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White births in US no longer a majority

White births in the US have been surpassed by racial and ethnic minorities, according to newest Census data.

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White births account for half of babies born in U.S., according to the newest Census numbers, making it official: white births are no longer the majority in America. Maria Castellanos, 35, of Inglewood, Calif., looks at her two-day-old baby girl, Esmeralda Ruby Castellanos, her sixth child in 2003 at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. It is the Mexican immigrant's first child born in the United States.

Damian Dovarganes/AP

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For the first time, racial and ethnic minorities make up more than half the children born in the US, capping decades of heady immigration growth that is now slowing.

New 2011 census estimates highlight sweeping changes in the nation's racial makeup and the prolonged impact of a weak economy, which is now resulting in fewer Hispanics entering the US.

"This is an important landmark," said Roderick Harrison, a former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau who is now a sociologist at Howard University. "This generation is growing up much more accustomed to diversity than its elders."

The report comes as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on the legality of Arizona's strict immigration law, with many states weighing similar get-tough measures.

"We remain in a dangerous period where those appealing to anti-immigration elements are fueling a divisiveness and hostility that might take decades to overcome," Mr. Harrison said.

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