Today we look past the general term Hispanic to see where America’s Hispanics truly come from. Calling someone “Hispanic” is like calling them “European.” It speaks somewhat to their ancestral heritage, but encompasses a *very* broad swath of very different folks.
Yet as we see when we map the United States by most populous Hispanic sub-type for each zip code, we find the Hispanic population of America is, overwhelmingly, Mexican.
To arrive at this took a very tedious formula. I’m sure there’s some better way to do it, but the only way I knew was with an IF, AND, THEN, ELSE statement. Basically, for each sub-type, I made a formula that said, “If there are more of this group than that group, and that group, and that group, and that group (etc.) then this group is the biggest group in the zip code.” If the group wasn’t the largest, the code looked at the next one. And so forth, and so on. Here is the code for just one of the ethnic groups I looked at:
if [Guatemalan]>[- Cuban] and [Guatemalan]>[- Dominican (Dominican Republic)] and [Guatemalan]>[- Mexican] and [Guatemalan]>[- Other Hispanic or Latino: – Spaniard] and [Guatemalan]>[- Other Hispanic or Latino: – Spanish] and [Guatemalan]>[- Other Hispanic or Latino: – Spanish American] and [Guatemalan]>[- Puerto Rican] and [Guatemalan]>[Argentinean] and [Guatemalan]>[Bolivian] and [Guatemalan]>[Chilean] and [Guatemalan]>[Colombian] and [Guatemalan]>[Costa Rican] and [Guatemalan]>[Ecuadorian] and [Guatemalan]>[Honduran] and [Guatemalan]>[Nicaraguan] and [Guatemalan]>[Other Central American] and [Guatemalan]>[Other South American] and [Guatemalan]>[Panamanian] and [Guatemalan]>[Paraguayan] and [Guatemalan]>[Peruvian] and [Guatemalan]>[Salvadoran] and [Guatemalan]>[Uruguayan] and [Guatemalan]>[Venezuelan] then “Guatemalan”
I started this series, in part, because of the fact that immigration and citizenship have been in the news lately. While my maps have focused on every aspect of the American ancestral makeup, the portion of our tapestry which is currently under debate is the one I look at today – Hispanic-Americans. Hispanic is a broad category, and I plan to publish a more detailed map of Hispanic America which will show not only where Hispanics live, but where Hispanics from various nations live. After all, Hispanic is just a category – it encompasses a lot of nationalities, and lumping them together ignores this varied heritage. Keep checking my site – at the moment, I intend to have that new, more detailed map ready tomorrow.
Hispanic settlement isn’t particularly surprising, although I do find it odd how quickly numbers drop off when you cross the Louisiana-Texas border.
I expected to see a strong concentration of Russians on the East Coast near New York City, for whatever reason. I was wrong. The region of the United States with the highest percentage of Russian ancestry is actually off in the Dakotas – perhaps testimony to the Russian ability to live through blistering summers and polar winters… Or perhaps not. Either way, I was surprised by the results – and that’s always a good thing.
If you’re a Lithuanian in America, you are not alone. But you’re close. Lithuanians are few and far between, representing one of the smaller demographic segments of the population.
In fact, out of fifty ethnic and racial ancestral demographics, Lithuanians came in tied for #36 in my list of ethnicities with the greatest number of zip codes where they’re the largest ethnic component. There was one zip code in the United States where there were more Lithuanians than any other ethnicity – zip code 17974, in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania. In that single zip code, Lithuanians make up 29.6% of the population. Go Schuylkill! Of course, that isn’t even a proper zip code – it’s a p.o. box zip code, which means it doesn’t show up as an area on my map – it shows up as a little circle that’s difficult to spot. Think of hunting for it as a Lithuanian version of “Where’s Waldo?”
Today, we look at Italian-Americans – a demographic strongly concentrated in the New York / New Jersey area. While that’s certainly the largest Italian enclave in the United States, the smaller New Orleans Italian community also shows up – giving insight into one of the many populations which make up Louisiana’s unique (and delicious) ancestral blend.
Today I take a brief break from ethnicity to look at the percentage of residents in American zip codes who were born outside of the United States. This isn’t the same as the percentage of non-citizens, mind you, which I looked at separately, and which I’ve turned in to the Reveille. One of the major themes of my series on ethnic/racial heritage is that the United States is an immigrant nation – the primary difference between each immigrant group is order of arrival.
The map of foreign-born residents is the simplest way to see where the newest immigrants have settled – where the newest addition to our mixing bowl can be found. Some may not be citizens, and there is no way at the moment to tell whether they’ll be able to become legal citizens of the United States. That debate is a big part of why I became interested in this data. However, legal or not, they’re here – and now we can see visually *where* they are. Originally, ancestry and ethnic mix seemed like a good, quick way to show that the United States is a hodge-podge of post-Revolution immigrants. Instead, I found the dispersal of different ancestries compelling. Many maps later, here we are.
Share with anyone you know living in the United States, but born outside her borders. They can see how many of their neighbors share their non-native born status.
Polish-Americans are highly concentrated among the Great Lakes region of the United States, showing much less diffusion than some of the other ancestries I’ve looked at, like the Irish.
Aside from their fairly specific geographic distribution, the Polish-American population doesn’t hold many surprises. I had thought there’d be more Poles, but one problem with preconceptions about ancestry is that there are so many different ancestries which make up the American landscape that it’s difficult to get a handle on all of them at once, as well as their relative prevalence. When I approach the end of this project, I do hope to put together a single map showing multiple ancestral/ethnic groupings at once — but I’m running into technical difficulties, and it remains a challenging work in progress. Cross your fingers for me!
Here’s a link to my Tableau on Polish-Americans, so you can drill down, zoom in, etc:
The first thing that struck me when I made this map: What the heck is up with Chicago?
Seriously, I had always thought Chicago was supposed to have an enormous Irish population – yet you just don’t see it on this zip-code level census data. Even poking around and mousing over individual zip codes in the area, I didn’t see much to explain the lack — no concentrated, 100% Irish neighborhoods, say.
But, again, that’s why you do these sorts of projects. Surprise results are a good thing, as they help dispel illusions you previously labored under. The Irish are a wonderful group to study when discussing immigration, because they’re one of the more famous groups of immigrants to arrive in America and face opposition from those who were already here. The map is set so the darkest green (please forgive the stereotype I indulged in, using green to represent the Irish) represents zip codes with 25% or more Irish descent.
There are many more ancestral groups to cover, and I will keep putting together new maps for as long as I can find the time — keep watching jaredwkendall.com to see more of what makes up those who make up America.
Link to my Tableau tool, so you can get individual zip code data for all ancestral breakdowns:
It being Thanksgiving, I think of Native Americans, among other things. It’s a carryover from my childhood, when the whole Pilgrims & Indians mythos was treated as gospel truth.
Looking at their distribution, you can see Native American concentrations in modern tribal areas — Oklahoma, in particular, is easy to pick out. Other reservations and concentrations of Native Americans can be seen in the southwest, and parts of the northern Great Plains.
Native American demographics weren’t included in the census dataset I used as my primary source. They’re included in files that look at race, rather than ancestry, and it’s a little weird to me that the two aren’t kept together. Race is about more than just race – it’s also about where we came from, and how we got where we are today. These maps help show both where we are now, and to some extent, I think they speak to how we got here, as well.