GOP’s Iffy Future As Hispanic Population Grows
Policy + Politics

GOP’s Iffy Future As Hispanic Population Grows

Reuters/iStockphoto/The Fiscal Times

A new report from the Census Bureau shows that demographic trends for Republicans are becoming more challenging, because their voter base is dying off - literally.

While non-Hispanic white Americans remain the country’s largest population group, recently released data by the United States Census Bureau shows that that dominance is largely centered on the oldest segment of the population.

Non-Hispanic white Americans make up nearly 80 percent of the country’s population over the age of 65. But when looking at the future of America - those under the age of 15 - their numbers drop significantly to just over 50 percent of the population. In contrast, Latinos are nearly 25 percent of those under age 15, and just 7.5 percent of those over 65.

Related: Data Shows Immigrants No Longer Majority of Hispanics in U.S.

In 2013, the median age of non-whites was 30.5, while the median age of the non-Hispanic white population was 42.9 years. Non-Hispanic white Americans were the only group that experienced more deaths than births between 2012 and 2013. Due to their slow rate of growth in comparison to other groups, the non-Hispanic white share of the country’s population decreased from 63 percent to 62.6 percent during the same stretch of time.

This could be a problem for Republicans with a capital “P.” Here’s why:

As National Journal reported, minorities are expected to make up the majority of America’s population under the age of 18 within the next 10 years. As this cohort of the population reaches voting age, the white share of the vote – on which Republicans now strongly rely – will decrease.

Related: Tipping Point: America’s Government is Now Broken

Republicans have yet to find a way to appeal to Hispanic voters in large numbers, and continuing resistance to immigration reform is not helping their case. They may be able to hold onto the House for the foreseeable future, but as the demographic gap between older whites and young minorities continues to widen, Hispanics will have a louder voice in American politics and a greater presence in the country’s labor force. Races playing out across the country will become increasingly more challenging for the status quo Republican. 

Peter Wehner, a former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush, wrote in Commentary, “Republicans and conservatives have two choices: They can bemoan what’s happening, since non-white voters are less reliably Republican and conservative, offering up a lament for a lost America. They can focus their energy at getting a larger and larger share of a shrinking demographic group. Or they can offer a conservative governing vision and governing agenda that’s principled, reform-minded, and forward-looking, and that appeals to groups that have not traditionally been supportive of them.” 

At a minimum, Wehner said, “it would help if Republicans not make non-white voters feel like they’re unwelcome, a grave and growing threat to the social order.”

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