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(NECN: Josh McElveen) - The United States government projects that by 2042, white people will no longer make up the majority of Americans -- that's eight years sooner than previously expected. Immigration and higher birth rates, especially by hispanics, are fueling the gains in non-white population. "The white population is older and very much centered around the aging baby boomers who are well past their high fertility years," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. "The future of America is epitomized by the young people today. They are basically the melting pot we are going to see in the future." The Census Bureau Thursday released population projections through 2050, based on rates for births, deaths and immigration. They are subject to big revisions, depending on immigration policy, cultural changes and natural or manmade disasters. <a href="http://www.census.gov" target="_blank">Click here for more information.</a> The U.S. has nearly 305 million people today. The population is projected to hit 400 million in 2039 and 439 million in 2050. *Material from the Associated Press used in this report*