Based on recent reports and the 2010 census, ethnic populations in several major U.S. cities are undergoing severe permutations.
According to 24/7 Wall St., the populations of 22 of the 100 largest cities in America now have minority groups that, when added together, outnumber the once white majority.
This raises some interesting questions, but perhaps the most interesting one is posed by 24/7 Wall St. when they ask whether or not the population shifts have "any implications that state and federal governments should consider to better address economic and other concerns."
This question is particularly interesting because, according to several welfare state studies, minority groups are at an unfortunate disadvantage in regards to economic and social measures like unemployment, education and median income.
This is not new; it has been the case for many years.
However, what must be stressed is that this is not because of an inherent racism in America (as some would insist). On the contrary, several conservative economists, most notably Milton Friedman, posit that it is because of a misguided compassion (as opposed to racially-charged viciousness) in the form of government intervention that this economic disparity has been prolonged and exacerbated.
When one disrupts the natural state of the marketplace with things like minimum wage laws, no matter how good the intention, they disrupt the natural advancement of the worker (minority or not). (Ronald Reagan said it best when he quipped: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'”)
This brings us back to the original question: should these population shifts bring about specific local/national economic considerations?
24/7 Wall St. makes the argument that, because different areas have different racial compositions, solutions to joblessness and high unemployment rates may need to be affected through local programs, rather than national ones that treat all regions and cities the same.
They also reviewed the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program’s “State of Metropolitan America” to identify the cities where minorities are now in the majority. The survey found that “Non-whites and Hispanics accounted for 98 percent of population growth in large metro areas from 2000 to 2010. Forty-two of the 100 largest metro areas lost white population.” According to the report, “Smaller metro areas and areas outside of metropolitan regions, by contrast, remain overwhelmingly white.”
It is in the largest cities that the shifting ethnic mix is most notable. The rapid immigration of white populations into the U.S. ended 90 years ago and has been replaced by an influx of Asian and Hispanic immigrants, many of whom now have been here for more than a generation. Similarly, a century ago the black population was concentrated primarily in the Deep South. Many blacks migrated north for industrial jobs in the 1920s and 1930s. Growth in the black population has added to the ethnic diversity of many large northern cities.
This is all a matter of historical record. One should not concern themselves with whether or not a population shift is a "good" or "bad" thing, as it is a morally neutral act, but how best to address the question of ethnic economic discrepancies with genuine concern (emphasis on the word "genuine").
It is through addressing the latter, rather than the former, that one has the best chance of promoting an efficient and robust marketplace (where everyone benefits). Friedman argued that if one were to promote the natural dissolution of ethnic economic disparity, and allow the free market to dictate an employee's worth, then the size of government and its ability to intercede "on the behalf of others" would naturally decrease because of the realization that it actually hurts those it is supposed to help.
When that happens, the markets will be freer to operate and they will generate more prosperity for all workers.
And who doesn't want that?
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