Shift in Power? Census Reports More White Deaths Than Births in 2012

Benchmark in population signals changes for underrepresented groups; how will it play out in corporate America?

By Chris Hoenig

Shift in Power? Census Reports More White Deaths Than Births in 2012For the first time in more than a century, 2012 brought more deaths than births among non-Hispanic whites in the United States. While the difference was small—only about 12,000 out of a population of more than 200 million—it marks the start of a trend that is only supposed to pick up steam as the country’s population ages.

The number of children in the U.S. dropped by 200,000 to 73.7 million, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. At the same time, the 65-and-older population grew by 4.3 percent to 43.1 million, or 13.7 percent of the total population. As the more-deaths-than-births trend continues, it’s expected that the number of non-Hispanic whites will begin to decline by the end of the decade. Only the emigration of 188,000 whites from overseas kept that from happening in 2012.

Benefiting Underrepresented Groups

With the aging and shrinking of the non-Hispanic white population, underrepresented groups are likely to be the beneficiaries. “Today’s racial and ethnic minorities will no longer be dependent on older whites for their economic well-being,” said demographer Dr. William Frey, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. “It makes more vivid than ever the fact that we will be reliant on younger minorities and immigrants for our future demographic and economic growth.”

And, according to Frey, underrepresented groups will carry added power and sway over economic and civil-rights issues, as programs like social security “will be reliant on the success of waves of young Hispanics, Asians and Blacks who will become the bulwark of our labor force.”

How This Impacts Business

  • Diversity Recruitment: As the educated workforce becomes more racially diverse, it’s essential for companies to be able to hire and retain the best talent. Studies have shown that younger people, including straight, white men, want to work for companies that are known for their diversity and inclusion. Additionally, as our web seminar on recruitment shows, on-boarding and engaging people from underrepresented groups is vital to ensuring their retention and promotion.
  • Talent Development: If your company isn’t representative of the population, your talent will leave or fail to maximize its potential. No one wants to be the first “anything” in an organization; that’s why diversity and inclusion are so important. DiversityInc research from The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity shows a direct correlation between formal cross-cultural mentoring and talent development of people in underrepresented groups. Watch our web seminar on talent development for more insights.
  • Market Share: A culturally competent workforce that is representative of the marketplace will reach customers and suppliers, and increase market share. DiversityInc features many case studies of resource groups that have been able to help with market research and customer connections. For example, at one of our Innovation Fest! events, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (No. 6 in the DiversityInc Top 50) discussed how it saved more than $2 million by using its seven ethnic resource groups to vet marketing campaigns. Watch our web seminar on innovation for more unique solutions to leverage your diversity and inclusion.

Recommended Articles


  • Why is it always a shift in “power” “added power”, etc.? The article with its photo of “Old Guard” as well as almost celebration of more deaths than births of whites and with the tired underrepresented minorities not depending on older whites just speaks of exclusion versus inclusion. What is the author’s proposal for when whites are “underrepresented?” What if the white population then begins to have larger families?

    We have to come to a point in this country where race just does not matter and that we all feel included no matter what the percentages are for any category. Unfortunately this article prefers to feel power is more and having more sway is more important than just accepting people for who they are, the content of their character and not for the color of their skin….well who said that a long while ago?

    • Luke Visconti

      Read Dr. King’s speech carefully—it’s WHEN we are equal we can be judged by the content of our character. We’re not equal, and money is the controlling factor: Black households have one-twentieth the wealth of white households. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

      • I have read Dr. King’s speech so you don’t have to patronize me since I have been in this business as long as you have. So, until such time as you deem otherwise, we will need to judge people by the color of their skin and not by the content of their character? That is what you are stating here since we are “not equal” even though we are all equal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for employment, affirmative action programs continue which give preference in schools, and no one is denied schooling, health care, etc. Those who have money have earned it through hard work and education so it does not matter what race you are, if you do not graduate high school and/or get involved in crime, drugs, etc., then you will not advance. You refer to African American disparity with wealth; 33% drop out rate in high school, 70% of single parents and less than 50% high school graduation rate in inner cities in the African American community certainly does not contribute to advancing any equal opportunity for wealth enhancement.

        • Luke Visconti

          You used the speech most often quoted incorrectly by bigots justifying their hostile, narrow-minded, selfish worldview. What possible business can you be in? Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

« Previous Article     Next Article »