US Minority Birth Rate Now The Majority

laughing baby boy
For the first time, racial and ethnic minorities make up more than half the children born in the U.S. Blacks, who comprise about 12.3 percent of the population, have increased at a rate of about 1 percent each year. Whites have increased very little in recent years.

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New 2011 census estimates highlight sweeping changes in the nation’s racial makeup and the prolonged impact of a weak economy, which is now resulting in fewer Hispanics entering the U.S.

“This is an important landmark,” said Roderick Harrison, a former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau who is now a sociologist at Howard University. “This generation is growing up much more accustomed to diversity than its elders.”

The report comes as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on the legality of Arizona’s strict immigration law, with many states weighing similar get-tough measures.

“We remain in a dangerous period where those appealing to anti-immigration elements are fueling a divisiveness and hostility that might take decades to overcome,” Harrison said.

As a whole, the nation’s minority population continues to rise, following a higher-than-expected Hispanic count in the 2010 census. Minorities increased 1.9 percent to 114.1 million, or 36.6 percent of the total U.S. population, lifted by prior waves of immigration that brought in young families and boosted the number of Hispanic women in their prime childbearing years.

But a recent slowdown in the growth of the Hispanic and Asian populations is shifting notions on when the tipping point in U.S. diversity will come — the time when non-Hispanic whites become a minority. After 2010 census results suggested a crossover as early as 2040, demographers now believe the pivotal moment may be pushed back several years when new projections are released in December.

The annual growth rates for Hispanics and Asians fell sharply last year to just over 2 percent, roughly half the rates in 2000 and the lowest in more than a decade. The black growth rate stayed flat at 1 percent.

William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the census data, noted that government debates over immigration enforcement may now be less pressing, given slowing growth. “The current congressional and Supreme Court interest in reducing immigration — and the concerns especially about low-skilled and undocumented Hispanic immigration — represent issues that could well be behind us,” he said.

Minorities made up roughly 2.02 million, or 50.4 percent of U.S. births in the 12-month period ending July 2011. That compares with 37 percent in 1990.

In all, 348 of the nation’s 3,143 counties, or 1 in 9, have minority populations across all age groups that total more than 50 percent. In a sign of future U.S. race and ethnic change, the number of counties reaching the tipping point increases to more than 690, or nearly 1 in 4, when looking only at the under age 5 population.

The counties in transition include Maricopa (Phoenix), Ariz.; King (Seattle), Wash.; Travis (Austin), Texas; and Palm Beach, Fla., where recent Hispanic births are driving the increased diversity among children. Also high on the list are suburban counties such as Fairfax, Va., just outside the nation’s capital, and Westchester, N.Y., near New York City, where more open spaces are a draw for young families who are increasingly minority.

Births actually have been declining for both whites and minorities as many women postponed having children during the economic slump. But the drop since 2008 has been larger for whites, who have a median age of 42. The number of white births fell by 11.4 percent, compared with 3.2 percent for minorities, according to Kenneth Johnson, a sociologist at the University of New Hampshire.

Asian population increases also slowed, from 4.5 percent in 2001 to about 2.2 percent. Hispanics and Asians still are the two fastest-growing minority groups, making up about 16.7 percent and 4.8 percent of the U.S. population, respectively.

5 Dangers Of Self-Diagnosis

Neck pain.
No matter what online or book information you’re using, remember that self-diagnosis can be a risky idea. It’s not as easy as it may seem and could lead you to incorrect, and potentially dangerous, conclusions.

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Feel free to research your symptoms, but let your doctor decide what’s ailing you. Here are five mistakes that could hurt instead of heal.

1. You take an OTC remedy without reading the label
When it comes to over-the-counter drugs, many people have a blasé attitude, thinking “They can’t really hurt me, right?” Wrong. Plenty of people end up with serious health problems from accidentally taking too much of an over-the-counter drug (such as a painkiller), overusing drugs such as laxatives or acid blockers, or taking something that interferes with another medication they’re on. No matter how safe a drug may seem, it’s always smart to read the label. It might surprise you.

2. You take an anti-diarrheal if you have a fever
Never treat yourself at home with a diarrhea remedy if you also have a fever or if there’s blood or mucus in your bowel movements. These are signs of an infection and warrant a call to your doctor.

3. You take a daily aspirin without asking your doctor
Some people shouldn’t take aspirin every day, especially since it can cause stomach bleeding. Doctors usually recommend it only for people who have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Women may not benefit as much from aspirin therapy as men. And some people appear to be resistant to aspirin’s anti-clotting effects. (Tests are available to check for aspirin resistance, though some doctors question their accuracy).

4. You quit an anti-anxiety med cold turkey
If you’ve been taking an anti-anxiety medicine for a long time, do not quit abruptly. Talk to your doctor about how to gradually taper the dose. Otherwise, you could experience very serious complications such as seizures.

5. You use old antibiotics for a new infection
First, you should have finished the entire prescription the first time around. Second, many antibiotics are specific to the type of infection you have. Taking the wrong antibiotic might not work and can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, making treatment for that type of infection more difficult the next time.