The United States has diversity entrenched in its roots and origin. The term “Melting Pot” has been used to describe the community of immigrants in the United States since the 1790’s. Throughout the course of the relatively short history of this country, different demographic groups have grown and shifted to prominence and we will look at some of the trends that make up the modern day demographic break down of the United States to provide a better idea of who lives in the United States.
The population of the U.S. is now over 310 million. The majority of the population is White American, comprising approximately 70% of the population. Hispanic/Latino groups make up around 16% of the total population, and Black/African Americans make up nearly 13% of the population, followed by Asian Americans at close to 5%. The United States is the 3rd most populous country in the world and highly urbanized, meaning the majority (82%) of the population lives in or near urban cities, leaving much of the landmass of the country uninhabited.
Looking at the overall demographics provides a more accurate representation of the country than looking at a specific region or city. Demographic clustering in the U.S. results in high concentrations of different minority groups in different areas. Depending on where you do your internship in the United States, you may have a very different experience with the people you encounter and the communities to which you will be exposed.
In California for example, “minority” populations actually comprise the majority of the residents of the state, with White Americans accounting for only 40% of the state’s population. The population of California is 38% Latino and a closer look will reveal that the percentage of Latino residents in California is even higher in certain cities. The states with the highest percentages of Latino residents include California, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Geographical location of these states plays a role in why the Latino representation is so high.
The southern states in the U.S. have the highest Black/African American populations in the country with more than half of the Black population in the U.S. living in the South. Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina all have high Black populations that make up over 25% of each state’s population, which is much higher than the national demographic.
Asians make up a relatively small percentage of the overall population, and you will find higher concentrations of Asian residents in and near urban centers, particularly near the coasts. Hawaii has the highest percentage of Asians in its population at around 38%, California with a 13% Asian population. In terms of cities, Honolulu has the highest concentration of Asians at 46%, followed by San Francisco at 18%, and then Los Angeles at 10%.
Over the next 50 years the demographics of the U.S. are projected to change pretty dramatically based on current trends. The Census Bureau projects that persons who identify as White Americans will no longer make up the majority of the population by 2042, but they will still remain the largest single ethnic group and by 2050, they will make up about 46% of the population, compared to 70% today. The bureau predicts that the Hispanic or Latino population will rise from the 16% today to 30% by 2050. Compared to these rapidly changing groups, the African American percentage is predicted to barely rise from 12.9% to 13.0%, and Asian Americans will be increasing slightly from 4.6% to 7.8%. The U.S. population is projected to reach 400 million by 2039 and 439 million in 2050.
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