How did the demographics of the US change in the 1980s and 1990s?

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In the past few decades, the demographics of the US have changed considerably. The population has continued to increase, and at a higher rate than most other developed countries (who typically see their population stagnate). The US has also gotten older, as the Baby Boomer generation has reached old age. At the same time, the higher population growth also means that the United States has retained a higher proportion of younger people than most developed countries. Perhaps most importantly, however, the US has seen a dramatic change in diversity. Immigration has continued into the country, bringing in people of different cultures from all around the world.

The biggest change, however, has been the rise in the Hispanic population in the United States. From 1980 to 2000, the Hispanic population grew by over 20 million, from 14.6 million in 1980 to over 35 million in 2000. This was the result of immigration into the US as well as higher fertility rates than other demographic groups in the US. Their total share of the US population grew from 6.4% in 1980 to 12.5% in 2000, nearly doubling in only twenty years.

In American society, this rise in the Hispanic population has been the biggest aspect of an increasingly diverse population. This has been partially caused by a decrease in growth of the white population in the United States, which is now the slowest growing group in the country. Most predictions place the white population below 50% of the total population by 2050. Like many times in American history, the influx of different cultures has affected the general culture; Hispanic culture in particular has become increasingly prominent and mainstream.

This increasingly diverse electorate has also transformed politics. Appealing to diverse groups is not a new strategy in the United States, but it has become an increasingly viable and even necessary tactic in the twenty-first century. As the US becomes increasingly more diverse and non-white, political power has moved away from the classic white Protestant group that has been the dominating force in American politics since the country’s founding. Some have argued this has had a positive effect on domestic politics, as different, often marginalized groups have newfound political voice and involvement.

The increasing diversity has also caused a backlash, however, mostly from the traditional white population. Recent elections have suggested that diversity has not been viewed as a purely positive force in American society. As it continues to increase in America, and white political power continues to decline, it calls into question how future political struggles will be framed, and how much these demographic shifts will play into those conflicts.

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