This Ain't Mayberry!

Who is America? For many years, people have seen America as “Mayberry,” the fictitious town of the Andy Griffith show. Mayberry, a small North Carolina town, was made up of a relatively homogeneous group of people whose differences ranged from a simplistic yet opinionated barber to the town “wino” that locked himself in prison when intoxicated. The security of Mayberry was exhibited in the one-bullet blundering deputy. Mayberry was safe, and that is why so many people long for a “Mayberry,”

However, North America is not “Mayberry” as the ethnic and cultural landscape is rapidly changing. The United States Census Bureau projects that by the year 2050 majority non-Hispanic whites will no longer be the majority in the United States. A March 18, 2004 article in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, written by Shweta Govindarajan of the Cox Washington Bureau, quoted one study that notes in particular the phenomenal African American and Hispanic population growth that is occurring at a faster rate then earlier predicted.
The growth of the U.S. population is speeding up, and so is the change in its racial and ethnic makeup, the U.S. Census says. In a new set of projections released today, the Census Bureau estimates the U.S. population will reach 420 million in 2050, nearly 50 percent more than the current figure. It also says that because of a declining birthrate and Baby Boomers reaching the end of their life spans, the non-Hispanic white majority will decline to 50.1 percent of the total by mid-century.
Not only is the African American and Hispanic population exploding but also the Asian and Euro-Asian populations are increasing steadily.[1]
Meanwhile, it says, both the Hispanic and African-American populations will grow faster than previously projected. The projections represent an updating of figures released in 2000, which projected the 2050 population at 404 million, with 53 percent of the total non-Hispanic whites. Currently, that group accounts for a little more than 75 percent of the population. The fastest increase is expected to be among Asians, whose population is projected to grow by 213 percent to 33.4 million in 2050, representing 8 percent of the total population. That is a slight decrease from the earlier projection of 37.6 million (Govindarajan 2004).
In fact, the US Census Bureau tells us that in Hawaii, New Mexico, California, and Texas the non-Hispanic white population is no longer the majority. Maryland, Mississippi, Georgia, New York, and Arizona all have a minority population of greater than 39 percent. In addition, much of the new Hispanic population is not in the large urban areas as has been seen in the past. Rather the Census Bureau points out that the new Hispanic growth is in the same locals as the non-Hispanic White growth. These include parts of the country that up until now has not experienced this. Hispanic immigration is following the jobs which in turn follows the new growth areas. In other words, every corner of North America is changing ethnically and culturally. Minorities now makeup more than 33 percent of the population, compared with 16 percent in 1970. The so-called majority population is disappearing![2]

Though North America has long been an ethnic and cultural mix, this internationalization of North America represents a drastic shift away from Western European immigration and therefore the prominence of Western European thought is rapidly waning. This change is also having significant impact on the non-Hispanic white population as noted in the effects of post-modernity. As these changes take place, the Church finds herself increasingly out of touch with the world she lives in. In order to be faithful to the Great Commission the church must fully understand the changing cultural landscape in which she operates.

[1] The latest United States census figures support this study’s finding. Projections by the Census estimate that the white alone, not Hispanic population, in 2050 will be 210,283 million representing 50.1 percent of the population of the United States. Hispanics of any race will number 102,560 million, while Blacks alone will number 61,361 million.
[2] Carl Haub, a senior demographer with the Population Reference Bureau in Washington.

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