Staunton, June 21 – Russian media outlets are giving prominent play to a report by the US Bureau of the Census that “for the first time in the entire history of the United States, the white population has been contracting” over the last two years, sometimes illustrating such stories with pictures of Ku Klux Klan members (vz.ru/news/2018/6/21/928864.print.html).
Between 2015 and 2016, the number of those the Census Bureau counts as non-Hispanic whites declined by 31,516, a trend that has accelerated over the last year. Their total number now stands at 197,800,000. Meanwhile, the number of Hispanics increased by 2.1 percent, the number of Black Americans by 1.2 percent, and those of Asian origin by 3.1 percent.
Not only are the number of white Americans declining, but they are becoming older with their average age equally 43.5 years. Those from Latin America in contrast have an average age of 29.3 percent, a difference that has serious consequences for the future birthrate given that whites are now older than the prime childbearing cohort while Hispanics are in the middle.
Analysts at the Census Bureau say that whites will become “a national minority” in the United States before 2045.
This demographic sea change helps to explain much of the political turbulence that has roiled US politics over the last several years, turbulence that Moscow has done what it can to intensify. Groups that feel they are about to be displaced from their dominant position often behave worse and more defensively than those who sense they are on the rise.
But in reading about this trend in the United States, Russians can hardly avoid thinking that a similar trend is at work in the Russian Federation. Ethnic Russians while forming a larger share of the population of that country than whites do in the US nonetheless are in decline as well, while non-Russians and especially Muslims are growing more rapidly.
Consequently, some of the turbulence that Moscow sees and has backed in the United States will soon be coming to Russia as well, leading to the emergence of more “Russia for the Russians sentiment,” an idea the Kremlin recognizes as dangerous but may soon feel it has no choice but to play to.