If Not for the People, RI Would Have Fewer People
Perhaps it’s a function of idealism, but the continual penchant for racism in our country wearies me. By racism, I mean the division of people into racial groups and inclination to treat them as separate communities:
Without the 39,835 additional residents who identified themselves as Hispanic, Rhode Island would have lost 35,587 people from 2000 to 2010. That would have joined the Ocean State with Michigan, the only state to lose population in the 2010 census. As it was, Rhode Island ranked 49th in population growth, gaining 4,248, or 0.4 percent. …
Hispanics officially became the majority population in Central Falls, while Providence grew closer to that status. If separated, Providence’s Hispanic population of 67,835 alone would be the fifth-largest city in the state.
And so on. The thing is: they are not separated. The population did not decrease by 35,587. What is it we should determine to do differently based on this information? Should it become an outrage that Central Falls doesn’t have a majority Hispanic government? Or, from the other side, should we treat “Hispanic” as a synonym for “immigrant” and panic at the loss of native-born Americans from our state?
The detriment arises from the mixture of these perspectives, such that assumptions are made about a group and then notions of how society should be arranged are imposed under those assumptions. The insinuation is that Hispanics have unique needs and points of view, and if those qualities aren’t reflected in the political order, then some sort of under-representation must be to blame.
Personally, I find this bit of Census news to be more relevant, and definitely distressing:
In 2000, 247,822 children lived in Rhode Island, according to the Census Bureau. That was 23.6 percent of the state’s population of 1,048,319.
By 2010, the number of children had dropped 23,866 to 223,956, or 21.3 percent of the state’s slightly larger population of 1,052,567.
Unless one wishes to suggest that we were in the midst of a baby boom in 2000, the decrease in children is an indication of a waning society. Of course, it isn’t necessary to turn to demographic statistics to discern that about Rhode Island.