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Race and ethnicity in the United States


The United States has a racially and ethnically diverse population. The United States Census officially recognizes six racial categories: White American, Black or African American, Native American and Alaska Native, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and people of two or more races; a category called "some other race" is also used in the census and other surveys, but is not official. The United States Census Bureau also classifies Americans as "Hispanic or Latino" and "Not Hispanic or Latino", which identifies Hispanic and Latino Americans as an ethnicity (not a race) distinct from others that composes the largest minority group in the nation.

The United States Supreme Court unanimously held that "race" is not limited to Census designations on the "race question" but extends to all ethnicities, and thus can include Jewish and Arab as well as Polish or Italian or Irish, etc. In fact, the Census asks an "Ancestry Question" which covers the broader notion of ethnicity initially in the 2000 Census long form and now in the American Community Survey.

White Americans are the racial majority. African Americans are the largest racial minority, amounting to 13.2% of the population. Hispanic and Latino Americans amount to 17% of the population, making up the largest ethnic minority. The White, non-Hispanic or Latino population make up 62.6% of the nation's total, with the total White population (including White Hispanics and Latinos) being 77%.

White Americans are the majority in every region except Hawaii, but contribute the highest proportion of the population in the Midwestern United States, at 85% per the Population Estimates Program (PEP), or 83% per the American Community Survey (ACS). Non-Hispanic Whites make up 79% of the Midwest's population, the highest ratio of any region. However, 35% of White Americans (whether all White Americans or non-Hispanic/Latino only) live in the South, the most of any region.


Admixture in European-American population (Schriver et al. 2003, sample size n=187)
 % European Admixture Frequency
90-100 68%
80-89.9 22%
70-79.9 8%
60-69.9 < 1%
50-59.9 < 1%
40-49.9 < 1%
0-39.9 0
Hispanic and Latino Americans by race (2010)
Race Population % of all Hispanic
and Latino Americans
White 26,735,713 53.0
Some other race
(mestizo, mulatto, etc.)
18,503,103 36.7
Two or more races 3,042,592 6.0
Black 1,243,471 2.5
American Indian and Alaska Native 685,150 1.4
Asian 209,128 0.4
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander 58,437 0.1
Total 50,477,594 100.0
Rank Ancestry Number Percent of total
population
U.K. (1801–1922) 66,224,627 23.3 %
1 German 42,841,569 15.2 %
2 Irish 30,524,799 10.8 %
3 African 24,903,412 8.8 %
4 English 24,509,692 8.7 %
5 American 20,188,305 7.2 %
6 Mexican 18,382,291 6.5 %
7 Italian 15,638,348 5.6 %
8 Polish 8,977,235 3.2 %
9 French 8,309,666 3.0 %
10 Native American and Alaskan Native 7,876,568 2.8 %
11 Scottish 4,890,581 1.7 %
12 Dutch 4,541,770 1.6 %
13 Norwegian 4,477,725 1.6 %
14 Scotch-Irish 4,319,232 1.5 %
15 Chinese 4,010,114 1.4 %
Rank Ancestry Number Percent of total
population
1 German 49,206,934 17.1 %
2 African American 45,284,752 14.6 %
3 Irish 35,523,082 11.6 %
4 Mexican 31,789,483 10.9 %
5 English 26,923,091 9.0 %
6 American 19,911,467 6.7 %
7 Italian 17,558,598 5.9 %
8 Polish 9,739,653 3.0 %
9 French 9,136,092 2.9 %
10 Scottish 5,706,263 1.9 %
11 Scotch-Irish 5,102,858 1.7 %
12 Native American and Alaskan Native 4,920,336 1.6 %
13 Dutch 4,810,511 1.6 %
14 Puerto Rican 4,607,774 1.5 %
15 Norwegian 4,557,539 1.5 %

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