Infographics of the Week: An Increasingly Diverse America and What It Means for the GOP

Almost half of all births in the U.S. are of children from racial and ethnic minority groups, according to a Brookings Institution analysis of 2010 Census data. This milestone is part of a demographic shift that has been happening for decades, as each successive generation of Americans becomes increasingly diverse (see the graph below). The trend results from variations in immigration patterns, fertility rates, and age distributions across different racial and ethnic groups.

Source: Brookings Institution, 2011

What I find most interesting about this analysis is a map Brookings created that shows which counties have the highest percentage of non-white births. You can see a band of high concentrations running along the bottom of the mainland U.S., particularly in the Southwest.

Source: Brookings Institution, 2011

This cool video, which illustrates how the population of people of color will grow between 1990 and 2040, shows the same geographic trend: the epicenter of America’s increasing diversity is the South and, particularly, the Southwest.

So what does this mean for national politics? Take a look at the Brookings map above and focus on the South, traditionally a key GOP stronghold. See the blue (which indicates high levels of diversity) along the western edge of Texas and winding through Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina? Now look at the map below, which shows the 2008 presidential election results by county. You see the same blue areas (indicating votes for Obama) on the western border of Texas and winding through those four Deep South states.

Source: Los Angeles Times, 2008

As long as the GOP continues to be the party of, by, and for white people, it is fighting a losing demographic battle, because many of the states it has traditionally relied on winning are quickly becoming less white. North Carolina and Virginia went Democratic in the last presidential election for the first time in 32 and 44 years, respectively. Could someplace like Georgia be next?

America Reaches Its Demographic Tipping Point
Brookings Institution // William H. Frey // August 26, 2011