Increasing diversity sparks demand for cultural competency

by Elaine Fiedler

Have you taken a good look at your patient population recently? If so, you’ve probably noticed that it’s a lot more diverse now than it was 10 or 15 years ago.

In part, the change is due to the nation’s shifting demographics. Currently, minorities make up about 32 percent of the U.S. population—up from 25 percent in 1990—and their numbers are continuing to increase. According to Census Bureau projections, minorities will comprise almost 35 percent of the U.S. population by 2010, 40 percent by 2025 and 50 percent by 2050.1 At least 10 million Americans speak little or no English, a number that experts believe is underreported.2

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