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Published by Niche Marketing & Planet Mogul, 2017-04-08 12:38:14

Envisioning the South without People of Color

Demographics - Workforce

Keywords: Hispanic,Disruptive Demographics,Demographics,Workforce

Envisioning the South Without People of Color

James H. Johnson Jr.
Allan M. Parnell
Emma Boundy

Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise
Kenan-Flagler Business School

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
November 2016

Introduction, Critical Background, and to the early 20th century, migration—both
Purpose domestic and international—was largely re-
sponsible for this growth (Johnson, Farrell, &
For most of the 20th century, the American Guinn, 1997; Johnson and Kasarda, 2009).
South was an economically depressed region
inhabited primarily by blacks and whites. Since 1970, the South has attracted diverse
With limited economic opportunities and suf- domestic migrants, including black and white
focating racial problems, out-migration ex- first-time movers and returnees as well as
ceeded in-migration, that is, more people left retiring snowbirds from the Northeast, Mid-
than moved to the region. Partly for this rea- west, and the West (Johnson and Kasarda,
son, the South captured only about 30% of net 2011). A diverse pool of international mi-
national population growth in every decade grants, including newcomers from throughout
between 1910 and 1970. This modest growth Latin America (especially Mexico), Asia, and
was due principally to natural population in- the Middle East, have also settled in the re-
crease, more births than deaths (Johnson and gion (Johnson, Farrell, & Guinn, 1997; John-
Kasarda, 2011). son, 2013). Largely because of this influx of
newcomers from other states and countries,
More recently, the South has experienced a people of color have accounted for about 80%
demographic reversal. In every decade since of South’s population growth over the past 15
1970, the region has captured about half of years (Johnson,, 2016).
net national population growth. For exam-
ple, between 2000 and 2010, 53% of U.S. net Further contributing to the region’s diversity,
population growth (27.2 million ) was con- dramatic changes in age and family structure,
centrated in the South (14.3 million). The na- marriage patterns, living arrangements, and
tion’s population grew by another 12 million religious practices have accompanied this
between 2010 and 2015 with over half of this migration-driven population change (John-
growth in the South (6.9 million). In contrast son and Kasarda, 2011; Johnson and Parnell,

RegionRaelgSiohnaalrSehsaroesf oNf eNtetPPooppuullaatitoinoGnroGwrtoh,w2t0h00, 2- 2000105 - 2015

Year NE MW S W Net Growth

2000 - 2010 6.0% 9.0% 53.0% 32.0% 26,884,972

2010 - 2015 7.4% 7.7% 52.3% 32.5% 12,071,957

Source: Census 2010 and ACS, 2015.

2 — Envisioning the South Without People of Color

Nonwhite Shares of South’s Net Population Growth, 2010 - 2015

Nonwhite Shares of South’s Net Population Growth, 2010 - 2015

Year Net Growth

2000 - 2010 Nonwhite %: 79.6 14,318,924

2010 - 2015 Nonwhite %: 80.9 6,319,986

Source: Census 2010 and ACS, 2015.

2013; Brunn, 2015). Linguistic diversity is of active hate groups (Potok, 2016), that the
also a product of this population influx. Near- multiculturalism that undergirds this popula-
ly one fifth of the South’s population 5 years tion diversity is actually ruining the “south-
or older—close to 20 million people--spoke a ern” way of life. In response, neo-confederate
language other than English in the home in groups like the League of the South (LOS)
2013 (Ryan, 2013). have revived the segregationist agenda that
held sway in the South for much of the 20th
As Table 1 shows, the percentage of the pop- Century (Flint, 2014).1
ulation speaking a language other than Eng-
lish in the home varies from state to state. As LOS in particular asserts that “southern de-
expected, the high concentrations are in the mographic displacement” is a major threat, a
longstanding immigrant gateway states of supposed federal policy to replace the Anglo-
Texas (35%) and Florida (28%). There are Celtic culture of the region with foreign peo-
also significant concentrations in the new im- ple and their culture. Further, to address this
migrant magnet states of Maryland (17%), perceived problem, LOS “advocates a second
Virginia (15%), Georgia (13%), and North Car- Southern succession and a society dominated
olina (11%). In total, more than 300 differ- by “European Americans” . . . [a] “godly” na-
ent primary home languages are now spoken tion . . . run by an “Anglo-Celtic” (read: white)
in the region (North Carolina Department of elite that would establish a Christian theo-
Public Instruction, 2016; Ryan, 2013). cratic state and politically dominate blacks
and other minorities” (Beirich, 2013). In its
In our hyper-competitive global economy and most extreme form, LOS and some of the oth-
business environment, most corporate and er active hate groups advocate dismissing all
political leaders understand that this diver- people of color from the South—everyone but
sity is a value add for the region. However, white Christians who they claim epitomize
there is growing sentiment, reflected mainly
in the views espoused by a growing number 1 More recently, according to its President Michael Hill, LOS has eschewed the label of being
a neo-confederate organization characterizing itself instead as “ a present- and future-oriented
Southern Nationalist organization that seeks the survival, wellbeing, and independence of southern
people” (Shipps, 2015).

Envisioning the South Without People of Color — 3

Table 1: Population 5 Years or Older Speaking Other than English in the Home, 2011

Area 2011 2011 Population Percent of
Total Population
Total Population Speaking a Language Other
Than English at Home 18.3
United States 291,524,091 60,577,020 7.5
South 108,393,844 19,789,945 15.0
Alabama 4,504,275 235,830 13.4
Arkansas 2,740,313 204,666 8.7
Delaware 851,887 115,717 3.8
District of Columbia 581,764 87,516 9.3
Florida 17,983,218 4,959,186 6.9
Georgia 9,144,183 1,214,783 14.9
Kentucky 4,090,258 197,131

Louisiana 4,261,861 371,986

Maryland 5,465,168 914,110

Mississippi 2,773,115 105,186

North Carolina 9,020,678 966,322

Oklahoma 3,527,312 329,017

South Carolina 4,376,509 289,004

Tennessee 6,003,565 414,669

Texas 23,721,334 8,221,202

Virginia 7,588,188 1,132,310

West Virginia 1,751,216 40,310

Source: Compiled by authors from Table 4 in Ryan (2013).

traditional southern values (SPLC, 2015; Hut- Our aim in this paper is to answer a single ba-
sic question: What would the demography of
son, 2014).2 the South look like if the hate groups got their
way, that is, if people of color were barred
2 There is growing evidence that these views extend beyond the South and may encompass from the region? To answer this question,
broad stretches of America today, especially communities occupied by less than college educated we draw upon data from the Census Bureau’s
whites who are discontent with their current status and perceived future prospects in America 2015 American Community Survey and other
(Davis and Fields, 2016; Bahrampour and Clement, 2016). Describing the sources of this public data sources for the 16 states (plus Dis-
discontent, Potok (2016) argues trict of Columbia), 173 congressional districts,
and 1,437 counties that make up the South.
They are angry over the coming loss of a white majority (predicted for 2043 by the Census We specifically focus on the impact of minor-
Bureau) , the falling fortunes of the white working class, worsening income inequality, the rise of ity exclusion on the geopolitical, age, and oc-
left-wing movements like Black Lives Matter, major advances for LGBT people, growing numbers cupational structure of the region.
of refugees and undocumented workers, terrorism, and more.
He goes on to note that, “their anger, above all, is directed at the government.”

Given the breadth and depths of this white working- and middle-class discontent, some would
argue that the rhetoric that undergirds Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s “Make
America Great Again” campaign slogan is a not so thinly veiled advocacy for a far less diverse
nation than exists today—an effort to rally beleaguered working class and, to a lesser extent, mid-
dle class whites, especially the less educated” around his candidacy for President (Potok, 2016).
Among other insults and cultural faux pas, his negative stereotyping of non-white immigrants
(Mexicans, Muslims, and Syrian refugees) and gross generalizations about the plight of African
American communities support this view. And his association with the Alt-Right Movement and
endorsement from former Klansman David Duke reinforce this view (Potok, 2016).

4 — Envisioning the South Without People of Color

Figure 1

Nonwhite Population Exclusions Impact on Southern States

Source: Authors based on ACS, 2015. lion), Oklahoma (32% or 1.2 million), South
Carolina (36% or 1.7 million), and Virginia
Findings (36% or 2.9 million). And two states—Arkan-
sas (26% or 736,000) and Tennessee (25% or
At the most basic level, the South would lose 1.6 million)--would lose about one-quarter of
48.1 million people, 41% of its 2015 popula- their populations.
tion, and the region’s population geography
would be dramatically transformed if people These population losses would realign elec-
of color were expunged. Figure 1 presents a toral representation and, therefore, political
graphic depiction of the South without people power and influence. Washington, DC and
of color. the two longstanding immigrant gateway
states of Texas and Florida, as well as Georgia
Because their residents historically have been and Maryland, would lose population shares.
predominantly white, only Kentucky and West Nearly all of the remaining southern states—
Virginia would be relatively unaffected if non- most with relatively small nonwhite popula-
whites were removed (14% and 7% population tions—would gain population shares from mi-
decline, respectively). If white segregation- nority expulsion. Mississippi and Delaware
ists got their way, Washington, DC would lose are the two exceptions as their populations
65% of its population (409,552). The popula- shares would remain unchanged (Table 2).
tion of Texas would decline by 57% (15.8 mil-
lion) and the population of Mississippi (42% Owing to hyper-racial residential segregation
or 12.3 million), Maryland (46% or 2.7 mil- (Johnson,, 2015), the loss of people of
lion), Louisiana (40% or 1.9 million), Georgia color would result in 18 congressional dis-
(45% or 4.4 million), and Florida (45% or 8.4 tricts—mainly in Texas and Florida, but also
million) would each decline by more than for- Georgia and Tennessee--losing between 75%
ty percent. Six states would experience pop- and 90% of their populations. Another 27
ulation declines in the 30-40 percent range: districts, from nearly every state in the South,
Alabama (33% or 1.6 million), Delaware (36%
or 327,000), North Carolina (35% or 3.5 mil-

Envisioning the South Without People of Color — 5

Table 2: State Shares of Total Population With and Without People of Color

State With People of Without People of Color
Alabama 4.1 4.6
Arkansas 2.5 3.1
Delaware 0.8 0.8
District of Columbia 0.5 0.3
16.5 15.8
Florida 8.4 7.9
Georgia 3.7 5.4
Kentucky 3.9 4.0
Louisiana 5.0 4.6
Maryland 2.5 2.5
Mississippi 8.3 9.1
North Carolina 3.3 3.7
Oklahoma 4.0 4.4
South Carolina 5.5 7.0
Tennessee 22.2 16.7
Texas 7.0 7.5
Virginia 1.6 2.5
West Virginia

Source: ACS, 2015

Figure 2

Nonwhite Population Exclusions Impact on Southern Congressional District

Source: Authors based on ACS, 2015.
6 — Envisioning the South Without People of Color

Figure 3

Nonwhite Population Exclusion-Induced County Level Changes in the Median Age

Change in Years

would lose between 50% and 75% of their the median age would increase between 5 and
populations. In 84 congressional districts, the 9 years. In 89 counties, the median age would
population would decrease between 25% and increase between 10 and 19 years. And in 5
49%. And 31 congressional districts would counties, the median age would increase be-
experience modest population declines, los- tween 20 and 31 years if nonwhites were dis-
ing between 4% and 25% of their populations charged. In the most extreme case, Zapata
(Figure 2). County, Texas, the median age would increase
from 29 to 61 (Figure 3).
Because the white population (median age
43) is much older than the nonwhite popula- Further unpacking the effects on the age com-
tion (median age 31), minority exclusion also position, whites made up 61% of the 45-54,
would have a profound impact on the South’s 67% of the 55-64, and 81% of the 65+ cohorts
age structure. For the South as a whole, the in 2015. Minority exclusion would have only
median age would increase by 5 years-- from modest impacts on these age cohorts. The
38 to 43 if nonwhites were ousted. But in close major impacts would be felt in the under 20,
to one third of the region’s counties (439) the 20-29, and 30-44 age cohorts where, respec-
median age would increase by more than 5 tively, 52%, 48%, and 46% of the population
years. In the majority of these counties (345) was nonwhite in 2015. This is because migra-

Envisioning the South Without People of Color — 7

Figure 4
Percent Nonwhite Population by Age in The South, 2015

Age 52% Nonwhite Absolute
Under 20 Number


20 - 29 48% Nonwhite 16,759,647

30 - 44 46% Nonwhite 23,687,060

45 - 54 39% Nonwhite 16,126,830

55 - 64 33% Nonwhite 15,046,052

65 + 19% Nonwhite 16,597,200

Source: ACS, 2015.

Figure 5

County Level Impacts of Minority Exclusion on Old Age
Dependency Rates

Target Group Low Older Adults/100 Workers High Extremely No. of Counties
(<.25) Moderate (.25 - .39) .40 - .59 High 1,422

Target Population 43.8% 49.9% 5.5% 0.8%

White Population 20.7% 62.6% 14.1% 2.5% 1,422

Source: Compiled by Authors from ACS, 2015.

8 — Envisioning the South Without People of Color

Figure 6

Old Age Dependency Rates in a Whites-Only South

> .60
.40 - .59
.25 - .39

Source: Authors based on ACS, 2015.

tion both from other regions and from abroad ate (.25-.39), high (.40 - .59), and extremely
is age-selective—younger adults are much high (.60+) dependency ratios, as illustrated
more likely to move—and these young adults in Figure 5. More specifically, the number of
are forming families. counties with low dependency rates would de-
crease by 53 percent while the numbers with
An aging predominantly-white population moderate, high, and extremely high depend-
and a much younger non-white population ency rates would increase by 26 percent, 156
would translate into sharply rising old age percent, and 200 percent, respectively.
dependency rates (the ratio of older adults to
prime working age adults) if nonwhites were If non-whites were forced out, most of the
expelled from the South. For the entire South, counties with resulting high and extremely
the old age dependency rate was .22 in 2015. high dependency rates would be concen-
That is, there were 22 people age 65 or older trated, as Figure 6 reveals, in West Virginia,
for every 100 individuals between the age of Kentucky, Alabama, Misissippi, Arkansas,
18 and 64. If nonwhites (.10 old age depend- Oklahoma, and Texas. There also would be
ency rate) were dislodged, the region-wide old “islands” of high and extremely high old age
age dependency rate would rise to .31. dependency in other states. Maintaining a so-
cial safety net for older adults and other vul-
Across the region, there would be a precipi- nerable populations in these counties would
tous drop in the share of counties with low old be nearly impossible.
age dependency ratios (.25 or less) and sig-
nificant increases in the shares with moder- More broadly, the provision of essential ser-

Envisioning the South Without People of Color — 9

Minority Exclusion-Induced Direct Employment Losses

Occupation Total Employment

Services 52% 6,196,676

Production 46% 2,390,896

Computers, Engineering, 34% 574,848
and Science 34% 644,595
31% 271,568
Healthcare practitioners and 28% 214,753

Education, training and


Source: ACS, 2015.

vices throughout the South would be severely my. According to site selection and relocation
compromised if all non-whites were forced consultants, these are all core elements of the
to leave. With devastating impacts on the tax portfolio of attributes that make the South
base, the region would lose 52% of those em- an attractive place to live and do business
ployed in services (5.1 million), 46% of those (Cleave, et. al., 2016; Chamania, Mehta, and
in goods production (1.5 million), 34% of the Sehgal, 2010). Minority exclusion, therefore,
work force in computers, engineering and sci- would have a devastating effect on the region’s
ences (933,000), 34% of healthcare practi- ability attract and retain talent and business-
tioners/technicians (1.1 million), 31% of edu- es. Moreover, the roles of people of color in
cators (1.0 million), and 29% of managers (1.5 the region’s economy will have to expand as
million). The ripple effects--both indirect and whites continue to age out of the workforce.
induced--of these employment losses would
result in an untold number of additional job It is unimaginable to think that we can thrive
losses. and prosper as a region and as a nation with-
out people of color—both native- and foreign-
Concluding Remarks born. Our diversity is a strength and it would
behoove all of us to understand how much
A repeated theme among white separatists value it adds in our otherwise aging society.
and their supporters is that blacks, Latinos, The more diverse we are as a people, the more
and other people of color are “takers,” not creative and innovative we are likely to be as
contributors, to our economy and society. To we strive to maintain our competitiveness in
the contrary, people of color are deeply inte- an unsparing global economy. As in the past,
grated into the fabric of the South—its culture, our greatness, now and in the future, is deeply
foods, music, and arts, as well as the econo- rooted in our diverse gene pool of talent from
around the world.
10 — Envisioning the South Without People of Color

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12 — Envisioning the South Without People of Color

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