Race and Ethnicity

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The racial and ethnic composition of America is in flux. Changing patterns of immigration and fertility have placed the country on a short road to a population diversity that has not been experienced before by any country. The Hispanic population makes up part of the race and ethnic minorities. Immigrants from Latin America comprise a significant percentage of the American population. A century ago, America was characterized by a wave of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. Other minority groups have continued to grow as well making up a complex whole (Kunz2012).

The Hispanic population is now America’s second-largest racial or ethnic group. The Hispanic population grew by 2.2 %.  The US Census Bureau projected that the majority of the population in 2042 would no longer be made up of non-Hispanic whites. The Pew Research Center studies have cited a substantial change in racial makeup in the past 50 years. For example, the number of Americans identifying themselves with minority groups increased from 15% to 36% of the population between 1960 and 2010. The Hispanic population, in particular, increased from 4% to 15%.  The numbers are expected to increase with time, and the Hispanic population is expected to make up a significant share of U.S population by 2060.  Most of the growth in the country’s Hispanic population is fueled by international migration as well as natural births. According to the Pew Research Center, the increased population of Hispanics and other minority groups is likely to cause a shift in demographics of race in America.  The number of Hispanic and Black Americans will comprise a substantial 45% of the 2060 population (Perez & Hirschman, 2009).

Immigration is a noteworthy impetus for the shifting demographics. Since 1965, the United States has welcomed 40 million immigrants. Half of these immigrants identify as Hispanic. The United States has appealed to immigrants from the early days and through the middle of the 20th century. These changes have had various effects.  The growth of Hispanic population has contributed to intermarriages. Intermarriages have become more common in the United States’ society. Interracial marriages indicate an increase in racial assimilations.  Any Americans today have multiple identities that reflect complex racial and cultural origins and associations.  It also reflects changing ideological outlooks on race and ethnicity. The impact of changes Immigration and intermarriage have also significantly contributed to changes in racial makeup.  Unsurprisingly, given that a quarter of the total U.S. population is comprised of immigrants, racial intermarriage has driven a more diverse population. Accordingly, people have embraced diversity and reexamined how they categorize race. However, other researchers have suggested that such shifting demographics may breed a tendency to become more conservative or fear on the part of white Americans (Kunz2012).

The shift in immigrant countries with time has caused a change in racial makeup. Immigration from Hispanic countries has been on the rise, with half of all immigrants to the United States hailing from Latin America. Consequently, while the Hispanic population in the United States has been increasing, the population of Americans has been decreasing. The boundary between ethnic and racial groups has become blurred by high rates of intermarriage and the increasing population of people with mixed ancestry.  In general, people now do not associate with one racial or ethnic group rather they emphasize different aspects depending on the situation. For example, an individual who identifies as Mexican among family members might identify as Hispanic at in his occupation and as American when in a foreign country (Kunz2012).

Thus, a person of mixed heritage might be a Hispanic in one context and an American in another. Such possibilities exist in all settings and census. As more children grow in interracial families, there are also negative effects of increased Hispanic population. Racial and Ethnic Minorities have continuously been isolated from majority races in areas of education and employment. Similarly, Hispanic students have been isolated from other students. In some schools, at least half of the students are Hispanic. A majority of Hispanic students attend a majority-Latino public school. The majority-Latino public schools educated a small percentage of other minority populations (Perez & Hirschman, 2009).

Levels of ethnic and racial integration and segregation in public schools are affected by factors including the shifting demographic changes in population at large. Specifically, they are affected by other factors such as geographic dispersion of ethnic and racial groups, desegregation policies at the school district level and local residential housing patterns. Increased intermarriages are likely to cause a greater obstacle in describing the ethnic and racial makeup of American population in future. Most people will not be able or willing to accurately report their origin. While knowledge of ancestral origin is often passed along from one generation, the narratives may be lost to history or simply suppressed. As a consequence, race and ethnicity recorded in surveys, records and census is likely to reflect a large degree of speculations and subjectivity.  However, some researchers do not agree with the phenomenon arguing that race and ethnicity are not purely cultural phenomena. They have a considerable attachment to political processes and stratification. Thus, there is likely to be a gradual weakening of ethnicity and race as distinct groups with clear boundaries (Perez & Hirschman, 2009).


Kunz, J. (2012). Think marriages and families. Pearson Higher Ed.

Perez, A. D., & Hirschman, C. (2009). The changing racial and ethnic composition of the US population: Emerging American identities. Population and Development Review, 35(1), 1-51.

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