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California population: Hispanics projected to outnumber whites next year

January 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
There's a major demographic shift in California. According to researchers, the state's Hispanic population will equal that of whites by this summer.

Bill Schooling, a Calfiornia Department of Finance demographer, helped write the population projection. The report says Hispanics will outnumber whites by early next year.

"This is the first time that the white population has not been in the largest group in California," said Schooling.

Researchers looked at birth rates, death rates and immigration statistics to create the projection. The Hispanic population in California is young and that translates into higher numbers.

"The relative youth does provide the opportunity for more births, and it also means fewer deaths," said Schooling.

But just because the Hispanic population will be larger than other ethnicities, it doesn't mean they will be a dominant majority.

"Latinos are growing and they're becoming a bigger share," said Dowell Myers, a professor of planning and demography at the University of Southern California. "We're going to have a state of all minorities -- whites, Latinos and everybody else."

The state's white population is expected to drop to 30 percent by the year 2060, and Myers says only then will Hispanics be a dominant voting bloc.

"It's a partnership across ethnic groups. Nobody dominates. We're all in partnership. Nobody can win any elections without a multi-ethnic coalition," said Myers.

The new research shows that the state is growing at a slower rate than previous estimates. We are at 38 million right now. The report says California's population will hit 50 million in 2049. That's 17 years later than previous estimates, which planners say is good news for the state because it will give the government time to prepare for that growth.

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