Look into the face of Central Florida's future. His hair is as black and shiny as a polished shoe. He has chocolate-brown eyes. He is 2 days old, his name is Jayson Mendez, and he's the second child of his Hispanic mother.
He joins a generation that will become the most racially diverse in American history. Slightly more than half the babies born in the United States are black, Hispanic and Asian, according to the latest census figures. Before the end of the decade, the Census Bureau predicts, non-Hispanic white children will be in the minority in the U.S.
"It's a snapshot of America in the future," said Bill Frey, a demographer with The Brookings Institution in Washington.
Hispanics, who can be of any race, are out-pacing non-Hispanic whites. In Orange and Osceola counties, it is already happening. Hispanic children younger than 5 in Osceola outnumbered non-Hispanic white children by 3,000 in 2010. The number of young Hispanic children surpassed the number of white kids in Orange County for the first time in 2013, according to the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, or BEBR, at the University of Florida.
The agency projects that in 15 years, there will be an estimated 42,000 Hispanic children younger than 5 in Orange County compared with 28,000 whites.
Together, black and Hispanic births comprised 58 percent of the babies born in Orange County in 2013, according to the Florida Department of Health's vital statistics. In Osceola County, minorities comprised 64 percent of newborns.
The increase in Hispanic births over white births is the result of an aging white population and a relatively young Hispanic population, said Stefan Rayer, BEBR population program director.
"You have a combination of a younger [Hispanic] population with a higher birthrate and the overall [white] population that is increasingly older with fewer women of childbearing age," Rayer said.
Jayson's mother, Ashley Mendez, is 21, just entering her peak childbearing years.
"I would like more kids. My ideal is five kids," said Mendez, a medical assistant from Orlando.
If Jayson represents the future of a more racially diverse population of young people, Sumter County is the future snapshot of the white population.
The birthrate for whites in Sumter County, which is dominated by The Villages retirement behemoth, is 3.6 babies per 1,000 women — the lowest in the state. The birthrate for Hispanic women in Sumter is 9.6.
Those older white women helped shape the culture, politics and society of post-World War II America. The 20th century was defined by the baby-boom generation. The 21st century is being determined by the diversity generation, of which Jayson is now a charter member.
"Last century, it was baby boomers. This century is defined by the growth of young minority children," Frey said.
The transformation toward a society that is majority minority has little to do with immigration.
Even if borders were hermetically sealed, the driving force is the large numbers of Hispanic-Americans having babies. While the fertility rates for Hispanic women decline to numbers closer to those of whites, the older white female population means fewer and fewer white babies in the future.
"It's not immigration anymore. These people are here, and they are Americans," Frey said.
The future represented by baby Jayson has profound political, economic and societal implications. If an older white population feels no connection to a more diverse younger generation, it could translate into a lack of support for public education and social-service programs.
"Education will be a huge flash point. It's going to be ferocious," said Gary Mormino, a Florida historian. "An increasing number of white retirees, who are relatively affluent, will come here, and they are not likely to be receptive for new school-bond issues."
If Hispanics become as entrenched in the Democratic Party as blacks, Republicans may be in trouble, experts say. But Hispanics are far more culturally and ethnically diverse and could well divide their alliances between Democrats and Republicans, Mormino said.
"On the surface, it looks like they will be aligned with the Democratic Party, but there are some Hispanics who are fundamentally social conservatives. I'm not sure it's a linear line to the Democrats," he said.
Frey contends that the growth of a young, racially diverse generation is a good thing for all Americans because without it, the United States, Florida and Central Florida would be facing a population decline and a shortage of taxpaying workers.
"If we didn't have these young minorities, very soon we would have a shrinking labor force," Frey said. "These are the people who will be paying the tax for their [the older generation's] Social Security and Medicare."
Up in Room 8104 of Orlando's Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, the future of Jayson is anything his mother and father can imagine. The life of a newborn is all hope and possibilities. He might be a postman as his father is or follow his mother into medicine.
"I want him to become a doctor," Ashley said. "I want him to make a good living so he can take care of his mommy and daddy."
Regardless of whom Jayson grows up to be, he is likely to live in a society in which no single race constitutes a majority.
"I do think it will be a lot more diverse," Ashley said. "I think it will be more equal and not so one-sided."
Staff writer Charles Minshew contributed to this report. firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-420-5392.