Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free to start saving and receiving special member only perks. Gary D. Mannon, and Ann M. P rovided here is an overview of major demographic trends for racial and ethnic groups in the United States over the past 50 or so years— a daunting undertaking for one paper, given the variety of groups and topics addressed.
Consequently, this overview is selective, covering what we feel are the most important trends—population composition and growth, fertility, family, mortality, and migration. Racial and ethnic are the ones used by the federal government. To enumerate racial and ethnic groups, demographers rely on the U. To estimate marriage, fertility, and mortality rates, demographers use the national vital statistics records of births, marriages, and deaths.
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Estimates of internal migration come from the U. The U. Initially, slave status was used as a proxy for a racial category for Black Americans. Bureau of the Census, For Asians, the history of classification is as complicated. In censuses of the late s and early s, three Asian groups were typically represented—Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino. Other Asian were added along the way—Korean in and Vietnamese and Asian Indian in For example, most published tabulations of data on race report for the umbrella category of Asian and Pacific Islander, not each of the nine ethnic groups.
Another complication for analysis is the fact that Asians do not appear in vital statistics publications until recently. The Census included American Indians as a separate racial group. Prior to that, only Indians who paid taxes were enumerated, but they were not distinguished racially from the rest of the population. Currently, the census asks those who identify themselves as American Indians to write in their tribal affiliation.
Published information on American Indians from onward sometimes includes data for Eskimo and Aleut populations as Alaska Natives.
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An issue that has a pronounced impact on the analysis of trends among American Indians is the USBC change to self-identification. Between andthe size of the American Indian population tripled Nagel, ; Eschbach,an increase far beyond what was generated by either migration or births. Renewed pride in American Indian heritage among many who earlier had identified themselves with some group other than American Indian often White led to the increased s of American Indians.
These identifiers were less than satisfactory. In fact, the Census found that of the Perhaps the most important development in racial and ethnic group definitions also came in ; that year the census was distributed by mail rather than having enumerators go door-to-door. This made enumerator identification of race obsolete.
The Census was primarily self-identification, but enumerator identification was used in some rural areas where census forms were not mailed. Thus, sinceracial identification is no longer the province of census enumerators.
Respondents now classify their own race and that of the members of their households. Although the ethnicity question has remained relatively consistent in the past two censuses, USBC continues to grapple with racial classification.
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Most recently the issue is the classification of individuals of multiracial parentage who eschew single-race classification. This could prove extremely complicated when attempting to tabulate the composition of the nation by race. A final limitation of the data to be mindful of is that decennial censuses have been plagued by a differential undercount problem. It is estimated that the Census missed 8.
Other hard-to-reach populations, such as American Indians on reservations, are undercounted as well.
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The heterogeneity of the major racial and ethnic groups in the United States creates a final problem. All racial and ethnic groups discussed in this book are composed of subgroups that vary widely in characteristics.
Nevertheless, there is value in looking at trends for the broader groups. Federal, state, and local programs and funding allocations are often based on broad group membership rather than narrowly defined racial and ethnic groups. Also, most of the racial or ethnic groups within broader classifications share some cultural or historical experiences. Population size is determined by three principal components of demography: fertility, mortality, and migration. Racial and ethnic differences in rates of one or more of these components cause the racial composition of the nation to shift.
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The racial and ethnic composition of the more than million U. Figure 3—1 shows historical trends in racial composition from towith projections to UntilWhites are shown as constituting more than 80 percent of the population; since then, the percentage of the population that is White has been declining. Hispanic and Asian percentages have increased ificantly. The percentage of Blacks—10 to 12 percent—has remained relatively stable. The percentage of American Indians has grown dramatically, but is still only 1 percent at the end of this century.
From to Figure 3—1the Black population is projected to increase only slightly, while the Hispanic and Asian populations are projected to increase dramatically. ByHispanics are expected to surpass Blacks as the largest minority group in the United States. Whites are projected to comprise 53 percent of the population by One must take such projections with a huge grain of salt.
Immigration rates may change.
Fertility or mortality regimes could change ificantly. The way Americans think and talk about racial and ethnic distinc.
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Figure 3—2, a through fillustrates the age composition of U. Figure 3—2a shows that the population as a whole has aged from to The most notable shifts are the decreases in the younger groups and increases in the middle-age groups. Inthe. The dent in the age composition, at the toyear-old segment, can be attributed, in part, to low fertility during the Depression.
Inalmost half of the population was less than 30 years old; byonly about 40 percent of the population was less than 30 years old. In the data, the bulge at the middle-age groups represents the aging of the baby-boomers, and the percentages of the population at the oldest ages are greater than they were inindicating the aging of the population.
In Figure 3—2, b through fthe population pyramids illustrate changes in relative age structures for racial and ethnic groups and indicate future trends.
Logically, because they are the most populous group, Whites Figure 3—2b most closely mirror age structure trends for the total United States, with a lower and stabilizing birth rate, the baby-boomer bulge around the middle-age groups inand an aging population.
The pyramid for the Black population Figure 3—2c shows an older.
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The pyramid for American Indians Figure 3—2d suggests that that population has undergone dramatic changes in age composition since ; however, changes in self-identification probably influenced changes in age composition as well. Inmore than 15 percent of the American Indian population were less than 5 years old; bythe percentage was almost half that, at just over 8 percent; at this time, data are also included for Alaska Natives.
Even with the decline, this percentage is still higher than that for the total United States or Whites, but comparable to percentages for Blacks and Asians. Despite their aging population, in well over 50 percent of the American Indian population was less than 30 years old.
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Hispanics Figure 3—2e are currently the youngest population of all major U. Alaska Natives. Higher percentages in the young age groups in 1 may be a reflection of immigration of young children under the Immigration Act ofwhich emphasized family reunification. The young age of the Hispanic population, coupled with current high rates of immigration, support projections that the Hispanic population will surpass Blacks as the largest minority group by the year In the pyramid for the Asian population Figure 3—2f, rather thandata are used because was the first year complete data for Asians are available.
Earlier information reported only on selected Asian subgroups. The pyramid on the side is wider at the younger ages through the middle-age groups and more narrow at the older age groups. This is, in part, the result of the high rate of immigration among Asians.
Together, Asians and Hispanics comprised 85 percent of all U. The relatively young age structure and high rates of immigration indicate rapid growth for Asians in the future; projected growth rates exceed 2. The dramatic growth in major U. In addition to legal immigration, substantial s of undocumented immigrants have entered the United States since the mids; estimates have been a source of controversy, but the most widely accepted is between 2 and 4 million Bean and Tienda, ; see also, Passel and Woodrow, The Immigration Act, which replaced the national-origins system, increased the total of immigrants allowed into the United States, and caused the of immigrants entering the country to skyrocket.
Nearly one-half of the White population lives in the Northeast and Midwest, compared to less than one-third for all other racial and ethnic groups. Regional concentrations are shown in Table 3—1. Earlier information is based on surname or language spoken at home, or it is only for selected states. Despite the dramatic migration of Blacks from the South during much of the past century, more than half continued to live in the South in Return migration of Blacks to the South in the past few decades, however, contributes to this regional concentration, despite the fact that the overall percentage has been declining.
The West had the lowest percentage of Blacks in Nonetheless, this percentage has steadily increased since the s. The Hispanic population experienced its most dramatic boost in the late s as a result of immigration reform, refugee movements, and illegal immigration Bean and Tienda, Since the s, approximately three-fourths of the Hispanic population has settled in either the West or the South Table 3—1.
Underlying this general pattern are ificant variations by Hispanic origin. The Asian population experienced a dramatic increase in the s, more than doubling their s Barringer et al. With changing immigration laws in the s, and recent refugee movements, immigration is clearly the most important factor leading to the concentration of Asians in Hawaii and the West.
As with Hispanics, distribution varies considerably among Asian ethnic groups. Filipinos, Japanese, Okinawans, and, to a lesser extent, Cambodians and Indonesians, were more concentrated in the West than all other Asians in and Malayans and Hmong were largely living in the Midwest in andand Laotians were primarily residing in the Midwest in Barringer et al.