The official confirmation had to wait until new population figures were released by the Census Bureau this summer. The new tally, released in late June, shows that as of July 1, 2014, about 14.99 million Latinos live in California, edging out the 14.92 million whites in the state.
The shift shouldn’t come as a surprise. State demographers had previously expected the change to occur sometime in 2013, but slow population growth pushed back projections. In January 2014, the state Department of Finance estimated the shift would take place at some point in March.
California is now the first large state and the third overall — after Hawaii and New Mexico — without a white plurality, according to state officials.
The country’s Latino population is now 55.4 million. California and Los Angeles County have the largest Latino populations of any state or county in the nation, according to the new figures.
The demographic shift has been a long time coming. In 1970, the 2.4 million Latinos in California accounted for 12% of the population, while the 15.5 million whites in the state made up more than three-quarters of residents, according to state figures. By 1990, the Latino population jumped to 7.7 million, or about 25% of the state’s population.
The Latino population is relatively young, with a median age of about 29, while the aging white population has a median age of 45. State demographers project Latinos will account for about 49% of Californians by 2060.
“It is going to accelerate,” Suro said. “This is really the beginning of a new phase that will play out over another generation.”
America is going to get a lot fatter, drunker, and more dangerous. Here’s small sample of Mexican images from my files.