For several decades, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities has facilitated intensive learning experiences for high school students to explore issues of diversity. While there has always been a need for such programming, figures released this spring about rates of diversity among American youth shows that the importance of our work is greater than ever.
According to analysis in the Christian Science Monitor, “Never has America’s under-18 population been more racially and ethnically diverse, new census data show. A bare majority of children and youths are white, compared with 62.6 percent for the general population.” The article referenced a study conducted by Kenneth M. Johnson, Andrew Schaefer, Daniel T. Lichter, and Luke T. Rogers, all with The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. These authors found that, “for America’s children and youth, the future is now.”
What may also surprise some people is that the growth cannot be attributed to immigration. Instead, “the growing child diversity is fueled by U.S. births. More than 95 percent of the children in each major minority group were born in the United States.” Geographic shifts are also notable; no longer are racial and ethnic minority groups almost entirely concentrated in urban and coastal areas. Instead, there is a significant amount of suburban and rural growth.
It is clear that students will need, more than ever, to have the ability to work across lines of difference. At the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, we are proud to meet this need across the Commonwealth.