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?”
After spending some time looking at ethnic heritage in America, it’s time to turn to a new demographic: Those who respond, when asked for their ethnic background by the census, as “American.”
This ethnic/ancestral type reflects, presumably, Americans who no longer know, or no longer care, about the various derivations which contribute to their family trees. They’ve become a modern, generic homogenized ethnicity – the American-American.
I suspect I’m close to joining the American-Americans. I’m a little hazy on my family tree, beyond the knowledge that I’ve got some German, some Welsh, some Scottish and English progenitors. With such vague, and diverse, roots, simply calling myself “American” makes more and more sense to me.
Like many Americans, I’m a little hazy on my family tree. However, I’ve always thought of myself as predominately British, and assumed that as a former British colony, English descendents would be heavily represented when I mapped them.
This was not the case.
While America has plenty of English-Americans, they’re much more sparse than, say, German-Americans. This also brings up an interesting question – how much of these census results is attributed to actual lineage, and how much is due to variances in self-reporting? In other words, when you can count German, English, Welsh and Scottish relatives as part of your family tree, how do you choose to describe yourself? Perhaps claiming English descent seems too pedestrian, and loses out to the more “exciting” choices of, say, Scottish. To get true data, you would probably have to turn to genetic testing, and data from genetic testers that release demographic information can’t be trusted as being statistically representative of everyone – getting tested costs money, and requires an interest in such things. That’s going to skew results.
For now, the census is as good as it gets, and I was quite surprised by this one. Here’s hoping I’m not alone – expected results can be awfully boring.
Today I’m looking at one of the largest demographic groups in America’s ethnic background: The Germans.
German-Americans are extremely prevalent across large portions of the nation. Unlike some of the other maps I’ve done in this series, Germans don’t show up in narrow patches or bands – they fill the map in massive numbers across large swaths of territory.
As you can see from the map, a lot of us list German ancestry. The mid-west, in particular, seems to have held a special attraction for German immigrants.
Here’s a link to my Tableau tool, so you can zoom in, explore, and play: