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

For 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.

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