The number of youth from mixed majority-minority families, in which one parent is White and the other minority, is surging in the early twenty-first century. This development is challenging both our statistical schemes for measuring ethnicity and race as well as our thinking about their demographic evolution in the near future. This essay summarizes briefly what we know about mixed minority-White Americans and includes data about their growing numbers as well as key social characteristics of children and adults from mixed backgrounds. The essay concludes that this phenomenon highlights weaknesses in our demographic data system as well as in the majority-minority narrative about how American society is changing.
In the next quarter century, North American and Western European societies will face a profound transformation of their working-age populations as a result of immigration, combined with the aging of native majorities. These changes will intensify the challenges of integrating the children of lowstatus immigrants. Abundant evidence reveals that most educational systems, including that in the United States, are failing to meet these challenges; and sociological theories underscore these systems' role in reproducing inequality. However, the history of assimilation in the United States shows that native-/immigrant-origin inequalities need not be enduring. An examination of variations across time and space suggests educational policy changes and innovations that can ameliorate inequalities.