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CHAT: US ancestry [was Re: FWD [OT but interesting] Arctic people seek common alphabet]

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Friday, August 16, 2002, 7:49
Quoting Adrian Morgan <morg0072@...>:

> Quoting Clint Jackson Baker: > > > The common factor here is not race but language. The > > most common ethinc heritage in the United States is > > German, but we speak English. Therefore, we more > > As a non-American, this is new to me, and surprising.
Yeah, it's certainly one of the larger ones, yes. Germans made up a large percentage of the immigrants coming to what is now the US from the earliest colonial times until sometime in the 20th century. According to the US Census bureau's 2000 estimate (i.e., that made *before* the 2000 Census figures became available), there appear to be around 32 million Americans who list German ancestry as "first", and another 14 million who list it second: < ds_name=D&geo_id=D&mt_name=ACS_C2SS_EST_G2000_PCT024&_lang=en> < ds_name=D&geo_id=D&mt_name=ACS_C2SS_EST_G2000_PCT025&_lang=en> This is not including specifically delineated groups like Germans whose families once lived in Russia, and the Pennsylvania Germans, who together constitute another 320 thousand first-ancestries. (FWIW, Irish are listed as second with over 20 million first ancestry entries, and English third with just over 19 million.) These figures can be confusing, because they are based on *self-reported* figures, and many people have either a hazy or only partial idea about their family's ancestry, and give their best guess. This partly explains why nearly 20 million people list "American" or "United States" as their first ancestry, though this latter number also includes those who for some ideological reason do not want to acknowledge their forbears before America. Perhaps most curious of all about these two lists is the glaring absence of some category to represent African Americans', Hispanics' and many Asians' ancestries, who seem to be lumped into an "Other groups" category with a whopping 83,110,113 people in it, while Germans and French both have three categories, and Scots have two. Since there are around 35 million African Americans, and 32 million Hispanics, both of these are good contenders for being the largest ethnic group in the US. (Some of these figures are surely out of date, since when the 2000 census figures actually came in, they realized there were about 11 million more people living in the US than they had estimated that same year, the 1990s being the most explosive decade of population growth in America's history.) ========================================================================= Thomas Wier Dept. of Linguistics "Nihil magis praestandum est quam ne pecorum ritu University of Chicago sequamur antecedentium gregem, pergentes non qua 1010 E. 59th Street eundum est, sed qua itur." -- Seneca Chicago, IL 60637