Racial Diversity: Historical Worksheet
March 1, 2013
Associate Program Material
Racial Diversity: Historical Worksheet
Answer the following questions in 100 to 250 words each. Provide citations for all the sources you use.
• Throughout most of U.S. history, in most locations, what race has been in the majority? What is the common ancestral background of most members of this group?
The United States is a diverse country, racially and ethnically. Six races are officially recognized: White, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and people of two or more races; a race called "Some other race" is also used in the census and other surveys, but is not official. The United States Census Bureau also classifies Americans as "Hispanic or Latino" and "Not Hispanic or Latino", which identifiesHispanic and Latino Americans as a racially diverse ethnicity that composes the largest minority group in the nation.
White Americans (non-Hispanic/Latino and Hispanic/Latino) are the racial majority, with a 72% share of the U.S. population, according to the 2010 US Census. Hispanic and Latino Americans comprise 15% of the population, making up the largest ethnic minority. Black Americans are the largest racial minority, comprising nearly 13% of the population. The White, non-Hispanic or Latino population comprises 63% of the nation's total.
White Americans are the majority in every region, but comprise the highest proportion of the population in the Midwestern United States, at 85% per the PEP, or 83% per the ACS. Non-Hispanic Whites make up 79% of the Midwest's population, the highest ratio of any region. However, 35% of White Americans (whether all White Americans or non-Hispanic/Latino only) live in the South, the most of any region.
55% of the "Black or African American" population lives in The South. A plurality or majority of the other official groups reside in the West. This region is home to 42% of Hispanic and Latino Americans, 46% of Asian Americans, 48% ofAmerican Indians and Alaska Natives, 68% of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, 37% of the "two or more races" population (Multiracial Americans), and 46% of those designated "some other race".
In 2009, German Americans (16.5%), Irish Americans (11.9%), and English Americans (9.0%) were the three largest self-reported ancestry groups in the United States forming 37.4% of the population.
Overall, as the largest group, European Americans have the lowest poverty rate and the second highest educational attainment levels, median household income, and median personal income of any racial demographic in the nation.
• What are some of the larger racial minorities in U.S. history? What have been the common ancestral backgrounds of each of these groups? When did each become a significant or notable minority group?
German Americans, Irish Americans and English Americans.
None of the German states had New World colonies. Not until the 1670s did the first significant groups of German immigrants arrive in the British colonies, settling primarily in New York and Pennsylvania. Immigration continued in very large numbers during the 19th century, with some eight million arrivals from Germany. They were pulled by the attractions of land and religious freedom, and pushed out of Europe by shortages of land and religious or political oppression. Many arrived seeking religious or political freedom, others for economic opportunities greater than those in Europe, and others simply for the chance to start fresh in the New World. The arrivals before 1850 were mostly farmers who sought out the most productive land, where their intensive farming techniques would pay off. After 1840, many came to cities, where "Germania"—German-speaking districts—soon emerged. Irish Americans are citizens of...