Twitter Buzzing Over Census Bureau Figures

The Bureau of the Census is hardly a sexy topic on social media, yet that didn't stop the agency from enjoying a well-earned boost in buzz on Twitter.

The buzz stemmed from a report by the agency that white births are no longer a majority in the U.S.--news which the Twitterati had a field day with.

"The Census Bureau today reported that whites now account for half of all live births," @kattcalls wrote, "but 96 percent of all toddlers with tiaras."

"Cue the alarm at Fox," @wordsnotbullets said.

According to the Census Bureau's 2011 statistics, there were over 2 million nonwhite births in 2011, versus 1.9 million for whites. The hair splitting is creating very real consequences for politicians looking to get a lock on the minority vote.

According to The New York Times, 348 counties nationwide recorded demographics in which minorities made up a big slice of the pie. They include the District of Columbia (50 percent black, 38 percent White), New York City (25 percent black), Los Angeles (48 percent Hispanic), and even Memphis, where whites are a statistical minority.

Hispanics drove most of the Census Bureau's numbers. As of July 2011, the end of the study period, Hispanics accounted for 26 percent of total births, versus just 15 percent for blacks.

The news was not lost on certain members of the Latino community, who wasted no time having fun with it.

"Bean pride!" One Hispanic commenter wrote on Twitter.

But despite the sentiment, the celebrations might be premature. Though white births declined, whites still represent the largest share of live births--49.6 percent.  But with a heavy influx of Mexican immigrants over the past decade and ergo, a boom in Hispanic births, the Hispanic community have managed to catch up.

Their influence--cultural and otherwise--has been most felt in the Southwest. Border states like Arizona, Texas, and California already have a significant portion of Hispanic residents, with Arizona netting 29 percent of Hispanics alone.

As the debate over S.B. 1070 raged in Arizona, the demographics came into play in a big way as pro-Hispanic organizations rallied to oppose the law. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, nearly 50,000 people in Los Angeles, mostly foreign born, marched in a May Day protest against the law in 2010. Similar numbers were recorded in Dallas, Chicago, and other cities as well.

But if the Hispanic population has proved its political clout, the education gap remains its biggest Achilles heel. According to William Frey, a senior demographer at the Brookings Institution, just 13 percent of Hispanics have a college degree, versus 31 percent for whites.

It's more bad news for the U.S. economy as another player on the world stage--China--revs its economy into high gear. According to the International Monetary Fund, as of 2012 China has the largest economy in terms of GDP--surpassing even the United States.

"This is a polite knock on the door to tell us to get ready," Ruy Teixeira, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress said in an interview with the Times. "We do a pretty lousy job of educating the younger generation of minorities.  Basically, we are not ready for this."

Rather than be at odds, the whites and Hispanics recognize they need each other--badly.  With the median age for non-Hispanic whites clocking in at 42, someone has to pick up the slack from the legion of Baby Boomers set to retire from the workforce, and the Hispanics just might be America's saving grace.

"If the U.S. depended on white births alone," University of Southern California professor of policy Dowell Myers said, "we'd be dead. Without the contributions from these other groups, we would be top-heavy with old people."

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