Richard Alba

Richard Alba is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is the recent co-author of Strangers No More: Immigration and the Challenges of Integration in North America and Western Europe


Recent Articles

Response to Comments

The Census Bureau needs to look at race in a more accurate and nuanced way. 

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
prospect-debates-icon.jpg This is a contribution to Prospect Debate: The Illusion of a Minority-Majority America . I am grateful for these commentaries, which expand on critical aspects of my article . Frank Bean rightly observes that the Census Bureau’s statistical system imposes a foolhardy binary logic—an individual American must be a member of the non-Hispanic white majority or belong to the minority population. This logic is increasingly at odds with the complexity of family backgrounds and obscures a major new demographic phenomenon: the rapid rise in the number of children growing up in mixed (especially white and minority) families. Moreover, in appearing to posit a minority population as a counterweight to the current white majority, the Census also encourages many Americans to overlook fundamental differences in societal position and historical experience among those classified as minorities. As Bean notes, the singularity of the African-American experience is...

The Likely Persistence of a White Majority

How Census Bureau statistics have misled thinking about the American future. 

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File
This article appears in the Winter 2016 issue of The American Prospect magazine . Subscribe here . Has the notion of demography as destiny ever enjoyed so much credence? The disappearance of a white majority in the United States by the middle of this century is now widely accepted as if it were an established fact. Projections by the Census Bureau have encouraged those expectations, and people on both the right and left have seized on them in support of their views. On the right, the anxieties about the end of white majority status have fueled a conservative backlash against the growing diversity of the country. On the left, many progressives anticipate an inexorable change in the ethno-racial power hierarchy. Numerous sites on the web offer advice and counsel on how whites can handle their imminent minority status. But what if these different reactions are based on a false premise—actually two false premises? The first stems from the Census Bureau’s way of classifying...