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California Latinos to overtake whites within year

Latinos will outnumber non-Hispanic whites in California by early next year for the first time since it became a US state, according to official forecasts released Thursday.

The number of Latinos will equal the white population by mid-2013, when each group is expected to be about 39 percent of the western state's population, the Department of Finance predictions showed.

"Early in 2014, the Hispanic population will become the plurality in California for the first time since California became a state," it added.

By 2060, Hispanics will comprise nearly half -- 48 percent -- of the population, while non-Hispanic whites will have fallen from 39 percent now to 30 percent, and blacks from six percent to four percent.

Asians will grow only slightly as a proportion of the population, from just under 13 percent now to just over 13 percent in 2060.

California is the most populous US state, and if it were a country would be the world's eighth or ninth biggest economy. Overall, its population will grow to 52.7 million, about 40 percent more than currently, the latest forecasts said.

As the white post-World War II baby boomer population goes into retirement, Latinos and Asians will become the mainstay of the labor force and economy in California, according to the study.

California became the 31st US state in 1850, two and a half years after the United States signed a treaty to end the Mexican War with its southern neighbor.

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