Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Milestone Demographic Shift Poses New Challenge to U.S. Institutions

March 10th, 2010 by Ajuan Mance


The Associated Press has reported that 2010 will likely mark the point at which the percentage of non-white babies born in the U.S. surpasses 50%. AP writer Hope Yen reports,

[D]emographers say this year could be the “tipping point” when the number of babies born to minorities outnumbers that of babies born to whites.

The numbers are growing because immigration to the U.S. has boosted the number of Hispanic women in their prime childbearing years. Minorities made up 48 percent of U.S. children born in 2008, the latest census estimates available, compared to 37 percent in 1990.

“Census projections suggest America may become a minority-majority country by the middle of the century. For America’s children, the future is now,” said Kenneth Johnson, a sociology professor at the University of New Hampshire who researched many of the racial trends in a paper being released Wednesday.

“Minority Births on Track to Outnumber White Births, Associated Press, March 10, 2010

For U.S. colleges and universities, too, the future will be determined by decisions made in the present. Babies born in this year will begin enter U.S. colleges and universities in 2018. This means that the nation’s 2- and 4-year colleges have less than 18 years to learn how to effectively attract and educate non-white college students.

At present, most U.S. minority groups have significantly lower college graduation rates than do white students. This trend is reversed for African American students at the most selective of the historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as well as at many of the nation’s most selective colleges and universities.

The time is now for those institutions that have very poor records of retaining and graduating even their most highly qualified African American students to look to HBCUs and selective majority-white schools and begin to adopt some of their strategies.

The issue of minority achievement on U.S. campuses is no longer a topic that the nation can afford to shroud in racially tinged discussion of I.Q., “reverse” discrimination, and the level playing field. In a nation in which, sooner than later, most college-aged young people will be non-white, the issue of how best to equip college to education educate all kinds of students is far too serious for political grandstanding and sound bite politics. It is an issue of national security, intellectual progress, and economic survival.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

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