New Faces of America: Gerber Babies of Many Races Reflect Future America
Birth rates suggest white majority could become minority around 2042.
June 26, 2011 — -- Twenty years ago, there was the "Gerber Baby" and it was a white child.
Today's Gerber commercials, on the other hand, feature not one baby, but dozens of faces from all different races.
Yartezy Sanchez, born June 15 in New York City, has become part of the "Gerber Baby" evolution.
New census figures suggest children such as Yaretzy and the other Gerber babies could reflect the face of America's future: For the first time ever, non-white Americans, Latino, African-American, and Asian American outnumber white children.
"The idea where we had a white, middle-class population that we talked about in the 1950s and 1960s, that's disappearing," said William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institute.
The new generation is still in the cradle, but as the infants grow up America will start to look very different.
Already, the trend lines are becoming clearer: Older Americans are whiter. Younger Americans are more non-white.
Most of the change is being driven by a surging Latino population with a much higher birth rate than any other ethnic group. It is further bolstered by legal immigration.
In fact, according to the Census Bureau, more than half of the growth in the U.S. population between 2000 and 2010 was because of growth in the Hispanic population. Between 2000 and 2010 the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent while the non-Hispanic population grew only 5 percent.
Latinos have already passed African Americans as America's largest minority. Latino Americans now number close to 50 million people compared to 38 million African Americans.
Whites remain a majority. About 223 million people in the United States reported they are white, which accounts for 72 percent of all people living in the United States.
A March 2011 study in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry journal about multiracial children pointed out that two million American children have parents of different races, making them one of the fastest growing segments in America.
The implications of this evolving America are poised to touch everything from politics, where Hispanic voters wield increasing power, to education.
"We need to focus on making sure that we can adjust and adapt our educational systems for people who speak different languages at home than they do outside," Frey said.
Within the ranks of non-white Americans, there also are some notable changes. Among African Americans, there is an alarming increase in the percentage of children growing up in single-parent households.
According to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, 2009 started a surge of minority enrollment, particularly with Hispanics, in medical schools.
Sometime before baby Yaretzy turns 40 -- right now demographers see it happening around 2042 -- she likely will be part of a new non-white majority in America.
Yaretzy's mom, Tanya Avila, simply wants the same as any parent for her newborn -- "that she have everything that she want, and a good life."