In eight metropolitan areas including Washington, DC, New York, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Memphis, minorities now make up the majority of the population, according to census data. Over the past decade, non-Hispanic whites have become the minority in 22 of the 100 largest urban areas in the US, the Washington Post reports. In 42 of those 100 regions, the raw number of white people fell, but the percentage of whites fell in every single metro area. A big reason? The white population is aging, while the Hispanic and Asian populations fueling the growth are relatively young.
The shift happened shockingly fast, even to many officials. “What’s happened is pivotal,” says one demographer, noting that these regions will be the testing ground for how to “help minorities assimilate and become part of the labor force.” Another report notes the “literally mind-boggling” situation in Northern Virginia’s schools, where the student population grew by 119,000 over the past 15 years—white students accounted for just shy of 1,000 of those. The demographic shift is even starting to transform traditionally Republican areas to more Democratic ones, one expert notes.