America’s young children are more racially diverse than ever before, according to a Census report released Thursday morning, which finds that approximately half of all children under five are racial minorities.
Additionally, the fastest percentage of population growth is among self-identified multiracial Americans—especially fascinating in a time when ads featuring interracial families still spark controversy.
Multiracial Americans still only make up about 2.4% of the population, but that number grew by 6.6% from 2010 to 2012. The next largest growth came from Asians (2.9% growth) and Hispanics (2.2% growth).
The Census Bureau only recently changed its guidelines to allow respondents to identify as multiracial starting in 2000. In the first decade that the bureau tracked that growth, the number of multiracial children grew by nearly 50%.
The new data also shows that among non-Hispanic white Americans, deaths exceeded births in 2012 for the first time in a century.
White immigration rates offset the loss in population that came from declining birth rates, leading to a 1.9% growth overall. However, high immigration and birth rates among racial and ethnic minorities mean that those groups are growing more rapidly than whites, setting the stage for an increasingly diverse America.
The nation’s total minority population sits at 37% today, and half of all children under 18 are expected to be non-white in five years, according to projections.
The report also found that more than 1 in 5 children under the age of 5 live in poverty. African-American and Hispanic children in that age group are the most likely to be poor.
“More so than ever, we need to recognize the importance of young minorities for the growth and vitality of our labor force and economy,” Brookings Institution demographer William Frey told the Associated Press.