Started on the Mexican Border, wondering where the 1.7 Million Mexican illegals arrested in one year on the border might have been headed, ended up wondering if just saying “Ya’ll Come” would really do much to the American Demographics, that had me looking square at this map:
In some ways this is deceptive as it is showing the dominate ethnic group in a region, not the ‘mix’. In other ways, it will show what determines some aspects of shared culture more. It also reflects some aspects of history (so, for example, the Italian dominance around New York / New Jersey that reflects the 1800s influx of Italians, and the French Quarter in Louisiana).
So some interesting bits:
The Hispanic America is largely slammed up against the Mexican border. Not all that surprising. This is one of those places where the map is misleading, as there have been large surges in Mexican population in other parts of the country, but they are still a small enough minority so as not to color the map. Still, you can easily see why “Tex-Mex” cooking is as it is, and why the Central Valley of California is well populated with Mexican restaurants and easy access to drugs. (Hey, not an insult, ok? Just a reality. I grew up there and you could score a baggy of M.J. in about 10 minutes if you were slow. Usually took longer to figure out what kind and how much to pay for it… Mexican Gold vs Maui Waui vs Humbolt vs…) So we can easily see that the Mexican America is largely 4 States, and those are the border States.
For Texas, the State divides East vs West. Notice that blob of blue German in the middle? Hill Country. Large German influx there long ago. The East is very mixed, and in fact we see a lot of “America” ethnic choice. Those are typically folks “mixed enough” to be unwilling or unable to keep the bookkeeping going. So Hispanic-Anglos, Black-White mixed, Indian-whatever, etc. That is also the more urban area and has had more influx from nearby.
California has a German north & mountains, but a Mexican center and south. Plus smatterings of other bits. Why does California keep electing ultra-liberal hand-out-the-goodies politicians? Look at any Banana Republic. That’s what we are. Those mountain counties have very little population. They just don’t matter.
Arizona and New Mexico both have very large American Indian concentrations. (Yes, a lot of white retirees have run off their to grow old and soak in the sun, but the core of the States are Hispanic / Indian). Again there is a smattering of German areas.
Now just look north of those areas. Wow. What a huge area of largely German derived counties. An interesting little island of Irish in Oregon. Some odd islands of Hispanic too. A scattering of American Indian counties. Then that chunk of Utah / South Idaho and nearby mountains as “English”. But the general area coverage is German. I note in passing that the Norwegians and Finnish have claimed the Frozen North border areas ;-)
Then there is New England. English, Irish, French mix. Italians down toward the warmer more urban areas south of New York.
A bit of a surprise to me is the South. Didn’t realize so many counties were African ancestry. Add in the “American” around it that will likely include a fair number of ‘mixed’ and it’s an interesting counterpoint to the stereotype of The South as being a bunch of White Red Necks. (Yes, they exist. I’ve met them. Just a bit of a surprise that they are not the major group).
Then there is Florida. Quite a mix. That wedge of Puerto Rican near Orlando is why I had some great Puerto Rican meals there ;-) I presume the ‘other’ for Miami is Cuban… that’s what the caption says.
There is a hard to read legend on the right that lists some major exceptions. Like the large Japanese population in Hawaii, the Chinese in San Francisco, even some Polish and Portuguese counties. Oh, and it lists Miami as Cuban.
All in all it makes an interesting view of America. The details (including bits too small to make the map) are here:
Despite the idea that we are “English derived” as a nation, the Germans at 15.2% swamp the English at 8.7%. Even Irish at 10.8% are ahead. Then there are Blacks at 8.8%. So we are more African than English. Barely. Everything else is smaller. Mexican is at 6.5% (up from 4.7% in 1990). But as those are 2000 numbers, the trends have likely continued on from there.
What Started This?
I was wondering: What if we just form the United States of Mexico and America? Well, Mexico has about 115 Million population. The USA has 315 Million. (Of which 18 Million are Mexican extraction). So combined? 133 / 430 Hispanic. 31%
Even if you assume the present Hispanic Americans are more American than Mexican, you get 115 / 430 or 27%
The 27% is marginally tolerable. The 31% would only work if most Mexicans stayed in Mexico. Still, not too bad. It would swamp all other ethnicities, but still not be a majority.
Canada has 33 Million mostly non-Hispanic. Maybe tossing them into the mix would help? 115 / 463 or 25%… not much…
But, given that a lot of folks would mostly just stay where they are, would it really change things all that much? I’m seeing ever less reason to think it will. The German / English conservative percentage is shrinking. It is only a (short) matter of time until the country is just a Banana Republic anyway. Besides, the Mexican Peso and Canadian Dollar are both doing better than our currency as we proceed to financial oblivion. Maybe we need to get the Mexicans contributing taxes to our Social Security system before they figure out the Dream Of The North is on the road to Nightmare…
What that map doesn’t show is just that The USA is an incredibly “mixed” place. Nobody more than 15% (and a fair number of them will be ‘mixed’ – like me. I’m “German”. And English. And Irish. And… Oh heck, just tick ‘American’…)
So we’re a strange mixed up mush of people. Some neighborhoods put you instantly in a foreign land (like Solvang in California that is a Danish town and until lately mostly spoke Danish; or Chinatown where Chinese still dominates) while other places have an echo of ancestry (the Italian food in Chicago or New York is hard to beat… just don’t ask who makes the best Pizza ;-) while being mostly Standard American culture. Then there are places like Los Angeles. Lord knows what it might be …
So it is an interesting map, and says some interesting things, but misses the point that nobody really dominates outside local areas.