The US is a multi-racial and multi-ethnic country. The state officially categorizes its population into six groups: white, African American, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, Asian, and Native Hawaiian. From those groups, Americans identity with ethnic groups that are even more specific. More Americans specify as German than any other ethnicity.
A black, or African-American person is defined by having total or partial black ancestry. Despite the commonly used term of "African-American", many black Americans cite ancestry from other places across the globe like South America and the Caribbean. However, many people do have African heritage, as many enslaved people were forcibly taken over to North America by European settlers. Many of these people came from West and Central Africa.
The history of racial discrimination against black Americans runs deep. Racial discrimination against African Americans was legally outlawed following the influential of the Civil Rights Movement, though inequality still exists today. Today, African Americans constitute 12.3% of the total population.
Most of the Americans who cite English ancestry are found in north-western US. They largely came from the British Isles, including England, Wales, and Scotland. Today, people of English origin make up 12.6% of the American population.
Many people from Ireland migrated to the US in mid-1800's due to the Great Famine in Ireland. A large amount settled in the large cities of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Presently the ethnic group makes up 10.6% of the total population in the country.
Native Americans, which includes anybody with ancestry from North, Central or South America as well as Alaska, make up 1.6% of the US population. Prior to European colonization, Native Americans were the original residents of the present-day United States. Unfortunately, the arrival of Europeans meant new exposure to diseases, and often involve a violent outcome. The Native American population dwindled, and today the population group still disproportionately suffers from high poverty rates.
Mexicans have been immigrating to the US throughout the history of the country due to the proximity of the country to the US. The people of the Mexican ethnic group is majorly found in the southwestern borders of the US and constitute 10.9% of the population. The Mexicans also constitute 58.5% of the Latino/ Hispanic population of the country.
What are the Largest Ethnic Groups in the United States?
Some of the most common ethnicities in the United States include German, African American, Mexican, Irish, and English.
Percentage of Races in America
|Rank||Ethnicity||Percentage of Population|
|2||Black or African American (non-Hispanic)||12.30%|
|3||Mexican (of any race)||10.90%|
|11||Native American and Alaska Native||1.60%|
|20||West Indian (non-Hispanic)||0.90%|
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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