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Hispanics to top Calif. ethnic groups

SACRAMENTO — Hispanics will soon become the dominant ethnic group in the nation’s most populous state, marking a milestone in the country’s shifting composition, according to projections released Thursday by the California Department of Finance.

Demographers predict the number of Hispanics in the state will equal that of whites by mid-year and exceed it next year for the first time. Each group currently represents about 39 percent of the population.

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The shift is expected to affect politics and public policy in California and perhaps beyond, given the state’s history of trend-setting legislation and cultural contributions.

Whites currently lack a majority in only two other states — Hawaii and New Mexico.

Demographers say Hispanics’ share of the California population will rise to about 41 percent by 2020, with whites less than 37 percent.

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