Race and ethnicity in the United States
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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. The ancestry question will return in the 2020 Census.
As of July 2016, 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 Americans are the majority in every census-defined region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West) and in every state except
55% of the African American population lives in the South. A plurality or majority of the other official groups reside in
In the 2000 Census and subsequent United States Census Bureau surveys, Americans self-described as belonging to these racial groups:
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.
In 2007, the
The question on Hispanic or Latino origin is separate from the question on race.
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
Self-identifying as both Hispanic or Latino and not Hispanic or Latino is neither explicitly allowed nor explicitly prohibited.