The United States has a racially and ethnic group diverse population. The United States Census officially recognizes six racial categories: White Americans, Black or African American, American Indian and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians 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, and comprising 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.St. Francis Coll. v. Al-Khazraji 481 U.S. 604 (1987), Shaare Tefila Congregation v. Cobb, 481 U.S. 615 (1987). 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. The ancestry question will return in the 2020 Census.
, White Americans are the racial majority. African Americans are the largest racial minority, amounting to an estimated 12.7% of the population. Hispanic and Latino Americans amount to an estimated 17.8% of the total U.S. population, making up the largest ethnic minority. The White, non-Hispanic or Latino population make up 61.3% of the nation's total, with the total White population (including White Hispanics and Latinos) being 76.9%.
White Americans are the majority in every census-defined region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West) and in every state 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.
55% of the African American population lives in the South. A plurality or majority of the other official groups reside in the West. The latter region is home to 42% of Hispanic and Latino Americans, 46% of Asian Americans, 48% of American Indians and Alaska Natives, 68% of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, 37% of the "two or more races" population (Multiracial Americans), and 46% of those self-designated as "some other race".
Each person has two identifying attributes, racial identity and whether or not they are of Hispanic ethnicity. These categories are sociopolitical constructs and should not be interpreted as being scientific or anthropological in nature. They have been changed from one census to another, and the racial categories include both "racial" and national-origin groups. The American FactFinder Introduction to Race and Ethnic (Hispanic Origin) Data for the Census 2000 Special EEO File
In 2007, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the US Department of Labor finalized its update of the EEO-1 report format and guidelines to come into an effect on September 30, 2007. In particular, this update concerns the definitions of racial/ethnic categories.
Each racial category may contain Non-Hispanic or Latino and Hispanic or Latino Americans. For example: the White (European-American) race category contains Non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanic Whites (see White Hispanic and Latino Americans); the Black or African-American category contains Non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanic Blacks (see Black Hispanic and Latino Americans); the Asian-American category contains Non-Hispanic Asians and Hispanic Asians (see Asian Hispanic and Latino Americans); and likewise for all the other categories. See the section on Hispanic and Latino Americans in this article.
The differences between how Native American and Black identities are defined today (blood quantum versus one-drop rule and political assumptions) have been based on different historical circumstances. According to the anthropologist Gerald Sider, such racial designations were a means to concentrate power, wealth, privilege and land in the hands of Whites in a society of White privilege (Sider 1996; see also Fields 1990). The differences had little to do with biology and more to do with the history of slavery and its racism, and specific forms of White supremacy (the social, geopolitical and economic agendas of dominant Whites vis-à-vis subordinate Blacks and Native Americans). They related especially to the different social places which Blacks and Amerindians occupied in White-dominated 19th-century America. Sider suggests that the blood quantum definition of Native American identity enabled mixed-race Whites to acquire Amerindian lands during the allotment process. The one-drop rule of Black identity, enforced legally in the early 20th century, enabled Whites to preserve their agricultural labor force in the South. The contrast emerged because, as peoples transported far from their land and kinship ties on another continent, Black labor was relatively easy to control, and they became reduced to valuable commodity as agricultural laborers. In contrast, Amerindian labor was more difficult to control; moreover, Amerindians occupied large territories that became valuable as agricultural lands, especially with the invention of new technologies such as railroads. Sider thinks the blood quantum definition enhanced White acquisition of Amerindian lands in a doctrine of Manifest Destiny, which subjected Native Americans to marginalization and resulted in numerous conflicts related to American expansionism.
The political economy of race had different consequences for the descendants of aboriginal Americans and African slaves. The 19th-century blood quantum rule meant that it was relatively easier for a person of mixed Euro-Amerindian ancestry to be accepted as White. The offspring of a few generations of intermarriage between Amerindians and Whites likely would not have been considered Amerindian (at least not in a legal sense). Amerindians could have treaty rights to land, but because an individual with only one Amerindian great-grandparent no longer was classified as Amerindian, he lost a legal claim to Amerindian land, under the allotment rules of the day. According to Sider's theory, Whites were more easily able to acquire Amerindian lands. On the other hand, the same individual who could be denied legal standing in a tribe, according to the government, because he was "too White" to claim property rights, might still have enough visually identifiable Amerindian ancestry to be considered socially as a "half-breed" or breed, and stigmatized by both communities.
The 20th-century one-drop rule made it relatively difficult for anyone of known Black ancestry to be accepted as White. The child of an African-American sharecropper and a White person was considered Black by the local communities. In terms of the economics of sharecropping, such a person also would likely become a sharecropper as well, thus adding to the landholder or employer's labor force. In short, this theory suggests that in a 20th-century economy that benefited from sharecropping, it was useful to have as many Blacks as possible.
Although some scholars of the Jim Crow period agree that the 20th-century notion of invisible Blackness shifted the color line in the direction of paleness, and "expanded" the labor force in response to Southern Blacks' Great Migration to the North. But, others (such as the historians Joel Williamson, C. Vann Woodward, George M. Fredrickson, and Stetson Kennedy) considered the one-drop rule a consequence of the need to define Whiteness as being pure, and justifying White-on-Black oppression.
Over the centuries when Whites wielded power over both Blacks and Amerindians and believed in their inherent superiority over people of color, they created a social order of hypodescent, in which they assigned mixed-race children to the lower-status groups. They were often ignorant of the systems among Native American tribes of social classification, including kinship and hypodescent. The Omaha people, for instance, who had a patrilineal kinship system, classified all children with white fathers as "white", and excluded them as members of the clans and tribe, unless one was formally adopted by a male member. Tribal members might care for mixed-race children of white fathers, but considered them outside the hereditary clan and kinship fundamental to tribal society. Melvin Randolph Gilmore, "The True Logan Fontenelle", Publications of the Nebraska State Historical Society, Vol. 19, edited by Albert Watkins, Nebraska State Historical Society, 1919, p. 64, at GenNet, accessed August 25, 2011
The hypodescent social construction related to the racial caste that was associated with African slavery and the conditions of the slave societies. It was made explicit by Virginia and other colonies' laws as early as 1662. Virginia incorporated the Roman principle of partus sequitur ventrem into slave law, saying that children of slave mothers were born into their status. Under English common law for subjects, children's social status was determined by the father, not the mother. But the colonists put Africans outside the category of English subjects. Generally, white men were in positions of power to take sexual advantage of black women slaves. But, historian Paul Heinegg has shown that most free African-American families listed in the censuses of 1790–1810 were, in fact, descended from unions between white women and African men in colonial Virginia, from the years when working classes lived and worked closely together, and before slavery had hardened as a racial caste. Paul Heinegg, Free African Americans in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware, 1995–2006
In the United States, social and legal conventions developed over time by whites that classified individuals of mixed ancestry into simplified racial categories (Gossett 1997), but these were always porous. The decennial censuses conducted since 1790, after slavery was well established in the United States, included classification of persons by race: white, black, mulatto, and Indian (Nobles 2000). But, the inclusion of mulatto was an explicit acknowledgement of mixed race. In addition, before the Civil War, Virginia and some other states had legal definition of "whiteness" that provided for people being classified as white if no more than 1/8 black. (For example, if not born into slavery, Thomas Jefferson's children by his slave Sally Hemings would have been classified as legally white, as they were 7/8 white by ancestry. Three of the four surviving children entered white society as adults, and their descendants have identified as white.) In the late 18th and 19th centuries, people of mixed race often migrated to frontiers where societies were more open, and they might be accepted as white if satisfying obligations of citizenship.
The more familiar "one-drop rule" was not adopted by Virginia and other states until the 20th century, but it classified persons with any known African ancestry as black (Davis 2001). Passage of such laws was often urged by white supremacists and people promoting "racial purity" through eugenics, having forgotten the long history of multi-racial unions in the South that comprised the ancestry of many families.
In other countries in the Americas, where mixing among groups was overtly more extensive, social categories have tended to be more numerous and fluid. In some cases, people may move into or out of categories on the basis of a combination of socioeconomic status, social class, ancestry, and appearance (Mörner 1967).
The term Hispanic as an ethnonym emerged in the 20th century, with the rise of migration of laborers from Spanish-speaking countries of the western hemisphere to the United States. It includes people who may have been considered racially distinct (Black, White, Amerindian or other mixed groups) in their home countries. Today, the word "Latino" is often used as a synonym for "Hispanic". Even if such categories were earlier understood as racial categories, today they have begun to represent ethno-linguistic categories (regardless of perceived race). Similarly, "Anglo" is now used among many Hispanics to refer to non-Hispanic or European Americans, most of whom speak the English language but are not of primarily English people descent.
The immigrants to the New World came largely from widely separated regions of the Old World. In the Americas, the immigrant populations began to miscegenation among themselves and with the indigenous inhabitants of the continents. In the United States, for example, most people who identify as African American have some European ancestors, as revealed by genetic studies. In one analysis of those genetic markers that have differing frequencies between continents, European ancestry ranged from an estimated 7% for a sample of Jamaicans to ~ 23 % for a sample of African Americans from New Orleans, where there was historically a large class of mixed race (now called Louisiana Creoles) (Parra et al. 1998).
In the United States since its early history, Native Americans, African Americans, and European Americans were classified as belonging to different races. For nearly three centuries, the criteria among whites for membership in these groups were similar, comprising physical appearance, assumption of non-European ancestry, and social circle. The criteria for membership in these races diverged in the late 19th century. During and after Reconstruction, after the emancipation of slaves after the Civil War, in the effort to restore white supremacy in the South, whites began to classify anyone with "one-drop theory" of "black blood", or known African ancestry, to be black. Such a legal definition was not put into law until the early 20th century in most southern states, but many established racial segregation of facilities during the Jim Crow era, after white Democrats regained control of state legislatures in the South.
Efforts to track mixing between groups led to an earlier proliferation of historical categories (such as "mulatto" and "octaroon" among persons with partial African descent) and "blood quantum" distinctions, which became increasingly untethered from self-reported ancestry. In the 20th century, efforts to classify the increasingly mixed population of the United States into discrete categories generated many difficulties (Spickard 1992). By the standards used in past censuses, many mixed-race children born in the United States were classified as of a different race than one of their biological parents. In addition, a person may change personal racial identification over time because of cultural aspects, and self-ascribed race can differ from assigned race (Kressin et al. 2003).
Until the 2000 census, Latinos were required to identify as one race, and none was Latino. Partly as a result of the confusion generated by the distinction, 32.9% (U.S. census records) of Latino respondents in the 2000 census ignored the specified racial categories and checked "some other race". (Mays et al. 2003 claim a figure of 42%)
Historical trends influencing the ethnic demographics of the United States include:
White Americans are the majority in 49 of the 50 states, with Hawaii as the exception. Non-Hispanic Whites are the majority in 46 states; Hawaii, New Mexico, California, and Texas (and the District of Columbia) are the exceptions. These five jurisdictions have "minority majorities", i.e. minority groups compose the majority of the population.
The non-Hispanic White percentage (63% in 2012) tends to decrease every year, and this sub-group is expected to become a of the overall U.S. population after the year 2043. White Americans overall (non-Hispanic Whites together with White Hispanics) are projected to continue as the majority, at 73.1% (or 303 million out of 420 million) in 2050, from currently 77.1%.
Although a high proportion of the population is known to have multiple ancestries, in the 2000 census, the first with the option to choose more than one, most people still identified with one racial category. In the 2000 census, self-identified German Americans made up 17.1% of the U.S. population, followed by Irish Americans at 12%, as reported in the 2000 U.S. Census. This makes German and Irish the largest and second-largest self-reported ancestry groups in the United States. Both groups had high rates of immigration to the U.S. beginning in the mid-19th century, triggered by the Great Famine in Ireland and the failed 1848 Revolution in Germany. However, English Americans and British Americans are still considered the largest ethnic group due to a serious under count following the 2000 census whereby many English and British Americans self-identified under the new category entry 'American' considering themselves 'indigenous' because their families had resided in the US for so long Sharing the Dream: White Males in a Multicultural America By Dominic J. Pulera.Stanley Lieberson and Lawrence Santi, 'The Use of Nativity Data to Estimate Ethnic Characteristics and Patterns', Social Science Research, Vol. 14, No. 1 (1985), pp. 44-6.Stanley Lieberson and Mary C. Waters, 'Ethnic Groups in Flux: The Changing Ethnic Responses of American Whites', Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 487, No. 79 (September 1986), pp. 82-86. or, if of mixed European ancestry, identified with a more recent and differentiated ethnic group.Mary C. Waters, Ethnic Options: Choosing Identities in America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), p. 36.
7.2% of the population listed their ancestry as American on the 2000 census (see American ethnicity). According to the United States Census Bureau, the number of people in the U.S. who reported American and no other ancestry increased from 12.4 million in 1990 to 20.2 million in 2000. This change in reporting represented the largest "growth" of any ethnic group in the United States during the 1990s, but it represented how people reported themselves more than growth through birth rates, for instance, and certainly did not reflect immigration.
Most French Americans are believed descended from colonists of Catholic New France; exiled , much fewer in number and settling in the eastern English colonies in the late 1600s and early 1700s, needed to assimilate into the majority culture and have intermarried over generations. Isleños of Louisiana and the Hispanos of the Southwest have had, in part, direct Spanish ancestry; most self-reported White Hispanics are of Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban Americans origins, each of which are multi-ethnic nations. Hispanic immigration has increased from nations of Central and South America.
African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans, and formerly as American ) are citizens or residents of the United States who have origins in any of the Black people populations of Africa. According to the 2009 American Community Survey, there were 38,093,725 Black and African Americans in the United States, representing 12.4% of the population. There were 37,144,530 non-Hispanic blacks, which comprised 12.1% of the population. United States – ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates: 2009. Factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved December 9, 2010. This number increased to 42 million according to the 2010 United States Census, when including Multiracial African Americans, making up 14% of the total U.S. population. Black and African Americans make up the second largest group in the United States, but the third largest group after White Americans and Hispanic or Latino Americans (of any race). The majority of the population (55%) lives in the South; compared to the 2000 Census, there has also been a decrease of African Americans in the Northeast and Midwest.
Most African Americans are the direct descendants of captives from West Africa, who survived the slavery era within the boundaries of the present United States. As an adjective, the term is usually written . The first West Africans were brought to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. The English settlers treated these captives as indentured servants and released them after a number of years. This practice was gradually replaced by the system of race-based slavery used in the Caribbean. All the American colonies had slavery, but it was usually the form of personal servants in the North (where 2% of the people were slaves), and field hands in plantations in the South (where 25% were slaves);
According to US Census Bureau data, very few African immigrants self-identify as African-American. On average, less than 5% of African residents self-reported as "African-American" or "Afro-American" on the 2000 US Census. The overwhelming majority of African immigrants (~95%) identified instead with their own respective ethnicities. Self-designation as "African-American" or "Afro-American" was highest among individuals from West Africa (4%-9%), and lowest among individuals from Cape Verde, East Africa and Southern Africa (0%-4%). None the less, African immigrants often develop very successful professional and business working-relationships with African-Americans.
|+ Hispanic and Latino Americans by race (2010)|
|Some other race|
(mestizo, mulatto, etc.)
|Two or more races||3,042,592||6.0|
|American Indian and Alaska Natives||685,150||1.4|
|Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islander||58,437||0.1|
The Census Bureau defines "Hispanic or Latino origin" thus:
The leading country-of-origin for Hispanic Americans is Mexico (30.7 million), followed by Puerto Rico (4.2 million) (which actually has a special relationship with the US, of which its people are citizens), and Cuba (1.6 million), as of 2008. However, as of 2010, there were 1,648,968 Salvadorans in the United States, the largest of the U.S.-Central American community. Salvadorans are poised to become the third largest Hispanic group by the next census, significantly overtaking and replacing Cubans. US Census Bureau 2011 American Community Survey B03001 1-Year Estimates HISPANIC OR LATINO ORIGIN BY SPECIFIC ORIGIN retrieved October 28, 2012 Recent estimates already put the Salvadoran population as high as 2 million, as of 2013, the third largest Hispanic-American group.
62.4% of Hispanic and Latino Americans identified as white. 30.5% identified as "some other race" (other than the ones listed). According to the PEP 91.9% of Latinos are white, as these official estimates do not recognize "some other race". In the official estimates, Black or African American Hispanics are the second-largest group, with 1.9 million, or 4.0% of the whole group. The remaining Hispanics are accounted as follows, first per the PEP: 1.6% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.5% two or more races, 0.7% Asian, and 0.03% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. Per the ACS: 3.9% two or more races, 1.9% Black or African American, 1.0% American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.4% Asian, and 0.05% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.
In the United States the Hispanic and Latino population has reached 58 million in 2016. According to Pew Research Center the Latino population has been the principal driver of United States demographic growth since 2000. Mexicans make up most of the Hispanic and Latino population 35,758,000. There is also a growth of Hispanics who are receiving a college education in 2015, 40% of Hispanics age 25 and older have had a college experience. In 2000 the percentage was at a low 30%. In all the 50 US states California houses the largest population percentage of Latinos. In 2015, 15.2 million Hispanics lived in California.
The Hispanic or Latino population is young and fast-growing, due to immigration and higher birth rates. For decades it has contributed significantly to U.S. population increases, and this is expected to continue. The Census Bureau projects that by 2050, one-quarter of the population will be Hispanic or Latino.
Their histories are diverse. As with the new immigration from central and eastern Europe to the East Coast from the mid-19th century on, Asians started immigrating to the United States in large numbers in the 19th century. This first major wave of immigration consisted predominantly of Chinese American and Japanese laborers, but also included Korean Americans and South Asian immigrants. Many immigrants also came during and after this period from the Philippines, which was a US colony from 1898 to 1946. Exclusion laws and policies largely prohibited and curtailed Asian immigration until the 1940s. After the US changed its immigration laws during the 1940s to 1960s to make entry easier, a much larger new wave of immigration from Asia began. Today the largest self-identified Asian American sub-groups according to census data are Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, Indian Americans, Vietnamese Americans, Korean Americans, and Japanese Americans, among other groups.
The legal and official designation of who is Native American has aroused controversy by demographers, tribal nations, and government officials for many decades. Federally recognized tribes and state recognized tribes set their own membership requirements; tribal enrollment may require residency on a reservation, documented lineal descent from recognized records, such as the Dawes Rolls, and other criteria. Some tribes have adopted the use of blood quantum, requiring members to have a certain percentage. The federal government requires individuals to certify documented blood quantum of ancestry for certain federal programs, such as education benefits, available to members of recognized tribes. But Census takers accept any respondent's identification. Genetics scientists estimated that more than 15 million other Americans, including African Americans and Hispanic Americans (specifically those of Mexican heritage), may have up to one quarter of American Indian ancestry.
Once thought to face extinction as a race or culture, Native Americans of numerous tribes have achieved revival of aspects of their cultures, together with asserting their sovereignty and direction of their own affairs since the mid-20th century. Many have started language programs to revive use of traditional languages; some have established tribally controlled colleges and other schools on their reservations, so that education is expressive of their cultures. Since the late 20th century, many tribes have developed gaming casinos on their sovereign land to raise revenues for economic development, as well as to promote the education and welfare of their people through health care and construction of improved housing.
Today more than 800,000 to one million persons claim Cherokee descent in part or as full-bloods; of these, an estimated 300,000 live in California, 70,000—160,000 in Oklahoma, and 15,000 in North Carolina in ancestral homelands.
The second largest tribal group is the Navajo people, who call themselves Diné and live on a 16-million acre (65,000 km²) Indian reservation covering northeast Arizona, northwest New Mexico, and southeast Utah. It is home to half of the 450,000 Navajo Nation members. The third largest group are the Lakota people (Sioux) Nation, with distinct federally recognized tribes located in the states of Minnesota, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming; and North Dakota and South Dakota.
Some demographers believe that by the year 2025, the last full-blooded Native Hawaiian will die off, leaving a culturally distinct, but racially mixed population. The total number of persons who have identified as Native Hawaiian in 2008 was more than the estimated Hawaiian population when the US annexed the islands in 1898. Native Hawaiians are receiving ancestral land reparations. Throughout Hawaii, they are working to preserve and assert adaptation of Native Hawaiian customs and the Hawaiian language. They have cultural schools solely for legally Native Hawaiian students.
There are an estimated 1.9-2.0 million Middle Eastern Americans according to the U.S. Census, including both Arab and non-Arab Americans, comprising 0.6% of the total U.S. population; however, the Arab American Institute estimates a population closer to 3.6 million. U.S. Census population estimates are based on responses to the ancestry question on the census, which makes it difficult to accurately count Middle Eastern Americans. Though Middle Eastern American communities can be found in each of the 50 states, the majority live in just 10 states with nearly "one third of the total living in California, New York, and Michigan". More Middle Eastern Americans live in California than any other state, but Middle Eastern Americans represent the highest percentage of the population of Michigan. In particular, Dearborn, Michigan has long been home to a high concentration of Middle Eastern Americans.
The United States Census Bureau is presently finalizing the ethnic classification of MENA populations. In 2012, prompted in part by post-9/11 discrimination, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee petitioned the Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency to designate the MENA populations as a minority/disadvantaged community. "Lobbying for a 'MENA' category on U.S. Census" Wiltz, Teresea. USA Today. Published October 7, 2014. Accessed December 14, 2015. Following consultations with MENA organizations, the US Census Bureau announced in 2014 that it would establish a new MENA ethnic category for populations from the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab world, separate from the "white" classification that these populations had previously sought in 1909. The expert groups, including some Jewish organizations, felt that the earlier "white" designation no longer accurately represents MENA identity, so they successfully lobbied for a distinct categorization. This process does not currently include ethnoreligious groups such as Jews or , as the Bureau only tabulates these groups as followers of religions rather than members of ethnic groups.
As of December 2015, the sampling strata for the new MENA category includes the Census Bureau's working classification of 19 MENA groups, as well as Turkish American, Sudanese, Somali American, Mauritanian, Armenian, Cypriot, Afghan Americans, Azerbaijani and Georgian groups.
While the colonies and southern states protected white fathers by making all children born to slave mothers be classified as slaves, regardless of paternity, they also banned miscegenation or interracial marriage, most notably between whites and blacks. This did little to stop interracial relationships, except as legal, consensual unions.
Demographers state that, due to new waves of immigration, the American people through the early 20th century were mostly multi-ethnic descendants of various immigrant nationalities, who maintained cultural distinctiveness until, over time, assimilation, migration and integration took place. The Civil Rights Movement through the 20th century gained passage of important legislation to enforce constitutional rights of minorities.
According to James P. Allen and Eugene Turner from California State University, Northridge, by some calculations in the 2000 Census, the multiracial population that is part white (which is the largest percentage of the multiracial population), is as follows:
In 1958 Robert Stuckert produced a statistical analysis using historical census data and immigration statistics. He concluded that the growth in the White population could not be attributed solely to births in the White population and immigration from Europe, but was also due to people identifying as white who were partly black. He concluded that 21 percent of white Americans had some recent African-American ancestors. He also concluded that the majority of Americans of known African descent were partly European and not entirely sub-Saharan African.
More recently, many different DNA studies have shown that many African Americans have European admixture, reflecting the long history in this country of the various populations. Proportions of European admixture in African-American DNA have been found in studies to be 17 % and between 10.6% and 22.5%. Another recent study found the average to be 21.2%, with a standard error of 1.2%.
The Race, Ethnicity, and Genetics Working Group of the National Human Genome Research Institute notes that "although genetic analyses of large numbers of loci can produce estimates of the percentage of a person's ancestors coming from various continental populations, these estimates may assume a false distinctiveness of the parental populations, since human groups have exchanged mates from local to continental scales throughout history."Race, Ethnicity, and Genetics Working Group, National Human Genome Research Institute, Bethesda, "The Use of Racial, Ethnic, and Ancestral Categories in Human Genetics Research"
Due to this category's non-standard status, statistics from government agencies other than the Census Bureau (for example: the Centers for Disease Control's data on vital statistics, or the FBI's crime statistics), but also the Bureau's own official Population Estimates, omit the "some other race" category and include most of the people in this group in the white population, thus including the vast majority (about 90%) of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the white population. For an example of this, see The World Factbook, published by the Central Intelligence Agency.
While some Americans can trace their ancestry back to a single ethnic group or population in Europe, Africa, or Asia, these are often first- and second-generation Americans. Generally, the degree of mixed heritage increases the longer one's ancestors have lived in the United States (see melting pot). In theory, there are several means available to discover the ancestry of the people residing in the United States, including genealogy, genetics, Oral history History, and analysis of Federal Population Census schedules. In practice, only few of these have been used for a larger part of the population.