For the first time, white newborns are in the minority.
Census figures show that babies of non-white ethnic groups now make up the majority of those born in the U.S.
Experts say the data confirms a changing social order and that racial and ethnic minorities will become the U.S. majority by 2050.
"We're moving toward an acknowledgment that we're living in a different world than the 1950s, where married or two-parent heterosexual couples are now no longer the norm for a lot of kids, especially kids of color," said Laura Speer, coordinator of the Kids Count project for the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation.
"It's clear the younger generation is very demographically different from the elderly, something to keep in mind as politics plays out on how programs for the elderly get supported," she said. "It's critical that children are able to grow to compete internationally and keep state economies rolling."
The preliminary figures are based on an analysis of the Current Population Survey as well as the 2009 American Community Survey, which sampled 3 million U.S. households to determine that whites made up 51 percent of babies younger than 2.
After taking into account a larger-than-expected jump in the minority child population in the 2010 census, the share of white babies falls below 50 percent.