The Map of the Future

We all know that America’s demographics are rapidly shifting.

But when you see this amazing time-lapse map showing just how dramatically the face of America is changing, there’s no doubt we have to invest in America’s tomorrow.

Please view the map, share it, and tell us what you think it means for our nation’s future.

–Angela Glover Blackwell

PS – Many thanks to our partners at the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity for developing this map with us.

41 Responses to “The Map of the Future”

  1. avatar

    You really should take the time to find someone with an education to write the text on the map.

    EXAMPLE: "By 2042, the nation will be a majority people of color." This is just illiterate.

    EXAMPLE: There is a difference between "less" and "fewer" and if you're going to present demographics and statistics, you need to know what this difference is.

    I appreciate your spirit, but your presentation has very droopy drawers.

  2. avatar

    America needs to better prepare for its changing face. More dialogue needs to be had about what racial equality really means and its relationship to economic opportunity!

  3. avatar

    What this map means is that the political climate in the US will become significantly more hostile…..

  4. avatar

    I don't think the political climate will be more hostile, but I do think it will be different as the way and the message of the Old Guard becomes irrelevant and unwarranted. It will be interesting to see the new campaign tactics that are developed to reach demographics and regions.

    Aside from politics, I think America is going to need a face-lift in regards to infrastructure, education, and health to accomodate our diverse population. It's great that the country is diversifying, but we need to be a competitive nation with intelligent, innovative, and well-trained citizens. Right now we're far from that and due to the inequality in regards to basic living standards & opportunities, we're headed in the wrong direction as the the nation evolves. I'd rather the USA not end up like all the other great empires of yesteryear.

  5. avatar

    wouldn't it help if we knew some thing about the economic status -income, wealth or earning power of these people instead of just their race/ethnicity?

  6. avatar

    Society depends on stability in order to succeed. What this map tells me is that society is about to become drastically more unstable – possibly to a point of no return. As Americans become more and more provincial and politically and culturally fragmented, this shift in demographics tells me that we'll be in a country with no identity or common purpose- a place where citizens don't see the humanity or legitimacy of their neighbor.

    • avatar

      I've read and heard these arguments against our American model for a long time and in books that are two or three times my age. In comparison to other nations, this has always been a specious belief that has never materialized. In fact, the opposite has been materialized. For example, after every wave of immigration that resulted enclaves, upon economic stability and social acceptance, those enclaves later became a gene in every strand of our collective American DNA. Italians. Irish. Jews. Black and many brown Americans are denied the same elements of stability and acceptance, thus making their enclaves not enclaves at all, but ghettos, prisons, food deserts, and unincorporated communities.

      Had the Irish, Italians, Jews, etc not had the platform of enclaves to create a commonality among each other, they could not have created a commonality with America, they would have disappeared as identities. How can this country, this model of a nation not defined by genealogy or thousands years common history have an identity of its own when the individuals who make it up don't?

      • avatar

        Because we are all Angli-Saxon or at least western european. We share a common past, unlike the hoardes coming into the US refusing to assimilate and demanding we all adopt their culture

  7. avatar

    Cincinattus, you've got it all backwards. Studies show that people are more tolerant of those who are different from them when they're more frequently exposed to those who are different from them. Why do you think Obama did better among white voters in big cities than among white voters in small towns? Why do you think there's greater support for gay rights in big cities than in small towns? When people of other ethnicities, religious and sexual orientations are your next-door neighbors, it's a lot easier to see them as people rather than stereotypes.

    • avatar

      Obama did better among all voters because he presents himself as intelligent, well-educated, and able to do the work.

    • avatar

      Yeah….. That's exactly what happened when Western Rome was inundated with vandals and Huns and Visigoths…. Acceptance. This PC-ness being forced down our throats by people like you is going to have every American speaking Spanish and also being short brown and ugly by 2050

  8. avatar

    In my white family, my mother was always sure to voice her approval of interracial relationships, to the point of nudging her children towards them. She felt that multi-ethnic children benefit intellectually from their diverse family trees, and (however politically incorrect this may seem) tend to be better-looking and less likely to suffer from hereditary diseases. So I think we're going to see a lot of smart, culturally-sensitive young Americans with thick hair and good bone structure.

  9. avatar

    Do any of you know what it is like to be a person of color in a white/anglo society?

    Its not about "us" being educated or grammarically correct. Differences of white, brown,

    or people of color. The "less or fewer". . . it's economic, political, and educational racism

    that the collective "we" are dealing with.

    Let's continue supporting the youth voices that will be the leaders of the future. Let's help

    educate, finance, grow, and nurture our future advocates. The future voices of people of color.

  10. avatar

    From where I live, in 2040, you can still drive 6-8 hours in any direction and not see any color. So the vast middle of the continent will still be Whiteland. I don't see much changing there.

    • avatar

      Hi PA15017 — We have a different version of this map that shows counties with 25-40% people of color. Many of those are in "the vast middle of the continent." The demographic changes are happening everywhere…just look at Iowa in 2040. By 2040, it appears nearly every state in America (except VT, Maine, and WV) will have at least one county that is majority people of color.

  11. avatar

    What a great peek into the future. Sad though about how concentrated it is and all the overlays of health and poverty you can do with this. I think what's really going to matter is how many brown Americans will be invited to the white demographic in response, and in some cases, how many will choose to crash the party.

  12. avatar

    It means by 2020, the Republicans will lose Texas in the presidential election.

  13. avatar

    It means too many people are still too concerned about color, including y'all.

    • avatar

      No, not really, Noah. Well, you're right to an extent: Some people focus on the subject, to excess. On the other hand, it feels uncomfortable to discuss bias and unfairness due to "color". We are taught that it isn't nice to discriminate against [choose any of the categories in the chart].

      Fact remains though, no matter how awkward it is to acknowledge by some: There ARE problems. Root cause is not obvious i.e. WHY is there bias, what drives it? But I don't think that's the purpose here, Noah. It is more to inform.

      In public health studies, we differentiate between race and ethnicity. It is absolutely necessary to be concerned about color, because it becomes very clear, very fast, that variations in health status, among full American citizens, with theoretically equal access to health services, have inconsistent rates of mortality and disease prevalence. The first, easiest analysis, in order to figure out the reason for this, is to stratify by age, gender, race, ethnicity and geographic location. The differences are difficult to ignore. Causes are more difficult to determine, but the lack of parity is consistent and undeniable.

  14. avatar

    One thing it means is we will have a lot of older, retired people of European descent depending on a younger, more diverse population of working people for financial support. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out. Among the "non-white" folks I mostly interact with (mostly African Americans and Latinos) respecting and taking care of the elderly appears to be an important cultural value. This value seems to be expressed mainly within the context of the extended family, but I have the impression it also affects attitudes toward broader political issues. This demographic change may turn out to be a very good thing for us mostly white old fogies. Go figure.

  15. avatar

    I looked through the study methodology, but couldn't find it outlined. Just so I'm clear, can someone provide a definition of "people of color"?

  16. avatar

    WTF does "People of colour" mean, does that include Mexicans, what about white mexicans, descendants of the spanish from spain, are they considered People of colour? Would eva longoria be considered a person of color? Here in europe shes considered white, is it diferent in the USA, would dark skinned italians visiting the USA be considered people of color? What about the chinese that live in america, are they "People of color"? clarify please?

    • avatar

      Yo, if your ancestors were not either Angles, Jutes, Saxons, Danes, Normans, Germans, or Norwiggers then you're a Person of Colour…. Sorry

      • avatar

        Alfred the great: Nice description, particularly "Norwiggers". (I'm guessing that means Norwegians of non-Anglo Saxon, non-Teutonic, non-Finno-Ugric, non-Swedish or Danish ancestry… I lol'd slightly, although you seem to know what you're talking about, and I don't, not in that particular regard).

        Seriously though, all this quibbling about racial categorization seems like deflection and/ or denial. If everything were equitable, and social and political justice were meted out fairly, no one would even consider doing studies like this. Obviously, there are inequities, and unfairness. Some is unavoidable, but much is driven by ethnicity or racial bias. The people who did this study are not perfect, and there is no way to correctly classify everyone. But it is an attempt to convey a valid point. For the purposes here, it doesn't need to be flawless, as this particular Vimeo video is not driving public policy decision-makers, nor is it being used for directed campaign advocacy.

        I find it rather disheartening that so many of these comments are focused on the trees, not the forest. It is possible, probable, that the visual has some methodological flaws. It is more than adequate to convey a very basic message though!

        P.S. Alfred the Great, I'm not directing all this at you. Just got on a roll. No insult intended, not toward you!

  17. avatar

    This map reflects the changing face of the world and America is simply catching up……..
    Harriet Tubman Wright, MS. MA

  18. avatar

    This is ridiculous, what does "People of color mean", why are these demographics made in this way, I'm sure by "people of color" includes "White" Hispanics.

    "People of color" should be changed to, "People of Non Anglo or Germanic American heritage". I'm not American, I consider myself white, I'm Mediterranean, my skin is pale, if I was in America I would be considered white, my brother is darker skinned than me, he would be considered "of color" in America, this term is so disgusting and racist.

  19. avatar

    exactly. Why does color even matter? If you're an idiot, you're an idot, regardless of any "color" or "noncolor" that your skin tone may represent. Likewise if you're a good leader, you're a good leader. Talking about this just keeps racism alive. let's talk about real things that matter. employment, education, health.

  20. avatar

    P.S. – I was not referring to "you" personally – just speaking in general terms.

  21. avatar

    I understand and accept that "person of color" is a matter of self-identification, and deal regularly with the meaninglessness and internal contradictions of reporting statistics by race and ethnicity in my professional role in human services.

    I agree that the racial and ethnic face of America is changing. In my opinion, these changes are enriching and interesting and add value to any community.

    However, I'm struggling with the assertion that the root cause of Republican/right wing refusal to pay for social programs, community and educational services lies in the increasing numbers and percentages of people of color among the young. Or, to sum it up, racism, pure and simple.

    What other data or research or information supports this assertion? Without that, I can see a correlation between the trends, but not a clear causative relationship.

    Perhaps I am clinging to my last shred of naivete, but really, I need to see more objective evidence to accept this premisein its entirety.

  22. avatar

    the map explains in very clear terms what's happening. it tells the what, why, and who of the whole situation our country is grappling with but refuse to face. It is a bitter pill for some but we must remember it is not time to point the finger but rather educate regardless of how bitter it tmay be becaus it is too big and out of the hands of those in charge to stop it. One writers calls it the "Post American Order". Another called it "A New World Order" but not what was expected. And we could go on and on siting perceptive writer, scholars, acadamicians, grass roots leaders, social activist and other. But it's no more a secret, "the balance of position and authority( including economics, educations, politic, and religion), must be studied from another lens.

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