The United States has an extremely diverse
population. According to 2001 Census figures, the U.S. population measured
people. That means the U.S. has the third-largest
population in the world, right behind
China and India.
The life expectancy at birth is 77.26 years on average; 74.37 years
for men, 80.05 years for women. In terms of ethnicity, the
U.S. is 83.5% white (includes Hispanic/Latino), 12.4% black,
3.3% Asian, and 0.8% Amerindian.
About 84% of Americans identify themselves as Christians
(56% Protestant, 28% Roman Catholic). Jewish Americans
account for 2% of the population, and about 4% of Americans
claim yet another faith (Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism etc.).
Around 10% either have no religious affiliation, or do not
practice any faith.
According to the 2000 Census, the median (middle/center)
income in the U.S. was $50,750.
United States Demographic Statistics
+/- 285,000,000 (July 2001)
0.3% Pacific Islander
Other (Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist...)
Immigration and Migration
most immigrants to the United States came from
either the United Kingdom (including Ireland) or Germany.
They were usually middle-class Protestants (except for
the Irish), looking for land on which to settle, and could
speak some English. During this period, there were no
laws limiting the number of immigrants who could enter the
things changed. Railroads began to crisscross the
country. New railroad construction brought new job
opportunities and new immigrant groups seeking better jobs, a
higher standard of living, or political and religious
freedom.. This second wave of immigrants came mostly from Poland,
Italy, or Russia, and were more likely to be
Catholic or Jewish than Protestants. They were poor,
and spoke little English.
greatest hardship to immigrants arriving after 1880 was
becoming Americanized. They had to learn how to speak
English, and try to fit into the rest of American culture.
Most of these new immigrants were unable to assimilate
as well as did their children.
restricting immigration were passed to limit the number of
non-Protestant, non-English speaking people hoping to find a
new home in the United States. As early as the
1840s, nativists, people who believed that other races,
nationalities or religions were inferior, argued for
restricted immigration. Nativists feared the new
immigrants would pollute the predominate Protestant culture of
the U.S., as well as take jobs from native-born Americans.
In 1882, the
Chinese Exclusion Act banned all future Chinese
immigration to the U.S. In 1907, the Japanese agreed to
limit immigration. Restriction against European
immigrants did not begin until after World War One.
According to Census
2000, the majority of modern immigrants were from Latin
America, Asia and/or Europe. The fewest immigrants came
from Oceania, Africa, and other areas of North America.
Today, there are still legal limitations on immigration into
the United States.
to the 2000 census, the median (middle/center) age of Americans was 35.
Almost three quarters are 18 or older, with the largest
group between 35 and 44 years old. Further, women
outnumber men in the general population, 51 to 49 percent. (Census map courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau).
The greatest population density lies on the East Coast between Boston and
Washington D.C., with D.C. (at 9316 persons per square mile),
New Jersey, and Rhode Island having the greatest number
of person per square mile. The most sparsely populated
states are Wyoming, Montana and Alaska (having only 1.1
persons per square mile). New York State, with 19,000,000
residents, had a population density of 402 per square mile.
The term Baby Boomer is used to describe
middle-aged Americans. Economic
prosperity followed the end of World War Two, which
resulted in many jobs and increased income for workers.
Because of this, many people felt comfortable
having large families. The sharp increase in the
number of children born between 1946 and 1964 created a
baby boom. That means anyone (in the
year 2002) between the age
38 and 56 falls into the Baby Boomer category.
About 77,000,000 Americans fall into the Baby Boomer
Graying of America
At this time,
more than 12% of all Americans are over age 65.
Because of the large Baby Boomer population group, about 35% of Americans will be eligible for
retirement (or already are retired) in the next twenty
years. To put that into a different perspective,
that translates to about 100,000,000 people.
The number of
retired or ready-to-retire Americans is significantly
higher than the number of Americans who will be left in
the workplace. Because retirees will outnumber
workers within the next two decades, it has been
said that without significant planning, Americas elderly
are in danger of losing Social Security benefits in the
next twenty years. The federal government has
discussed several reform options for Social Security and
Medicare funding, but political rivalry has prevented
& Immigration Revisited
The number of
people in the United States increased slowly between the
1990 and 2000 Census. In 1990, there were about
248,710,000 Americans. In 2000, there were nearly
285,000,000 Americans. That's an overall
population increase of about 14 percent.
However, the number of babies born in the United
States (birth rate) has been on the decline.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics,
in 1990 the birth rate was 16.7 live births per 1,000
people and by 2000 it decreased to 14.7. Why is
the population level staying fairly steady if the birth
rate is decreasing? Immigration. Workers, students, political, religious and economic
refugees still come to the United States seeking safety
and/or a higher standard of living. In 1990, 8
percent of the population was born outside the
United States. In 2000, that number increased to