Talk:Race and ethnicity in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Ethnic groups (Rated B-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Ethnic groups, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of articles relating to ethnic groups, nationalities, and other cultural identities on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject United States (Rated B-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of topics relating to the United States of America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the ongoing discussions.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.

European American, African American, Latino American, but no page for American?[edit]

If the word American does not mean citizen of the United States when it stands alone, than how can it magically re-gain a definition when you place it behind African, European or Latino? If just "American" is too ambiguous and overbroad to mean a citizen of the United States then shouldn't the same rule be applied to the terms African Americans, European Americans, and Latino Americans? This rule is not being applied consistently and is unfair. Americans needs to be linked, or redirected to People of the United States Skeeter08865 (talk) 23:08, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

can someone explain me,why if people of some other race are basically mixed,sometimes are considered white?that is racist,they aren't necesarily more white than indigenous or black,is unjust .


This article claims that California is one of four states where whites do not make up the majority. This contradicts the demographic information given in the California wikipedia article; in which the white population is cited as 60%. What's the deal? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:43, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

This data is not about majority, but most common ancestry. The California article statles clearly the Mexican ancestry is first with 25%. Notice a couple of things: 1) Hispanics are 35% minority in the State; 2) The classification "White Americans" also includes "White Hispanics", which make 17.6% based on the article data.
So everyone should take those maps as what they are: a measure of most common **ancestry**, not of majority. 17:07, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

South Carolina[edit]

How come the racial statistics say that the largest ancestry group in S.C. is African, when over 60 percent of the population is white? How can that be right? In order to be accurate, don't you have to divide the kenyan, etheopian, and other people of different origins from within africa- or at least the people from the different regions of africa- if you're going to be accurate?

Agreed. We should all ask the US Census bureau to stop capturing those meaningless data points. If we can't tell the difference for African-americans (since they were taken by force and mostly don't know their roots), don't capture it for European-americans either. 17:11, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree. "Africa" is not a country and, in fact, millions of Africans are White above all in South Africa...The Census should say "Kenyan" or "Gabonese" or "Senegalese", the same way they write "German" or "Italian" or "Irish". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:06, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

This editor is confusing race and ethnicity. There are three races, and the Hispanic ethnicity is mixed with all three races. If you were to consider the white population being partially of Hispanic ethnic background, you should also mention that the black and asian population are also diluted with Hispanic ethnic persons. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:38, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

There are millions of White Hispanics (most Cuban-Americans are White, not mixed) and millions of Native American Hispanics and millions of African Hispanics even if a majority is mixed race, mestizo.

Asian Americans?[edit]

Is there some further meaningful breakdown of the Asian American population? --AxSingh 10:44, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Doubt it. There's basically nothing here but census data, plundered from the U.S. Census' website.

why do we need it? are we Americans?[edit]

Ok heres my take. the article wants to discuss the unique diversity of people in the US. but be in mind we should call ourselves americans first, and dont let race be a big deal to fight over jobs, education or welfare. thats what happened in my dear country i love. i find the census' need to classify and categorize people by race as sumething sneeky and smelly. i oppose racism and discrimination, but never bought into the P-c hysteria or the rule bring fear of talkin about race is BAD, WRONG, EVIL, a sin, a crime & taboo. who made it this way? the people you know and trusted to help racial minorities in the past. liberals. fair and simple. im 45 yrs. old and saw real acts of racism that would disturb you. i knew in a young age it's not right to treat others badly for the fact they cant help who they are. do we really care on "Black" people or "African Americans"? i see them as people NOT of color, and may I ask only a person FROM africa can hold the designation, not a 12th generation American who has a skin color? if you got african heritage, then the label is accurate. i always beleeved if one is born in america, he/she's an american! no need to explain it other than that. liberal p-c activism likes to stir our emotion over 'racial' or 'social' inequality, when in fact to start using race to grant quick promotion over a white male is just as appalling to me. im a white male, a christian and republican, so i should be racist or bigoted? no im not! i love people on the inside! i dont mind a woman works out the home. i dont mind gay men with no regard to their sexual preference. and any one who dont share my religious beliefs is ok and god still loves him/her. now on things on the real status of blacks, women and low income families are better than in the 1960s or 70s, much better than in 1985 or 1995. does the us census kept track of this number crunchin data? they know right away not a liberal elite poser on the examination of race issues in america. dont play the race card or the gender excuse on me if you cant get a 'fair share', i knew i never got a fair share myself for not being qualified or not worked hard enough. its ILLEGAL to discriminate based on race or sex or handicap (oops I mean disabled, but i knew it wont hold one back in life). i just dont like the double standards the P-C cause did to me, maybe you and every one in the last 15-20 yrs. you need to read history and you will find the real hate, jim crow laws and violence took place long before i was born. dont tell me i dont like other races, i just hold a fairly made opinion and to be honest, i dont always made a big deal on ones' race, but how an american is first an american and no real need to tell me im white, not hispanic or american by some census taker. we got to stop race baitin and favoritism, but focus on the work ethic and be responsible for your actions. this is the best nation in the world and nothin prevents you from success, not your race or color please! - signed: open-minded conservative

>>i always beleeved if one is born in america, he/she's an american! no need to explain it other than that
Totally agree. African-americans, European-americans and other ethnic groups that make up America have more in common between themselves than with their original ethnic groups: the American mind, which we as a nation define and share. Ask the majority of those who were born and raised here if they would like to revert back to their parents' original country way of thinking, even those with a European ancestry. If you are born and raised here, you get the American way of thinking in your bones, you're American! No further classification needed. That's what counts. All of these groups in the Census should be comfortable to call themselves Americans, and not be forced in a racial slot. Signed: "open-minded" liberal. 17:25, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, race shouldn't matter, but unfortunately it has had a profound impact on the lifes of so many Americans; thus we need to mention it. SignaturebrendelHAPPY HOLIDAYS 06:58, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
When we have people out in Serbia claiming that Kosovo is Serbia when Kosovo has declared independence from Serbia due to its being populated with ethnic Albanians, rather than Serbs, for the most part, and when we have Israel refusing to accept Palestinians because of its desire to be a Jewish state, and when you note ethnic/ riots in places like Kenya and Nigeria and India and Indonesia, then of course ethnic and religious and racial demographics are going to be important. We need to find out WHO is out there so we can understand what's going on, and understand the people's needs and wants. In other words, we don't want an Aztlan or even the Conch Republic (just kidding) suddenly springing up behind our backs and surprising us when we know we should have been looking there all along. Furthermore, who knows what might divide our country tomorrow? (talk) 05:09, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Millions of Asians are White in Northern India, Northern Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Tadjikistan, Israel, Syria etc...—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 14:33, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Using continents as bases for races is absurd, because by that logic, a white Russian living in Siberia is considered to be Asian and etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rock8591 (talkcontribs) 07:09, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Improved article, citations needed[edit]

I did some edits, but citations needed and research is abit messy. I want to make it clear they are well publicized facts of the US' racial demographics. Wikipedia has thousands of admins who knew better than me, maybe we can help each other to obtain better resources. I did abit too much reverts to other articles either, so forgive me as we're trying to assure the quality of the article to appear more academic or encyclopediac. I don't know the last talk page post is talking about, but mr. thought of the implications of racism had in this country (USA)? There are plenty of hate, prejudice and discrimination towards other people because of who they are or their social group, but I agree our country has moved on away from official segregation or unfair practices that marginalized minority groups for centuries. Since you told me your age, you feel discriminated for "being old"? This is illegal and unacceptable to most people today. Housing discrimination laws cover marital status (single mothers or divorced persons), and may I mention you claim all liberals are bad? Sure you disagree with their political views, but I may disagree on conservatism, but really I don't hate you either. -Mike D. + 19:46, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

ditch that stupid map[edit]

Will someone else please agree with me that the first map is utterly useless. Listing each state by highest ancestery is plain misleading and incorrect. for instance, the map lists a group of people as having "American" ancestery: which if you look at the map key is any portion of Great Britian. If anything, that is a linguistic not biological/cultural ancestery. how could someone in America trace their ancestery as "American" unless their native, which surely wouldn't be on the east coast?

I listed myself in the 2000 census as "American" - its not because I speak English, or am confused. I can trace my ancestry to England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Germany, The Netherlands, and Cherokee. My wife's is just as mixed together. The only term that applies to me is American. I've been the the above mentioned European countries and I certianly cannot classify myself as any of them. Yes, I share genetic ancestry with people on that continent, but my values and culture are very different. Therefore, there is no other place on earth that contains people like me, except in the United States - that is why I am American. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:44, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

If your aim is to show diasporic populations and how they have spread across the country then show regional or continental points of origin. To trace populations to specific countries (Alienating others) is rude and leaves too many gaps. This map completly ignores issues of Jewish populations from multiple countries, eastern/western european immigration, etc. Lastly, it doesn't even tell us percentages which really gets to the core of the demographics at the state level.

I agree that this map should be explained as the agregate of data from the other map in the page. Notice that it is shown as the detail there. 16:29, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

If you want to be really helpful, try generating maps showing a very specific group over time (i.e. African-American migration northward after the civil war, or Cape Verdeans into the New England area.

Generating a map such as this is near-sighted and stuck in racial views of the 19th century. jt —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Extremenachos (talkcontribs) 01:48, 25 January 2007 (UTC).

Agree. But that's the US census view. The whole census methodology is rotten with such contradictions, and that's why it should go away. 16:29, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Yes, that map is unnecessary, misleading, and incorrect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:11, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

In case you didn't pay attention, this map is the same as in the detail of the other one below, showing by counties. It's now showing the agregate numbers by state. This comes from the US government. Deleting it here won't make it go away in the detail below. 16:29, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

As an African-American, Im quite annoyed that "White" is broken up into all kinds of categories: Dutch, German, Irish, Norwegian... but "african-american" is just that. Do we forget Africa is a continent with just as much history and more people than the the white population. We are American, and we are more than just African-American. Many of us have Native American, "white," and African in us. The ancestry should reflect that... we are from Kenya, Nigeria, Barbados, etc. Why is that information not accounted for? It makes me feel like we're still not considered true Americans. Meb025 (talk) 23:25, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Jewish descent?[edit]

I just came by this article to seek an answer to a completely valid and benign question: how many persons of Jewish descent live in the United States, and for some reason there is no concrete information in the article. I understand completely why the US government does not probe such a sensitive aspect, but nevertheless this article should have some information regarding the topic. My understanding is that Jewish people are of a race (hence the Semitic in anti-semitic). I do sense a double standard or self-censorship here. And the article should not necessarily be constrained to definitions or conventions used by the US Government.

Information: American Jews and United Jewish Communities. ~ Rollo44 17:44, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

It probably should be handled by renaming the article, something along the lines of "Race and ethnicity in the United States census" (as someone else suggested in the discussion of merging the U.S. Census articles on "race" and "ethnicity"). That would clarify that only topics addressed by the census are covered in the article. Lawikitejana 08:38, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
I like the idea of renaming the article. It would represent better what is included in it. 16:30, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
This article predominantly describes ancestry by nationality, notwithstanding the title. Jews would be included within other nationalities. (talk) 04:44, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

Pros and Cons[edit]

Here we have an interesting comment:

There has been interest by some, including the U.S. government, president George W. Bush and private individuals, in the elimination of racial and ethnic categories and new constitutional laws to prohibit the sampling of race in government practices[citation needed]. This radical concept was practiced in California by Proposition 209, passed in 1996 to prohibit the state's use of race in decisions on employment and college admissions. Proposition 54 in 2003 failed to pass; it would have made California the first state to officially abandon racial designation but allow the US census to collect racial data[citation needed].

I have underlined "Radical concept".

Well, only a person from the United States can say that. The US is one of the few countries in the world that classifies people by "race". In most other countries, it is not done, and it is considered pretty radical indeed to do so, and a remnant of the profound racist past of the Anglo-Saxon world. Some people think that it is good to help "minorities". Well, in most civilized countries, especially in Europe, there are measures to help those with the lowest income, it does not matter what race they are. The classification of people is supposed races by governments just helps erect since childhood psychological barriers. Some minority groups favor this classification because they think they are going to benefit from it, but they are making a huge mistake. Racial classification was only done in the racist past and in racist countries to keep people apart, it is a result of that past and only continues to be done in countries with big racialist-racist issues, and this will just help perpetuate those racial issues. I am not going to change it though, just some thoughts for the article. The problem with these articles is that they are mainly written by people for the US who have no idea of what is going on in the rest of the world and they are looking incredibly racist to the rest of the world, although in many cases they are not, because they think that it is good to classify people by "races" in official documents as if they were cattle. 17:28, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Removed the word "radical" from this phrase in the article. The rest of the argument is covered in the article in large part; if anyone has some published sources that can be cited to make more evident that the U.S. government's use of this approach has been criticized by those in other countries, that certainly would be helpful. Our own opinions are largely immaterial except as they inspire us to hunt for verifiable, reliable sources. Lawikitejana 08:47, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
I don't have any citations, but in countries such as Brazil this way of including race on everything is seen as rude and racist. It's seen as a sign of State-sponsored racism. 16:33, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

If you have no citations, and all you have is PoV opinions then everything you've just written is useless and of no value. Stop wasting your breath. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:41, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Canada is another country in a controversial position for the usage of ethnic categories, and the term "Visible minority" is deemed as some as an offensive term to describe non-Caucasian residents of the country. Not only the U.S., but the Census Canada continually classify persons of "English", "French", "other European" and "Caucasian but not European" backgrounds for demographic data and political purposes as well.

The Canadian government is officially bilingual (in English and French for the Francophone majority in the province of Quebec constantly dealt with provincial separatism) in order to provide services for the French-speaking population who may or may not be proficient in English. The language barrier between Anglo- and Francophone populations in Canada proved to be MORE divisive than the sociocultural issue of race, color and ethnicity in the United States.

Despite our traditional concept of the absorbing of immigrants into the single Americanized "melting pot" of ethnic groups (and nowadays, a "colorblind" but multiracial society) whom are just plain "Americans", we're just as racially divided than before and during our worst economic crisis in 80 years, the issue of class and income distribution would make the U.S. a closed society obsessed with class distinctions as much it's hailed to be obsessed with ones' race and skin color.

In America, we prized religious freedom more than economic security and the US Census considers not using data on ones' religious denomination unlike the Canadian Census does collect information on how many Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists and other faiths in that country, but objects to make people "Black", "white" or "mixed" although the Canadian Census has a "First Nations" category when it comes to demographic data on how many persons of indigenous American Indian descent live in Canada (including the Inuit in the Arctic region). + (talk) 16:41, 20 November 2008 (UTC)


The map is ridiculous, it counts Europeans by specific nationality but Africans by the continent.

Most European-Americans trace their ancestry to the Irish, German, English, Scotch, Polish, etc. African Americans and the African Diaspora are a combination of various ethnic Africans, not one particular country, and are unable to trace to one specific place. Also unfortunately this knowledge is unavailable since it was wiped out via the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

I agree that the classification is ludicrous. But this is the same map generated by the US Census in 2000 (see detail on other map in the page). Deleting it won't make the distortions go away. What is needed is to basically eliminate the slicing of media topics in racial classifications (as others countries did), and therefore allow everyone to feel as being American with no further differentiation. An African-american is closer to a European-american than Africans themselves. Why? Because they share the same American mind. If we were to differentiate among anything, let's choose topics such as State investment in Education, and let the States compete. 16:47, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

I understand the point being made above about grouping all African-Americans, but I strongly suspect that putting the map showing ethnicity simply by state, and furthermore listing the ethnicities in the caption will cause many people to make some simplistic conclusions. I am putting the more detailed map about the map back in top position, and will put the simplified map somewhere with a note that is is just that: dangerously over -simplified. Spettro9 (talk) 05:55, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Map Legend[edit]

Many of the census maps don't have legends. This can be incredibly misleading and should be fixed. I'll do it myself if I get a chance, but that may take a while. If someone has these maps and could just upload a legend, that would be great.

If a map shades a lot of counties darkly, it might look like there are tons of people of that ancestry, but without a leged there is no way to tell--"darkly" might mean 1% or 90%. That's why legends exist. You can see that by comparing the Scottish map with the Asian one. (Also, as noted above, comparing a continent vs. a country is not cool and also really misleading.) The Scottish map is really red, with a lot of counties shaded darkly, but the legend shows that those counties have a few percent of people of Scottish ancestry. In the Asian map, some of the light purple counties are upwards of 80% Asian. So the Asian map makes it look like there are no people of Asian descent, but in fact they have really high numbers in some counties. The overall effect is that Asians are almost erased, and Scots are over-represented, when the two (very different) maps are compared. (Also, this issue is separate from the under-reporting of people of Scottish ancestry, since the map issue is about representing the existing data as accurately as possible. It's a second, and also important, issue to discuss the quality of the census data.)

Incorrect statement in introduction[edit]

>>As of 2005, four states — California, Hawaii, New Mexico and Texas — have "minority-majorities," where non-Hispanic whites are not a majority of their state populations.

I checked each Wikipedia article on those states, and the data seems to validate that for Hawaii, California and New Mexico. For Texas however the article didn't say other than Texas has 80% of whites - definitely a majority. The following article ( says that in 2000, non-Hispanic whites were 53%, still a majority. I didn't find data in 2005 anywhere, so that's why I added the "Citation needed" tag. 18:14, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

The change occurred since 2000. You can see it in the 2006 ACS [Population Estimate],[1] though you have to compute it. At the bottom it shows that there were 11.35 million white Texans who were non-Hispanic or Latino. Divide that by Texas' total population of 23.5 million and you get 48.3%. And keep in mind that that 80% white figure is just about race, so it includes white Hispanics, whereas the non-Hispanic percentage figure does not, because it's about the non-Hispanic white ethnic group. SamEV (talk) 22:42, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Interestingly Texas under governor (now president) George W. Bush long insisted to officially abandon racial categories to combat Affirmative action and to promote more unity of Texans (and later Americans, in post 9-11 America he presided). As state governor, Bush succeeded in June 2000 when he signed a state bill to officially eliminate 5 American Indian tribes based in the state of Texas.

Bush at first wanted the U.S. Census to discard the "Hispanic/Latino" category but without success, but emphasized what large numbers of anthropologists said about the artificial construct of a "race" based on language (i.e. Spanish) and cultural origin (i.e. Spain and Portugal in the Americas).

Also he managed to block or derail new official ethnic categories for "Middle East American" in hopes to give affirmative action status for Arab Americans, but are already classified as White American and European Americans along with Iranian Americans and attempts to redesignate South Asian Americans not as "Asians". However, the U.S. Census will not eliminate "Latino", "Asian American" and "Pacific Islander", which was created separate from Asians in the 2000 Census.

But, critics charge Bush for absolute refusal to officially eliminate the concept of "blackness" and "African Americans" from the US Census and official government usage, thus to indicate Bush and the last administrations (2001-09) is just as racially charged while conservative Republicans claim to oppose racial categorization of people. + (talk) 16:53, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

49 out of 50 states have white majority?[edit]

I remember hearing that CA recently became the first state with no majority. White people had slipped to 49.5%, and so they were the largest minority. In the White Americans section, it says otherwise. Any thoughts, guys? (talk) 06:13, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Read the article more carefully. White includes White Hispanics and Latinos. The statistics you cite do not, as they speak only about non-Hispanic Whites. In other words: California is now less than 50% non-Hispanic white. But it is still more than 50% white. SamEV (talk) 16:44, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Yes, California is still 59% White (Hispanic is not a race but a culture)- signed by anon IP

Whites are not a majority in about 24 counties in California and 5 counties are over half Hispanic than other racial or ethnic groups. Imperial on the US-Mexican border is one and four based in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley around Fresno County and city, itself a subject of a book "Mexifornia" written by lifelong local and political analyst David Hansen). It's not suprisingly to see large African-American populations, multiple Asian-American communities and the sudden growth of various ethnicities in California's urban areas is an example of where America is heading (and always has been), but to imagine what it'll be like the year 2050 when all of the U.S. is a non-white/ Caucasian "minority majority" country. Maybe racial identity will not be an issue in America 2050, or like the TV show Torchwood on a futuristic extra-terrestrial colony when sexual orientation and identities too is jokingly decried by a character " and your little pity categories". + Mike D 26 (talk) 22:16, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

America will never be a non-white country because illegals will be sent back and immigration will be chopped down to size. You are a fool Mike D. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:19, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Top image[edit]

I expected the states in red to mean a Native American "Indian" majority. What does this description mean? Areas with the largest "American" ancestry populations were mostly settled by English, French, Welsh, Scottish and Irish. "American" is nowhere in that list, where's the justification for calling that "American"? Two of the nations on that list have their own color codes. Most if not all of the states have an American majority, if by that you don't mean Native. This makes no sense. -- AvatarMN (talk) 07:41, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Many people, especially from Appalachia to the Mississipi (the states in red) respond, literally, that they are "American" to the question about their ancestry. But most of the area is known to be populated by descendants of the earliest British settlers (English, Scottish, Scotch-Irish, Welsh), as well as of Irish and French settlers. SamEV (talk) 20:13, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
Very strange. Only people there buck this question to the point where it spoils the map? It can't be determined beyond what their response is, and made into something that's useful beside the rest of the responses and what the map is made up for? -- AvatarMN (talk) 09:28, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
No, it's a nationwide thing, but most common in that region. And no, that's all the ancestry info they provide. In fact, that's the only reason the Census Bureau accepts that response. As they write: "American was considered a valid ancestry response when it was the only ancestry provided by a respondent."Ancestry: 2000.
What's happened is that over the centuries, many families have lost some of their history.
BTW, I edited my first reply. SamEV (talk) 09:06, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, it seems to me that the map is made a lot less useful by the data for four states being in a different context than the rest of the map. It annoys the crap out of me, but maybe that's just me. -- AvatarMN (talk) 07:11, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
I too find the response unsatisfactory. But just try and think of it as another kind of British; might help. SamEV (talk) 01:48, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

a merge from People of the United States of America[edit]

I am proposing a merge from People of the United States of America, definityvely the same topics, but more expanded on this one, that one is not even wiki-linked properly to other articles. Greetings --Andersmusician NO 03:03, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm neutral right now on that idea. But I ask you to consider whether that article should be merged with Race in the United States, or renamed Racial relations in the United States, or the like. It in no way deserves its current title, which should, when it's all said and done, be redirected to Demographics of the United States. In any case, I don't think that the article should remain as is. SamEV (talk) 04:34, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Did a very crude cut & paste merge, which can be better integrated by people more in tune with the contents of this article. There's yet a third article out there that needed to be moved: the awkwardly titled "American people of the United States", which I just moved to People of the United States. I couldn't see having two articles, "people of the US" and "people of the USA", which is what motivated me to go ahead with the merger. That might be another merge, though the emphasis is different than this article. kwami (talk) 23:46, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

The existence of an American ethnicity[edit]

I am an academician whose research includes issues of race and ethnicity. Despite popular assumption, there is no consensus on the existence of an American ethnicity. A sizable percentage of the American population - 7.2 percent, to be exact - chose to identify itself as having American ancestry in the 2000 census. To put the term "American" in quotation marks in the table listing white ancestries is to belittle those who support the concept of American ethnicity. We consider those in England to be ethnically English even though their ancestors came from present-day Germany and France. The Normans themselves were descendants of Vikings from Scandinavia. Why then do we not consider those in the United States who can trace their heritage back 400 years in this country to be ethnically American? - signed by anon IP

I came to notice the four states with the largest plurality of "American"-only ancestry are Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia. I'm concerned on how it fits the profile of the states' rural/conservative image as a "backward" society where these people only call themselves "American". Another stereotype of people from these states are White supremacists and Neo-Confederates, and how often the political fringe groups may use "American" as a code word for something else. I always thought the Appalachians and Ozarks regions have the highest density of Scotch-Irish American ancestry in the country, dates back to waves of Scots-Irish settlement from southwest Scotland and Ulster (Northern Ireland) during the British colonial era in the early 18th century. + (talk) 06:38, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps it reflects large numbers of people who simply can't trace their ancestry back to anywhere but America and large numbers of people of mixed ancestry. If the furthest back you can trace your family tree is mid-1800s Virginia no matter which branch you try, are you supposed to put down something from Europe or Africa as your ethnicity? Perhaps, not being able to trace back, you try to rely on family names to establish your background, but you have a mixture of names from places like England, Germany, France, Ireland, Norway. What ethnicity can you select other than "American"? For many people born and raised in America who only know ancestors from America, there can be something offensive about being asked to claim a European or African ethnicity that simply doesn't have real meaning to them. One may think, "I was born and raised in America; my parents were born and raised in America; my grandparents were born and raised in America; my great-grandparents were born and raised in America. Beyond that I haven't a clue. And you want me to say I'm 'Japanese American' just because of my skin color and last name? I like hamburgers and soda, not seaweed and tea."
I'm not sure exactly what user: was trying to say, whether he was agreeing or disagreeing, but the suggestion that people who believe they have an American ethnicity are racist is indeed offensive. Readin (talk) 00:28, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

British American excludes the Irish[edit]

Why are the Irish erroneously counted seperately from the other British peoples when the great majority of Irish emigration occured when Ireland as a whole was British and part of the United Kingdom? The Irish were, and arguably still are, just as 'British' as are the Scots, English and Welsh and wikipedia should not be held ransom to the political fashions/Nationlistic POV which flatly contradict history. (talk) 15:59, 12 June 2009 (UTC) Why is there only reference to England in the article when presumably they are refering to Britain? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:53, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

2000 US Ancestry Chart[edit]

Why are African Americans listed as second in the 2000 US Ancestry chart? I thought it was suppose to be Irish Americans? And also why is Hispanic Americans seperated with Mexican Americans? I proposed this chart removed from the article. Schoolistic (talk) 09:18, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Further problem is that the table is unreliable, the data in the book listed as source 35, gives only 2000census not 2010, the 2010 counting is not backed up by any source! e.g in 2000 census showed about 10.000.000 hispanics (according to 35) and here we've got info, that in 2010 there were already 40 million more! which would mean that all the increase of population during these years was Hispanics... sorry but this is false data and needs removing or at least revising! (talk) 17:38, 16 April 2012 (UTC)


isn't it racist and superficial to say just white americans?we should specify there descent even because you can't say there is actually an american prototype,they all have different descents,from germans to italians,besides jews are white,are they considered white americans?so are asians,No, asians are an entirely differnet race altogether, you and mexicans are partially and probably there are more I t dosen't Matter, if yu mean the mexicas of pure European descent, then yes, But if you mean the Latino Mexicans, then no, they are a genetic mix of all kind of different genetics, European, Asian, native, African, ect, they are a mix race of their own —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:04, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Line Chart Needed?[edit]

I think that this article could really use a line chart, identifying the proportion of ethnicities in the country over the centuries. For simplicity's sake, we'd probably have to use current ethnic views - classifying Germans and Irish as fully white even though they may not have been perceived as such at the time - and there could be complications there. Overall, however, I feel that such a chart could be quite informative. Thoughts? Best, Mdiamante (talk) 03:38, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Critical view on Hispanics needed for NPOV[edit]

This article completely ignores the growth of the Hispanic demographic from the illegal alien invasion. MILLIONS of Hispanics are illegal aliens. There is no information about crime committed by Hispanics. Or the identity theft, the environmental ruin in the Southwest, the gang violence, the drain on tax dollars and social services, and the anchor babies. This article needs info on the growing grassroots movement to stop the ruin to our nation caused by Hispanic illegals and the fact that most Americans support Arizona, and most Americans believe these Hispanics criminal welfare roaches are destroying our economy and indeed our way of life. I wonder if Obama (illegal alien in chief) administration officials are editing this article as I type to censor facts that do not support their POV. DarienBrewer (talk) 04:12, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Isn't there something very ironic about the above appeal coming under a heading asking for NPOV? JamesBWatson (talk) 10:35, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Unsourced content[edit]

This was added to article on July 3, 2010, unsourced. It's been slow-going enough to source what's currently in the article, so I'm moving any new unsourced additions here and notifying the 'adders'.

According to U.S. Census figures, approximately 62% of white Americans today are either wholly or partly of English, Welsh, Irish, or Scottish ancestry. Approximately 86% of white Americans today are of Northwestern European descent, and 14% are of Southern and Eastern European ancestry.

Based on a study of Census results from 1980, 1990, and 2000, U.S. Census Bureau statisticians determined that one out of every three white Americans today is descended from just one European ethnicity; one of every three is descended from two European nationalities; and one out of every three white Americans is descended from three or more European ethnic origins.

SamEV (talk) 05:16, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Inaccuracy of individual census reporting[edit]

I was wondering if there was any existing research into the accuracy in reporting ethnicity? No so much much in the sense of people claiming to be from an alternative ancesteral group to their true heritage, but whether or not there is a tendancy for those of mixed heritage to report their links in one group more than another for an reason. For exmaple and individual of equal Irish, Scottish, Swedish and German stock from many different lines may prefer to pick one because of the predominant influence of their peers/community or simply their own preferences in identity. Whether the current zeitgeist populuarizes some groups over others or for any other reason, there may inevitably be a dilution the reporting of certain groups and overestimation in that of others. I admit that Being half Irish and half English (with some splattering of Scottish in both sides) I suspect if I was living in New York or Boston with all the Irish culture, it may be tempting to immerse myself into that scene! Dainamo (talk) 08:29, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Why so many Germans?[edit]

Has there ever been mass German migrations into the United States? It seems like a very high percentage. I'd expect English ancestry to be higher. (talk) 18:02, 26 September 2011 (UTC) Yes, there has been a massive German immigration into the U.S. from the XVII to the XX Centuries. But in my opinion it is true that the English ancestry is at least as high as the German. The difference is that a great part of those of "English" ancestry just call themselves "American". British (English, Scot, Welsh, Irish) ancestry would be more appropiate. Also in Argentina there was a large Italian immigration and now there are more people who considers themelves of Italian ancestry because those of Spanish ancestry are just called "Argentines" (Criollos) with some exceptions of XIX and XX cetury immigrants (Galicia, Asturias regions) who still remember their past.-- (talk) 06:03, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

I have recently added a paragraph explaining the serious under-count of English and British-Americans and that they are still by far the largest ethnic group; however how German-American have suddenly self-reported in such huge numbers is bizarre as they only make up 5.8% of the population according to the latest dna surveys. Twobells (talk) 22:51, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

about racial categorization of hispanics[edit]

sometimes hispanics will mark them selves as white(even if they have some or a lot of native ancestry latin american, or some of indigenous heritage) since there is no category for amerindians that come from outside the u.s. also sometimes the forms don't give the options two or more races. also, there one time where i had to fill out the race category for some form i was signing that didn't even give out the option "other". these factors must be taken into account.--Crossovershipper (talk) 14:06, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Parent article[edit]

Could some of the editors familiar with this article please spare the time to clean up the corresponding section of Ethnic group? It's short on sourcing, and needs a little wikilove. LeadSongDog come howl! 18:24, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

scottish and scotch-irish problem[edit]

As I understand it the actual numbers of Americans descendants from Scottish and Scotch-Irish immigrants to the US is always under-represented in the census because these groups have tended to assimilate to such an extent that they have lost affiliation with, or even knowledge of, their ancestral country of origin. Areas of formidable Scottish and Scotch-Irish settlement are also areas where many claim only to be simply 'Americans.' Scholars give the reason that, owing to their Protestantism, they were more easily able to blend into mainstream Anglo-American culture than, say, Irish Catholics, Italians, etc.

Also, many who today claim Irish ancestry are in fact descendant from Scotch-Irish, or Anglo-Irish (i.e. protestant) immigrants.

The majority of the more than 300 million people currently living in the United States consists of White Americans, who trace their ancestry to the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.[edit]

North Africans and Middle Easteners are counted as white? This is novel. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:03, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

This is indeed less than intuitive. Apparently it is indeed a "novel" concept, introduced for the 2010 census. Some background on this would be nice. Perhaps they felt 1 million was too small to bother introducing a separate category. Clearly, this isn't going to be the last word, as the Middle Eastern American is one of the most rapidly growing. --dab (𒁳) 09:28, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

See Gualtieri's book, "Between Arab and White". Basically, in the early 1900s, only "whites" could become US citizens, so the early Arab Americans argued in court that they were white, in order to have the chance to have political rights. After 9/11, as Arab Americans are sometimes called out or targeted based on how they look, and identified by others as non-white, many have begun to change (or have grown up with) a different racial identity than white. But as of 2000 the US census still codes Arab Americans as white.

Number of African Americans[edit]

Something cannot be right here, for 2000, we report 25 million and for 2010, we report 41 million. What? 16 million African Americans appeared out of nowhere within a decade? Does anyone know what is going on here? --dab (𒁳) 09:23, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

so, the African American article reports

2000 34.6 million
2010 38.9 million

so apparently both figures are off by millions. This is terrible, perhaps somebody who knows what they are doing can fix it? Also, even with these figures I ask myself where did 4.3 million come from in just ten years? Natural population growth seems unlikely, especially in a purely self-reported category. Does this reflect that the category "mixed race" has again become less popular during the 2000s? Any other ideas? --dab (𒁳) 09:40, 1 May 2014 (UTC)