Current issues and trends

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)

Text of Current issues and trends

  • 1.Chapter 2 Changing Demographics amid DiversityPeople who understand demographics understand two-thirds of everything.David Foote, Boom, Bust, or Echo (1996)Canadian author David Foote titillates the reader by suggesting that mostof us are not sure that we understand two-thirds of anything. We areswishing around the demographic tea leaves in an attempt towardenlightenment. Unfortunately, the future they predict may make us wishhad stuck with coffee.Is Diversity a Myth?We hear conflicting reports about diversity. Large numbers of internationalimmigrants to the United States in the early 1900s foster the perceptionthat the United States is becoming truly diverse. Riding in cabs indowntown New York City may lead you to think that Americans is growingmore racially and ethnically diverse by the day. According to William Frey(1998), however, the melting pot simply is not real.

2. Frey, a demographer and Ph.D. research scientist, analyzed Census Bureaupopulation estimates for 1996 and 1997. His research concluded thatpopulation shifts during the 1990s show a continued geographicconcentration of minority groups into specific regions and a handful ofmetro areas. Frey proposes that this concentration is particularly true fornew immigrant minorities, namely Hispanics and Asians. These minoritiestypically enter the United States through limited gateway cities and remainin those regions. Granted, the term Hispanic was invented in the 1980 census in anattempt to describe the large numbers of people from South and CentralAmerica who were moving to the United States. In Florida, they are notidentified as Hispanics; rather they are called Latinos and Latinas. In Texasand California, they are identified as Chicanos and Chicanas (Hodgkinson,1998). For the purposes of this chapter, however, the term Hispanic is usedin its comprehensive sense to include all of these groups. While some of the Asians minorities are trickling out of thegateway metros, the pace is relatively slow. According to Frey, the largestblocks of these minorities are clustered in only a few geographic areas.Most places beyond these melting pots are largely white, or white andblack. 3. The Rapid Hispanic Migration to the United StatesAlthough Freys comments may have reflected the Hispanic migration sixor seven years ago, the current data shows a more rapid andcomprehensive migration to other metropolitan centers as well as to ruralareas throughout the United States. One of the pitfalls of usingdemographics for demographics for predictive purposes is that some havetargeted geographic locations where the number of minorities is growingrapidly, while the actual number of minorities in those areas may be quitesmall. Los Angeles, in contrast, yields both large numbers of minorities anda rapidly growing population of Hispanics. Among the nations 271 urbanareas, Los Angeles is home to fully one-fifth of the Hispanic population. Italso ranks first in total Hispanic population growth, netting 18 percent ofall Hispanic population gains in the nation between 1990 and 1996. Thecitys Hispanic growth comes not only from Mexican and Latin Americanimmigrants, but also from continued high birth rates among long-termHispanic residents. On June 11, 2001, Time magazine published a special issue titledWelcome to America. The article, titled Courting a Sleeping Giant,reports: 4. The biggest political news of the 2000 Census was that Hispanics Morethan half of them tracing their roots to Mexico have become the largestminority group in the U.S., surpassing African Americans at least six yearssooner than expected. Where thats happening is turning out to be assurprising as how fast. Of the congressional districts that saw the biggestincreases in their Latino populations over the past decade, not a single oneis in a state along the Mexican border. Rural areas saw huge group inHispanic populations. By the end of 2001, four of the eight largest U.S.cities may have Hispanic mayors (Tumulty, 2001, p. 74). The political ramifications continue to intrigue us. Where Hispanicsare newly arrived, they only have just begun to crack the city schoolboards, councils, and county commissions. As one seemingly savvypolitician remarked, Were on the ground floor of politicalempowerment (p. 74). Why has Hispanic political influence lagged behind the census?Several reasons are postulated. Hispanics in the United States are moredispersed than other minorities such as African Americans. 5. This means that legislators have to work harder to identify districts wherepotential voters live. In addition, the census figures cannot yet accuratelygive the polls the true picture of voting power. More than one-third ofHispanics are under voting age and those who are eligible to vote often donot. Although the Hispanic and African American populations in the UnitedStates are roughly the same size, six million more blacks are registered tovote. Turnouts rates for Hispanics are even more disappointing for themore educated and affluent.People on the Move An incredible number of people move every year about 43million. It may be possible, if not probable, for an elementary schoolteacher that she started the year with 24 students in September and stillhad 24 the following May, but that 22 of them are different children(Hodgkinson, 1998). Three states California, Texas, and Florida account for half ofthe countrys population growth. When examining population movementin the eastern half of the country, a picture emerges of suburban growtharound declining urban cores in major cities. 6. This pattern is very important when considering poverty among children.While poverty is not interesting in cities as a whole, it is increasing in theinner ring of suburbs. If the criterion for poverty status is the increasednumber of children eligible for free and reduced-price lunches, thenpoverty exists in those inner rings of older suburbs.Size-Begets-Growth Phenomenon The importance of the immigrant gateways in both attracting andmaintaining large Hispanic populations is evident in the rankings of the topmetropolises for numerical gains in Hispanics during the 1990s. The tenmetro centers with the largest Hispanic populations also had the largestpopulation gain. Together they attracted more than half (52 percent) ofnew Hispanic immigrants between 1990 and 1996. The top ten collectivelyhouse 58 percent of the nations Hispanic residents. These metropolises include Miami, where Cubans have come; NewYork City, gaining Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, and other Caribbean-originHispanics; and Chicago, a continuing magnet for Mexicans. The otherseven metro areas lie close to the Mexican border and continue to build onlarge, existing Latin American residents. 7. As with Hispanics, Asians have given the large gatewaymetros the greatest numerical growth. Together, Los Angeles,New York City, and San Francisco account for 39 percent of thenations gains in Asian residents since 1990. Forty-three percentof all U.S. Asians live in these three urban areas. Chineseimmigrants are heavily drawn to New York City, Filipinos to LosAngeles, and both show a large presence in San Francisco.Blacks and the New SouthTracking the movement of Americas black population maybe even more challenging than tracking Hispanics and Asians.Many blacks are still concentrated regionally in Northern urbancenters and in the South. The popularity among blacks for therevitalized New South represents the greatest gain in Southernmetros for blacks in the 1990s. The Atlanta metro area isrepresentative of these new attractive markets. With a boomingeconomy and a large black middle class, working-class andmiddle-class blacks from all national origins made Atlanta thebiggest gaining metro area for blacks between 1990 and 1996. 8. Two generations ago, freed slaves and sharecroppersmoved from regions like this to the North, where they gotjobs in manufacturing, especially the auto industry. Theirchildren prospered, often were able to go to college, andtheir grandchildren are now the ones who are moving backto the South to take leadership positions in government andbusiness. Other growing metros with similar metropolitancharacteristics that dot the Southeast and have alsoattracted blacks include Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte,North Carolina, and Houston-Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. In northern metros such as New York City and Chicago,large population gains are deceptive. The numbers representa natural increase among already-existing black populationswho migrated in previous decades. If the domestic trend hadcontinued, the number of new black residents in thesenorthern metro areas would have been even greater.Instead, these areas are losing blacks to domestic migrationto the South. 9. White Migration As the largest ethnic population in the United States, whites are evenmore widely dispersed than blacks across the nation. The white migrationtends to be toward different metropolitan areas than that of the Hispanics andAsians. Whites appear to be more responsive to growing economicopportunities in western and southern states. White growth is occurringmostly in Texas, the Southeast, and the Rocky Mountain states near California.White employment in services and construction is driving white migration toLas Vegas and Orlando. Weather is another attraction for white migrants. The allure oftemperate climates is especially appealing to retirement-age whites. Unlikemigrants of other ethnicities, whites seem to feel to move (Hodgkinson, 1998). Between 1990 and 1996, more than one-fourth of the nations 271metros lost populations. These include cities with struggling economics in theNortheast such as Providence, Rhode Island; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; andSpringfield, Massachusetts. Yet the three greatest white population lossesoccurred in metros whose economics were viable, namely, New York City, LosAngeles, and San Francisco. They are also the greatest-gaining metro areas forHispanics and Asians (H