What Will The 'Average American' Look Like in 2050

By Julissa Catalan


For its 125th anniversary issue, National Geographic released an edition documenting what America will look like in the year 2050.

Photos taken by renowned portrait artist and photographer Martin Schoeller filled the pages of “The Changing Face of America,” which also included the tagline “We’ve become a country where race is no longer so Black and white.”

Released last October, the images are meant to depict the most recent U.S. Census findings—the same year people were able to check more than one box when identifying their race and ethnicity.

It was reported that 6.8 million people did in fact select more than one category. In 2010, the census showed that that number had increased by 32 percent.

The race categories were originally constructed in the 18th century by German scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, who believed people were divided into 5 categories: red, yellow, brown, black and white, and are still used today to “enforce antidiscrimination laws and to identify health issues specific to certain populations.”

Although, the census does still require categorization, being able to select multiple races to self-describe is found to be more realistic and accurate in a country where interracial relationships and biracial children are more common, immigration plays a major role in our ethnic makeup and the “majority” is becoming the “minority.”

The census predicts that by 2060, non-Hispanic whites will no longer be a statistical majority—a predicted trend that the magazine says does not “guarantee opportunity or wipe out the legacy of Japanese-American internment camps or Jim Crow laws.”

Currently, whites have double the income and six times the wealth of Blacks and Latinos. Additionally, young Black men are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to whites.

According to a study conducted by the University of Colorado at Boulder, race is registered at about one-tenth of a second, even before gender is discerned.

Another study reported that conservatives are more likely than liberals to categorize someone of a mixed Black-white race as Black, giving weight to the one-drop theory: if a person has any trace of Black in their history, then they are considered Black, regardless of how small that percentage maybe.

The next forty years will surely produce a more ambiguous American population, and we can only hope that this will give way to the dispelling of so many racial stereotypes.

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