Friday, December 19, 2014

Lots of talk about US immigration, a few early 21C facts

Although the 2010 census left out questions about ethnicity, this map shows how it looked in 2000. Melting pot: This map shows the ethnic heritage of Americans

The map that shows where America came from: Fascinating illustration shows the ancestry of EVERY county in the US
By Jessica Jerreat - 1 September 2013 Daily

A truly captivating map that shows the ancestry of the 300+ million people who call the melting pot of America home can now be seen on the 2000 U.S. Census Bureau map...

The inscription on the Statue of Liberty in New York's harbor reads 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free' and the fascinating map identifies the truly diverse nature of the United States in the 21st century.

49,206,934 Germans
By far the largest ancestral group, stretching from coast to coast across 21st century America is German, with 49,206,934 people. The peak immigration for Germans was in the mid-19th century as thousands were driven from their homes by unemployment and unrest.  The majority of German-Americans can now be found in the the center of the nation, with the majority living in Maricopa County, Arizona and according to Business Insider, famous German-Americans include, Ben Affleck, Tom Cruise, Walt Disney, Henry J. Heinz and Oscar Mayer.  Indeed, despite having no successful New World colonies, the first significant groups of German immigrants arrived in the United States in the 1670s and settled in New York and Pennsylvania.  Germans were attracted to America for familiar reasons, open tracts of land and religious freedom and their contributions to the nation included establishing the first kindergartens, Christmas trees and hot dogs and hamburgers.

41,284,752 Black or African Americans
The census map also identifies, Black or African-American as a term for citizens of the United States who have ancestry in Sub-Saharan Africa.  The majority of African Americans are descended from slaves from West and Central Africa and of course have become an integral part of the story of the United States, gaining the right to vote with the 15th amendment in 1870, but struggling with their civil rights for at least another century.  Predominantly living in the south of the nation where they were brought to work on the cotton plantations and as slaves in the late 18th to mid-19th centuries, Black or African Americans also have sizable communities in the Chicago area of Illinois and Detroit, Michigan.

35,523,082 Irish
Another group who joined the great story of the United States were the Irish and the great famine of the 1840s sparked mass migration from Ireland.  It is estimated that between 1820 and 1920, 4.5 million Irish moved to the United States and settled in the large cities like New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco.  Currently, almost 12 percent of the total population of the United States claim Irish ancestry - compared with a total population of six and a half million for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland today.

31,789,483 Mexican
And from 1990 to 2000, the number of people who claimed Mexican ancestry almost doubled in size to 31,789,483 people. Those with Mexican ancestry are most common along the Southwestern border of the United States and is largest ancestry in Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, San Diego, Dallas and San Antonio.  In many states, the Hispanic population doubled between the 2000 and 2010 census. In New Mexico, Hispanics outstripped whites for the first time, reaching 46 per cent compared to 40 per cent.  The figures reveal the changing face of the U.S., with the number of Hispanics up by 15 million by the 2010 census, from these figures in 2000.  Hispanic children now account for one in four American youngsters as a portrait emerges of a country with an aging white population and rapid minority growth.  While Hispanic communities cover a swath of states from California to Texas, American Indians are more dispersed, with pockets of populations in states including Arizona, New Mexico, Montana and the Dakotas, with a higher concentration in Alaska. 

26,923,091 English
The next largest grouping of people in the United States by ancestry are those who claim to be English-American. Predominantly found in the Northwest and West, the number of people directly claiming to be English-American has dropped by 20 million since the 1980 U.S. Census because more citizens have started to identify themselves as American.  They are based predominantly in the northeast of the country in New England and in Utah, where the majority of Mormon immigrants moved in the middle 19th century.  

19,911,467 Americans
The surprising number of people across the nation claiming to have American ancestry is due to them making a political statement, or because they are simply uncertain about their direct descendants. Indeed, this is a particularly common feature in the south of the nation, where political tensions between those who consider themselves original settlers and those who are more recent exist.

17,558,598 Italian
One of the most influential nationalities to migrate in large numbers to the United States were the Italians.  Between 1880 and 1920, more than 4 million Italian immigrants arrived in the United States forming 'Little Italies' wherever they went.  Bringing their food, culture and entertainment to the nation, another large wave of Italian immigrants arrived in the country following WWII, bringing the total number today to 17,558,598 people.

9,739,653 Polish
The largest of the Slavic groups to live in the United States, Polish Americans were some of the earliest Eastern European colonists to the New World.  Up to 2.5 million Polies came to the United States between the mid-19th century and World War 1 and flocked to the largest industrial cities of New York, Buffalo, Cleveland, Milwaukee and Chicago.  

9,136,092 French
Historically, along with the English, the French colonized North America first and successfully in the North East in the border areas alongside Quebec and in the south around New Orleans and Louisiana.

The map also reveals a concentration of people stating American as their ethnic heritage, mostly in the South. Many may have stated American on the census form as a political statement, or because they have a mixed or unknown heritage, according to Business Insider.

While the United States has its roots in being a welcoming place for immigrants, that hasn't always been the case. As a wave of new arrivals flooded U.S. shores in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but a movement to restrict who was allowed into the country took hold as well.
In 1882, Congress enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first major federal law to put immigration limits in place and the only one in American history aimed at a specific nationality. It came into being in response to fears, primarily on the West Coast, that an influx of Chinese immigrants was weakening economic conditions and lowering wages. It was extended in 1902.

Other laws followed, like the Immigration Act of 1917, which created an "Asiatic Barred Zone" to restrict immigration from that part of the world, and the Emergency Quota Act of 1921, which limited the number of immigrants from any country to 3 percent of those people from that country who had been living in the United States as of 1910.

The 1924 Immigration Act capped the number of immigrants from a particular country at 2 percent of the population of that country already living in the United States in 1890. That favored immigrants from northern and western European countries like Great Britain over immigrants from southern and eastern European countries like Italy.

It also prevented any immigrant ineligible for citizenship from coming to America. Since laws already on the books prohibited people of any Asian origin from becoming citizens, they were barred entry. The law was revised in 1952, but kept the quota system based on country of origin in the U.S. population and only allowed low quotas to Asian nations.

The American children of Italian and other European immigrants saw that law "as a slur against their own status" and fought for the system to be changed, said Mae Ngai, professor of history and Asian American studies at Columbia University. In fighting for change, they looked to the civil rights movement.

The political leaders who agreed with them saw it in the same terms, as a change needed for equality's sake, as well as to be responsive to shifting relationships with nations around the world.  Speaking to the American Committee on Italian Migration in June 1963, President John F. Kennedy cited the "nearly intolerable" plight of those who had family members in other countries who wanted to come to the U.S. and could be useful citizens, but were being blocked by "the inequity and maldistribution of the quota numbers."

Two years later, in signing into law a replacement system that established a uniform number of people allowed entry to the United States despite national origin, President Lyndon B. Johnson said it would correct "a cruel and enduring wrong in the conduct of the American nation."

The Largest Ancestry Groups In The United States
Liz O'conner, Gus Lubin, and Dina Spector  AUG. 13, 2013, Business Insider

It's not easy to identify all of the ingredients in the great American Melting Pot.  The 2010 U.S. Census left off questions about ancestry to avoid controversy, though the Census Bureau's American Community Survey separately tracks Hispanic and Latino origin, Asian origin, American Indian and Alaska Native tribal groupings, and various other ancestry groups. African American, which appeared as a major ancestry group in the 2000 Census, is now listed by the Census as a racial group, with ancestry listed only for smaller groups from specific African countries.

We have updated this post to count the Black or African American racial group as America's second-largest ancestry group. We have also added Arab and West Indian ancestry groups to this list, since they represent significant ethnic groups when counted together even if they don't make the list when tracked for specific countries.  Below is a list showing many of America's largest ancestry groups. Please note that respondents may have selected more than one ancestry group or race.

49,206,934 Germans 
The largest wave of Germans came to America during the middle of the 19th century, facing civil unrest and high unemployment at home. Today, the majority of German-Americans can be found in the non-coastal states, with the largest number in Maricopa County, Arizona. Famous 

41,284,752 Black or African Americans
Black or African American are terms used for citizens or residents of the U.S. with part or total ancestry from a native population of Sub-Saharan Africa.  Most African Americans are the descendants of slavesfrom West and Central Africa. The group gained the right to vote with the 15th amendment in 1870 — and through decades of subsequent legal battles. 

35,523,082 Irish
The great famine of the 1840s sparked a mass exodus from Ireland. Between 1820 and the 1920s, an estimated 4.5 million Irish moved to the United States, many of whom settled in large cities like New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco. At least 22 U.S. presidents have been of Irish descent. 

31,789,483 Mexican 
Between 1990 and 2000 the number of people who reported Mexican ancestry nearly doubled in size. Mexican is the most commonly reported ancestry along the Southwestern border of the United States and leading ancestry in Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, San Diego, Dallas, and San Antonio, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. 

26,923,091 English 
English Americans are found in large numbers in the Northwest and West, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. The number of people who reported English ancestry decreased by at least 20 million since the 1980 U.S. Census, partly because more citizens of English descent have started to list themselves as "American." 

19,911,467 Americans
A large number of people claim American ancestry, either as a political statement or because their pre-American ancestry is mixed or uncertain. This is particularly common in the South.

17,558,598 Italian
Between 1880 and 1920, more than 4 million Italian immigrants arrived in the United States. Immigrants formed "Little Italies" in many large Northeastern cities as well as remote areas in California and Louisiana. As these communities grew and prospered, Italian food, entertainment, and music greatly influenced American life and culture.  Another large wave of immigrants arrived after World War II. Today, the largest concentration of Italian-Americans can be found in Suffolk County, New York. 

9,739,653 Polish
Polish Americans are the largest of the Slavic groups in the United States and represent some of the earliest colonists in the New World. Immigration reached new heights between the mid-19th century and World War I, when an estimated 2.5 million Poles entered the United States. These new arrivals flocked to industrial cities like New York, Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Chicago in search of a better economic life. 

9,136,092 French (except Basque)
Historically, the number of immigrants from France has been smaller than from other European nations. Figures may also be lower since French Americans are more specifically identified as French Canadian, Acadian, or Louisiana Creole by the U.S. Census. States with the largest French communities include California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New York. 

5,706,263 Scottish
More than one million Scots left for the United States in the 19th century, many in search of work in the shipping industry. Scottish immigrants continued to trickle in through the 1920s, especially as economic conditions worsened in Scotland. California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Michigan have the most Scottish descendants. 

5,102,858 Scotch-Irish
Between 1717 and 1775 hundreds of thousands of Scotch-Irish immigrated to the United States, mostly coming from the province of Ulster in Northern Ireland. Most settled in New England, but many moved westward toward the frontier, settling in Appalachia or even further west. Today Scotch-Irish can be found throughout the country, but still dominate the East Coast. 

4,920,336 American Indian or Alaska Native
Nearly 5 million Americans identify as Native American or Alaska Native alone or in combination with one or more races, while 2,502,653 Americans identify as Native American or Alaska Native alone. As of 2012, 70% of Native Americans live in urban areas according to The New York Times. The largest American Indian tribe is the Cherokee with 284,000 full-blooded individuals. Alaska has the highest Native American population, followed by New Mexico, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Montana, according to the 2010 Census. 

4,810,511 Dutch
New York City (originally New Amsterdam) was established by Dutch Immigrants in the early 17th century. Although Dutch immigration slowed in the 18th century, a new wave of Dutchmen came to America following World War II. Today, Dutch Americans are concentrated in several counties in Michigan and Ohio. Many Dutch Americans also live in California, New York, and Pennsylvania. 

4,607,774 Puerto Rican
Puerto Ricans first began migrating to the States in large numbers after the 1917 passing of the Jones-Shafroth act granted all Puerto Ricans U.S. Citizenship. Since then, Puerto Rican immigration to the continental U.S. has been significant, with numbers spiking since the late '90s. As of the 2010 Census, the highest number of Puerto Ricans could be found in New York, followed by Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The annual Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan draws millions of spectators each year and is one of the largest outdoor events in the United States. 

4,557,539 Norwegian
Norwegian immigration reached its peak between the end of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century. Between 1880 and 1893, Norwegian immigration was the second largest in Europe behind Ireland. Historically, the majority of Norwegian Americans live in the upper Midwest, especially Minnesota, western Wisconsin, northern Iowa and the Dakotas. 

4,211,644 Swedish
During the 19th century, Swedish emigration to the United States was largely motivated by economic advancement. From 1851 to 1930, more than 1.2 million Swedes crossed the Atlantic, traditionally settling in Midwest homesteads. By the turn of the century, however, more Swedes moved to urban centers in search of industrial jobs. Today, Minnesota has the largest concentration of Swedish descendants in the country.

3,245,080 Chinese (except Taiwanese) 
Chinese immigrants first began arriving on the West Coast in the early 1820s and trickled in slowly up until the Gold Rush began, when the Chinese American population grew exponentially.  The majority of Chinese Americans today live in California, with notable communities in Hawaii and around New York City, Boston, and Chicago. 

3,060,143 Russian
Alaska was originally settled and controlled by Russians. After the U.S. purchased the land in 1867, many Russians remained in the territory. However, most came to America during the large wave of European immigration that took place during the late 19th century. U.S. states with the highest percentage of people who claim some sort of Russian ancestry include Maryland, New York, North Dakota, and South Dakota, according to the 2000 census. 

2,781,904 Asian Indian
Asian Indians had been immigrating to the U.S. in small numbers for decades, but starting in 2000, the population has grown rapidly. The Asian Indian population was one of the most rapidly-growing ethnic groups in the U.S. as of 2011. They comprise over 16% of the Asian-American community and are one of the highest-educated groups in the nation. California, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Illinois were the states with the highest populations of Indian Americans as of the 2000 Census. 

2,625,306 West Indian (except Hispanic groups)
This group includes Americans who self-identified as Bahamian, Barbadian, Belizean, Bermudan, British West Indian, Dutch West Indian, Haitian, Jamaican, Trinidadian and Tobagonian, or U.S. Virgin Islander. 290,828 people also stated that they were simply "West Indian" or "Other West Indian." Many West Indians first came to the United States in search of economic opportunity at the turn of the century, and West Indian immigration continued until the onset of the Great Depression. Another wave of West Indian immigrants came to America in the 1950s and 1960s. 

2,549,545 Filipino
The 1965 Immigration Act led large numbers of Filipinos to immigrate to the U.S.; more than 40,000 Filipinos have been arriving in the U.S. annually since 1979. Filipinos make up a large part of the visa waitlist. California, Hawaii, greater New York, Illinois, and Texas all have large Filipino populations. 

2,087,970 French Canadian
French Canadian Americans make up a large and diverse group. Many immigrated to America from Quebec between 1840 and the late 1920s, while others in more Midwestern states had lived there for generations. Many Americans of recent French Canadian descent speak French at home. French Canadian Americans today are overwhelmingly concentrated in New England, with the state of Maine having the highest population. 

1,888,383 Welsh
In the late 1600s, Welsh Quakers began coming to America in droves, settling largely in Pennsylvania and later in Ohio. The Welsh language was commonly spoken in many of these intensely-Welsh areas until the 1950s when it began to die out. Today, Welsh Americans can be found around the country, with particularly high numbers in the Midwest. 

1,764,374 Cuban
Cubans began immigrating to the states in the early 1900s, with large numbers flowing in after the Cuban revolution of 1959. Today, Cuban Americans are major contributors to politics, professional sports, academia, and the entertainment industry. Nearly 70% of Cuban Americans  live in Florida, but prominent Cuban communities can also be found within New York and New Jersey. 

1,733,778 Salvadoran
Before 1960, the U.S. was home to fewer than 10,000 Salvadorans, but the Salvadoran Civil War in the 1980s forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee El Salvador. Many of them came to America. California, Texas, New York, Virginia, and Maryland have the highest number of Salvadorans. They also make up the largest Latino group on Long Island, surpassing Puerto Ricans. 

1,620,637 Arab
Arab Americans from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Syria, among other countries, comprise a large and diverse ancestry group that has been settling in the U.S. since the late 1800s. According to the Arab American Institute, nearly 94% of Arab Americans live in metropolitan areas. The metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of Arab Americans include Los Angeles, Detroit, New York/New Jersey, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. 

1,576,032 Vietnamese
Many Vietnamese immigrants came to America after the Vietnam war, often via boat, to escape extreme poverty or persecution. Today, Vietnamese Americans make up nearly half of all Vietnamese living overseas and are the fourth-largest Asian American group. 

1,573,608 Czech
Czech immigrants were known in the 19th and early 20th centuries as "Bohemian" since they originally came from the lands that made up what was once the empire of the Bohemian crown. These lands are now presided over in large part by the Czech Republic. The most Czech Americans can be found in Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska. 

1,511,926 Hungarian
Hungarian Americans comprise one of America's oldest ethnic groups, with records of Hungarians participating in the American Revolution. After the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, even more Hungarians came to the states in search of a better life. 

1,423,139 Portuguese
The Portuguese have a long history in the U.S., with Portuguese soldiers fighting in the American Revolution. A large wave of Portuguese immigrants also came to the U.S. in the mid-to-late 20th century.  Areas with notable Portuguese populations include the Metro Boston area, the Tri-state area, and the San Francisco/Oakland Bay area. 

1,422,567 Korean
Korean Americans make up the second-largest Korean diaspora community in the world (the largest is in China). The 1965 Immigration Act allowed large numbers of Koreans to immigrate to the United States, a pattern which has continued to present day. Since 1975, Koreans have ranked among the top 5 groups of immigrants to the U.S. Most Koreans live in New York, New Jersey, California, and Illinois, according to the 2000 Census. 

1,420,962 Danish
Danes have been living in the U.S. since the late 1600s, but they steadily immigrated to America for much of the 1800s before Danish immigration tapered off. California, Utah, Minnesota, and Wisconsin all have large numbers of Danish Americans. 

1,414,551 Dominican (Dominican Republic)
After the fall of dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1965, the U.S. occupied the Dominican Republic in order to end a civil war. The U.S. also eased travel restrictions, and as a result, large numbers of Dominicans began immigrating to the U.S. in the late 1960s. The states with the most Dominican Americans are New York, New Jersey, Florida, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. 

1,319,188 Greek
Although Greek heritage has been recorded in the U.S. since the 1600s, the most substantial number of Greek immigrants came to the U.S. from the mid-1800s up until Greece's admission to the European Union in 1981. Today the U.S. is home to the largest Greek community outside of Greece. 

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if a number of the people who call themselves "American" are Scotch-Irish -- people of Scotch heritage who spent several generations in northern Ireland and then immigrated to America in the 18th century.