FACT #1: The U.S. Workforce Is Becoming More Diverse.

The U.S. workforce (generally ages 25 to 64) is in the midst of a sweeping demographic transformation. From 1980 to 2020, the white working-age population is projected to decline from 82% to 63% (see figure 1). During the same period, the minority portion of the workforce is projected to double (from 18% to 37%), and the Hispanic/Latino portion is projected to almost triple (from 6% to 17%).

This demographic shift can be traced to two primary causes: larger numbers of younger Americans (ages 0 to 44) are ethnic minorities, and increasing numbers of white workers are reaching retirement age. Over the next 15 years, the largest increase in the younger U.S. population is projected to be Hispanic/Latino (see figure 2). The younger population—including those most likely to be in school, college, or professional training—is growing ever more racially diverse.

Meanwhile, the largest portion of the white population is aging. The number of whites is projected to decline in all age groups younger than 45 (see figure 2). The only age level in which whites would outpace minorities in population growth is among those reaching retirement: ages 65 and older.

Despite increasing levels of ethnic diversity in nearly all states, 90% of Hispanics/Latinos reside in just 16 states (see figure 3), and 90% of African-Americans live in 21 states (see figure 4).


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