updated 3/17/2004 11:32:12 AM ET 2004-03-17T16:32:12

The U.S. Census Bureau is predicting that the nation's Asian and Hispanic populations will triple by 2050 while the population of non-Hispanic whites increases by just 7 percent. As a result, the non-Hispanic white population will drop to half of the total from a current level of close to 70 percent, the report said.

Overall, the Census Bureau projected the U.S. population will continue to grow, increasing from 282 million in 2000 to 420 million in 2050.

"However, after 2030 the rate of increase might be the slowest since the Great Depression of the 1930s as the size of the 'baby boom' population continues to decline," the Bureau said in a statement.

Projections for 2050 include these:

The Bureau said its projections are based on Census 2000 results and assumptions about future childbearing, mortality and international migration.

It noted that the projected 49 percent population increase by 2050 "would be in sharp contrast to most European countries, whose populations are expected to decline by mid-century."

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