive land prices. Rural areas with very cheap land are almost all white.

Further, America's largest and most expensive state, California, the epicenter of the housing bubble and thus the global financial earthquake due to subprime defaults, is now majority minority (with non-Hispanic whites making up only 43 percent of the financially tarnished Golden State's population in 2005).

For home purchase mortgages originated in 2006, Asians averaged $255,000, Hispanics $183,000, non-Hispanic whites $183,000, and blacks $153,000.

Compared to 1999 (the first year in the federal database), which was before the Housing Bubble, it's striking to note how much more mortgage money has flowed to Hispanics. The growth in mortgage dollars for home purchases by Hispanics grew 691 percent from 1999 to 2006! Hispanics originated only $21 billion in purchase mortgages in 1999 v. $163 billion in 2006.

Not surprisingly, four heavily Hispanic states—California, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada—account for 50 percent of the mortgage defaults in America in 2007, and, due to California's ridiculous home prices, no doubt an even larger share of defaulted dollars.

Blacks also received far more mortgage dollars in that seven-year stretch from 1999 to 2006, up 397 percent from $17 billion to $84 billion. Both Hispanics and blacks participated heavily in the subprime market, with two to three times higher percentages of their mortgages being subprime than among whites. So much of this breakneck expansion in borrowing among Hispanics and blacks must have been due to subprimes, which is where the financial collapse started.

Despite rapid immigration, Asians were up only 218 percent in total new mortgage dollars from 1999 to 2006, from $24 billion to 77 billion. We know they mostly stuck to prime mortgages, at about the same rate as whites.

Total minority purchase mortgages taken out in 2006 were $360 billion, compared to $678 billion for non-Hispanic whites. So, minorities were slightly over-represented in purchase mortgage dollars relative to their share of the population.

Unfortunately, changes in reporting methodology from 1999 to 2006 make comparison difficult for non-Hispanic whites. (They weren't broken out separately from "Whites" in 1999, so the 1999 figures may or may not include some Hispanics. In contrast, non-Hispanic whites are identified separately in 2006.)

It's not all that important a methodological problem, though, because Hispanic borrowing wasn't huge in 1999. So, my estimate for non-Hispanic whites is that mortgage dollars flowing to them increased about 100 percent over those seven years.

The picture in refinancing of existing mortgages in 2006 is quite similar, with minorities getting 33 percent of home refinancing dollars originated in 2006. Interestingly, the average minority refinancing was bigger ($218,000) than the average non-Hispanic white refinancing ($188,000). Refinancing dollars flowing to Hispanics increased more than seven-fold, while whites were up somewhat more than double.

So the ethnic change wasn't quite as extreme as in home purchase mortgages, but they weren't very different. The total value of refinancing and purchase mortgages were fairly similar in size in 2006. So minorities accounted for about 34 percent of purchase and refinancing of mortgages in 2006.

I couldn't find usable numbers in the database on subprime dollars alone, although a more assiduous researcher may well be able to tease out the facts. But if minorities in 2006 accounted for 35% of all mortgages (see above), they would have accounted for a higher share of subprime dollars mortgages. Defaults so far have been concentrated in subprime adjustable rate mortgages. They accounted for 6% of mortgages and 39% of defaults.

Therefore, it's likely that it will turn out that the majority of unexpected default dollars, above normal trend lines, in 2007 were from defaults by minorities.

The conventional wisdom that emerged from the crisis of the Great Depression dominated American ideology until almost 1980. Similarly, the reigning ideas that congeal in the next few weeks about the causes of this crash will determine the course of politics for decades to come. Right now, the elite consensus (as in the 1930s) is that the free market failed. The truth, to which we blinded ourselves in an orgy of political correctness, is that the America of 2008 doesn't have the human capital to justify the valuations of wealth it thought it had.

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We need more immigrants, not fewer

Spend some time reading all the great content at:
and you will appreciate the benefits to immigration.

A country will a decreasing population is not a fun place to be. I hope that we can increase the number of legal immigrants into the USA. I also hope that we can institute a points system similar to Canada's so we can admit better educated and richer immigrants.

Dave Barnes

Sorry Davy boy, you're just a fool....

Davy boy, you're just a profiteer from the trans-nationalism of mass immigration. Admit it, you're just another prostitute out to make his money as I said yesterday.

Plus, you're a liberal fascist since you don't respect the will of the majority of Americans - almost three out of four Americans want all forms of immigration reduced.

For your information, the USA admits more immigrants than all other nations in the world, combined, each and every year and has done so for DECADES. If you really studied US immigration history, you'd know that we usually cycle between periods of high and periods of low immigration. We are in need of the low period. Furtermore, US immigraiton for the past 20 years has centered on the chronically corrupt Mexico and the looking the other way as Mexico sends tens of millions of it's identity stealing, social security fraud committing, income tax evading, illegal amigos throughout the USA. Now we're being flooded with non-assimilating masses from China, India, and the Arab/Muslim Middle East.

In case you're too busy counting your money, we are a nation. Not just an economy or a market. The country will pull apart due to cultural, ethnic, racial, religious strife. Because adults realize that people want to live among other similar people. Because culture matters, a lot.

Wise up pal.

You are correct and stupid at the same time

"For your information, the USA admits more immigrants than all other nations in the world, combined"
Very true. See http://www.migrationinformation.org/datahub/charts/6.1.shtml and http://www.migrationinformation.org/datahub/charts/5.1.shtml
but, as a percentage of the total population, we (the USA) are not even in the game

If you surf to http://www.dhs.gov/ximgtn/statistics/ and download U.S. Legal Permanent Residents: 2007 (LPR_FR_2007.pdf), then you will observe that immigration has dropped from its peak in 1990.

My concern is that population DECLINE means ECONOMIC and STATE failure (e.g., Russia in 2050)

I want more immigrants into my country. Especially those who are educated and have an entrepreneurial spirit.

"Plus, you're a liberal fascist". So wrong. I am a libertarian. That means that I don't believe the state has the moral right to regulate immigration at all.

"In case you're too busy counting your money" is an interesting comment as the Trilateral Commission pays me in Ameros and not worthless USD.

Dave Barnes

Ahhh, a libertarian...a liberal without the guts to admit it

How sad, the libertarian is. He's a liberal without the guts to admit to his globalism/universalism.

Grow a pair, sign up for the Marines and maybe they can make a man out of you and teach you a little what life is really like in the real world, beyond the university.

The American people, that is American families have decided they want about two children per family but our government elites have decided that we need to import (usualy culturally unsuited) people with Muslim, Hindu and Mexican Indian backgrounds,that have flooded our schools, hospitals and workplaces. The huge increase in population we have experience over the past 25 years is almost all due to higher and higher levels of immigrants allowed into the country and by the non-enforcement of immigraiton laws with respect to illegal aliens (mostly from Mexico).

We're a country, with a heritage, a history, English language, Judeo-Christian tradition, customs and values that have been developed over the last few hundred years. To throw that all away on "globalism", "trans-nationalism", "citizen of the world" and "hyper-capitalist consumerism" is just naive and flat out dumb.

Economic prostitute...

What this writer proposes is that economics is the most important thing in life and such "old fashioned" ideas such as country, hometown, heritage, language, customs are passe. How sad.

I suggest that globalism will dimiish in the coming years for a variety of reasons but one big reason is that people do not necessarily want to live next door to people from all around the world, with very strange customs and practices. People like to live around other people of similar values and behavior. It's just human nature.

I believe the USA will begin to lower immigration levels (legal and illegal) for it is the historical pattern that the US has followed. A few decades of high immigration, which we have had for the last 25 years or so, followed by a few decades of low immigration. It is prudent. Today, US immigration is centered on propping up the chronically corrupt government of Mexico. That's why we allow tens of millions of identity theft, social security fraud committing illegal aliens.

Diversity and globalism are both over-blown. Both will diminish.