- Author: Lisa M. Rawleigh
The median age for white Americans is 41, 32 for Blacks, 31.6 for Asians and 27 for Latinos. Across the country, 80 percent of senior citizens are White, while nearly half of the nation’s youth are of color. These significant age disparities may be having far-reaching implications on resources invested in programs and areas benefiting younger generations.
Data show that states with a larger gap between median ages of Whites and people of color tend to make fewer investments in social programs, according to research by PolicyLink. States with significant age gaps between white and nonwhite populations tend to spend the least on education and public transportation.
The researchers indicate that in California public policy priorities have changed as the White population has aged. In the 1950s, when White families arrived from the Midwest in search of jobs, California built the nation’s best educational system. There were generous investments in the state’s infrastructure and programs to help families become homeowners.
Today, California has a considerable age gap between White and non-White residents. The median age for Whites is 43, and for Latinos 27, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Children of color comprise 70 percent of the state’s 18-and-under population while 60 percent of its over-65 population is White.
Beset with budget issues, California now hovers in the lower rungs of per-child spending on education, ranking 43rd nationally. It also ranks in the bottom quarter of all states in transportation funding, according to the Applied Research Center.
Source: America´s Wire, Maynard Media Center on Structural Inequity, “Experts: Expanding Age Gap between Whites and Minorities May Increase U.S. Racial Divide,” by Teresa Wiltz, July 10, 2012.