Select Page

More Hispanic children are likely in the next generation because the number of Hispanic girls entering childbearing years is up more than 30% this decade, says Kenneth Johnson, demographer at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute.

The kindergarten class of 2010-11 (most of whom will graduate from high school in 2024) is less white, less black, more Asian and much more Hispanic than in 2000, reflecting the nation's rapid racial and ethnic transformation.

The profile of the 4 million children starting kindergarten reveals the startling changes the USA has undergone the past decade and offers a glimpse of its future. In this year's class, for example, about one of four 5-year-olds will be Hispanic…

A USA Today analysis of the most recent government surveys shows:

* About 25% of 5-year-olds are Hispanic; 19% in 2000. Hispanics of that age outnumber blacks almost 2 to 1.

* The percentage of white 5-year-olds fell from 59% in 2000 to about 53% today, and the share of blacks decreased from 15% to 13%.

* Asian children enrolled have increased slightly, from 4% in 2000 to 5% in 2009.

* The percentage of minority children is increasing even faster in suburban and rural areas than in urban areas.

* Schools are facing linguistic challenges. Spanish-speakers increased from 14% in 2000 to 16% today.

* Kindergarten enrollment is up, from 3.8 million in 2000 to about 4 million.

[27-29Aug2010, USA TODAY weekend, Haya El Nasser; Paul Overberg, A.1, "Ethnicity Shifts in Youngest Classes"; Census Bureau]