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Nonwhite youth population growing in California and nation, report finds

April 6, 2011 |  8:22 am

Students at John C. Fremont school in Long Beach

The demographic picture of children in California and nationwide is changing dramatically, as nonwhites accounted for all the growth in the youth population from 2000 to 2010, according to a report released Wednesday by the Brookings Institution.

The study authored by William Frey used new data from the 2010 U.S. Census to find the nationwide population of white children declined by 4.3 million, while Asian and Latino children grew by 5.5 million.

“It’s an old story for Los Angeles, but it’s a new story for most of the rest of the country,” Frey said Wednesday. “California and Los Angeles are on the front lines of this.”

Frey said the new trends could be useful for school systems and policymakers who need to provide services for different youth populations and who need to “bridge the divide between older white residents who don’t see the needs of some of those younger more diverse populations.”

He said California and the greater Los Angeles area would likely be looked to as “guideposts” in how to best readjust to the demographic shifts because the issue is not as fresh in the state.

Another finding from the study was that 10 states and 35 metropolitan areas, including California and the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana area, have minority white children populations.

In California, 27% of all children are white, 6% are black, and 51% are Latino.

In the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana area, 21% of children are white, 58% are Latino and 6% are black, the study showed.

The population of children in California grew by less than 5% over the last decade, and among areas of the country gaining children, Los Angeles was the only major city to witness a decline in Latino youth.


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-- Ari Bloomekatz

Photo: Students at John C. Fremont school in Long Beach raise their hands while United States Secretary of Health And Human Services Kathleen Sebelius visits the campus to talk about healthy food choices on Oct. 12. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times