This year’s Kids Count commentary featured an investigation into Nebraska demographics and how they are expected to change from now to 2050. This blog series is diving into these predictions and providing a brief overview of the commentary. The first post described what Nebraska looks like currently and how the overall population in anticipated to change to 2050. Last week we dove into the state’s population getting older. Our next topic is Nebraska growing more diverse.
Currently, Nebraska’s population of people of color has a pyramid structure (see Fig. 15 at right from the report) indicating that the population is relatively young. In the years to come it will continue to grow. Since the 1980s, the population of people of color in Nebraska has experienced steady growth – from approximately 6% of the population being people of color in 1980, to around 18% now, and to a projected 38% by 2050.
In the coming years, the state’s population growth overall will begin to slow. Despite this, all groups, except those who are White Non-Hispanic, will continue to grow. the largest growth will be in those who are Hispanic.
In the chart at right (Fig. 19 from the Kids Count Report), you can see the proportion of the White population decreasing over time and the Hispanic, Black and Other categories growing. Over the past 20 years, Nebraska’s Hispanic population has grown 4.5 times and this trend will continue, reaching approximately 24% of the total population by 2050. Those who are Black Non-Hispanic and Other Non-Hispanic will show steady growth which will lead to a larger share of the population being people of color in the coming years.
With a growing population of people of color, especially children, it becomes more important than ever to focus on reducing disparities in health, education, poverty and safety among those groups. As the population of people of color grows, these disparities impact more and more children and a growing share of the state’s population.
Voices for Children recommends that Nebraska increases focus on reducing disparities for children of color. With the growing population of people of color, it is more important than ever that the state works to find solutions to barriers to opportunity for historically disadvantaged populations. This means employing cradle-to-career strategies targeted toward economically vulnerable families starting with access to quality affordable early childhood education and ending with innovative strategies to encourage the pursuit of higher education.