Soon I’ll wrap this series up – but first, we need to take a look at Swiss-Americans, and their reverence for the Mason-Dixon line.
The Swiss aren’t particularly common in America, but they’re notably sparse in the South. Apparently, whatever brought those with Swiss ancestry to the United States didn’t involve a love of sweet tea and kudzu.
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.
Slovaks can be found, for the most part, in a band which stretches from the Ohio Great Lakes east through Pennsylvania and parts of New York State.
Not particularly plentiful, and largely absent from much of the country, I decided to break with tradition and crop the Slovak map just a bit to make it easier to see the spots where they settled. The map isn’t perfect – one flaw is that I would need to make the coloration layer transparent if I wanted to allow city names and so forth to come through – but doing so makes it more difficult to spot the ethnic density coloration, so I’ve resisted the temptation up to this point. Try the Tableau tool so you can mouse over spots and get geographic information.
The Portuguese favor two locations in the United States – Massachusetts, and Southern California. Outside of those small enclaves, they’re nearly nonexistent, creating a vast empty expanse when mapped.
I would imagine someone with some knowledge of Portuguese history could shed some light on why their descendents are found in those areas – the map, as it stands, is just a tantalizing clue in need of further explanation.
Some ethnic groups spread out to fill every nook and cranny in the United States – Germans, I’m looking at you! Others, like the Norwegians, stick to one region and don’t stray far. For the Norwegians, the northern stretches of the Great Plains clearly holds a special attraction.
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.
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.
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.