6.6% of the US population in 2017
|Regions with significant populations|
|Southern United States and Midwestern United States|
|English (American English dialects)|
| Protestantism |
|Related ethnic groups|
American ancestry refers to people in the United States who self-identify their ancestoral origin or descent as "American", rather than the more common officially recognized racial and ethnic groups that make up the bulk of the American people.The majority of these respondents are visibly White Americans, who either simply use this response as a political statement or no longer self-identify with their original ethnic ancestral origins. The latter response is attributed to a multitude of or generational distance from ancestral lineages, and these tend be of English, Scotch-Irish, or other British ancestries, as demographers have observed that those ancestries tend to be seriously undercounted in U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey ancestry self-reporting estimates. Although U.S. Census data indicates "American ancestry" is commonly self-reported in the Deep South and Upland South, the vast majority of Americans and expatriates do not equate their nationality with ancestry, race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and allegiance.
An ancestor is a parent or (recursively) the parent of an antecedent. Ancestor is "any person from whom one is descended. In law the person from whom an estate has been inherited."
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, defined by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are of Hispanic or Latino origin.
Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.
The earliest attested use of the term “American” to identify an ancestoral or cultural identity dates to the late 1500s, with the term signifying "the indigenous peoples discovered in the Western Hemisphere by Europeans.”In the following century, the term “American” was extended as a reference to colonists of European descent. The Oxford English Dictionary identifies this secondary meaning as “historical” and states that the term "American" today “chiefly [means] a native (birthright) or citizen of the United States.”
The meaning of the word American in the English language varies according to the historical, geographical, and political context in which it is used. American is derived from America, a term originally denoting all of the New World. In some expressions, it retains this Pan-American sense, but its usage has evolved over time and, for various historical reasons, the word came to denote people or things specifically from the United States of America.
Birthright citizenship in the United States is acquired by virtue of the circumstances of birth. It contrasts with citizenship acquired in other ways, for example by naturalization. Pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), U.S. citizenship is automatically granted to any person born within and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. This includes the territories of Puerto Rico, the Marianas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Birthright citizenship also applies to children born elsewhere in the world to U.S. citizens, known as jus sanguinis.
The United States nationality law refers to the uniform rule of naturalization of the United States set out in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, enacted under the power of Article I, section 8, clause 4 of the United States Constitution, which grants the Congress the power to "establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization..." The 1952 Act sets forth the legal requirements for the acquisition of, and divestiture from, American nationality. The requirements have become more explicit since the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, with the most recent changes to the law having been made by Congress in 2001.
President Theodore Roosevelt, a prominent naturalist, asserted an "American race" had been formed on the American frontier, one distinct from other ethnic groups, such as the Anglo-Saxons.He believed, "the conquest and settlement by the whites of the Indian lands was necessary to the greatness of the race.... "We are making a new race, a new type, in this country." Roosevelt's "race" beliefs certainly weren't unique in the 19th and early 20th century. Eric Kaufmann has suggested that American nativism has been explained primarily in psychological and economic terms to the neglect of a crucial cultural and ethnic dimension. Kauffman contends American nativism cannot be understood without reference to the theorem of the age that an "American" national ethnic group had taken shape prior to the large-scale immigration of the mid-19th century.
Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was an American statesman, politician, conservationist, naturalist, and writer who served as the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He previously served as the 25th vice president of the United States from March to September 1901 and as the 33rd governor of New York from 1899 to 1900. As a leader of the Republican Party during this time, he became a driving force for the Progressive Era in the United States in the early 20th century. His face is depicted on Mount Rushmore, alongside those of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. In polls of historians and political scientists, Roosevelt is generally ranked as one of the five best presidents.
Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms including animals, fungi and plants in their environment; leaning more towards observational than experimental methods of study. A person who studies natural history is called a naturalist or natural historian.
The American frontier comprises the geography, history, folklore, and cultural expression of life in the forward wave of American expansion that began with English colonial settlements in the early 17th century and ended with the admission of the last mainland territories as states in 1912. A "frontier" is a zone of contact at the edge of a line of settlement. The leading theorist Frederick Jackson Turner went deeper, arguing that the frontier was the defining process of American civilization: "The frontier," he asserted, "promoted the formation of a composite nationality for the American people." He theorized it was a process of development: "This perennial rebirth, this fluidity of American life, this expansion westward...furnish[es] the forces dominating American character." Turner's ideas since 1893 have inspired generations of historians to explore multiple individual American frontiers, but the popular folk frontier concentrates on the conquest and settlement of Native American lands west of the Mississippi River, in what is now the Midwest, Texas, the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest, and the West Coast.
Nativism gained its name from the "Native American" parties of the 1840s and 1850s.In this context "Native" does not mean indigenous or American Indian but rather those descended from the inhabitants of the original Thirteen Colonies (Colonial American ancestry). These "Old Stock Americans", primarily English Protestants saw Catholic immigrants as a threat to traditional American republican values as they were loyal to the Papacy. Nativist movements included the Know Nothing or American Party of the 1850s and the Immigration Restriction League of the 1890s. Nativism would influence Congress; in 1924 legislation limiting immigration from Southern and Eastern European countries was ratified, while quantifying previous formal and informal anti-Asian previsions, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907.
Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii. More than 570 federally recognized tribes live within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while "Native Americans" are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. The US Census does not include Native Hawaiians or Chamorro, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".
The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of colonies of Great Britain on the Atlantic coast of America founded in the 17th and 18th centuries which declared independence in 1776 and formed the United States of America. The Thirteen Colonies had very similar political, constitutional, and legal systems and were dominated by Protestant English-speakers. They were part of Britain's possessions in the New World, which also included colonies in Canada, the Caribbean, and Florida.
The colonial history of the United States covers the history of European colonization of America from the early 16th century until the incorporation of the colonies into the United States of America. In the late 16th century, England, France, Spain, and the Netherlands launched major colonization programs in America. The death rate was very high among those who arrived first, and some early attempts disappeared altogether, such as the English Lost Colony of Roanoke. Nevertheless, successful colonies were established within several decades.
According to U.S. Census Bureau; "Ancestry refers to a person's ethnic origin or descent, 'roots,' or heritage, or the place of birth of the person or the person's parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States".
According to 2000 U.S census data, an increasing number of United States citizens identify simply as "American" on the question of ancestry.The Census Bureau reports the number of people in the United States who reported "American" and no other ancestry increased from 12.4 million in 1990 to 20.2 million in 2000. This increase represents the largest numerical growth of any ethnic group in the United States during the 1990s.
In the 1980 census 26% of United States Citizens cited that they were of English ancestry, making them the largest group at the time.Slightly more than half of these individuals would cite that they were of "American" ancestry on subsequent censuses when the option to do so was made available, with areas that "American" ancestry predominates on the 2000 census corresponds to places where "English" predominated on the 1980 census.
In the 2000 United States Census 6.9% of the American population chose to self-identify itself as having "American ancestry".The four states in which a plurality of the population reported American ancestry are Arkansas (15.7%), Kentucky (20.7%), Tennessee (17.3%), and West Virginia (18.7%). Sizable percentages of the populations of Alabama (16.8%), Mississippi (14.0%), North Carolina (13.7%), South Carolina (13.7%), Georgia (13.3%), and Indiana (11.8%) also reported American ancestry.
In the Southern United States as a whole 11.2% reported "American" ancestry, second only to African American. American was the 4th most common ancestry reported in the Midwest (6.5%) and West (4.1%). All Southern states except for Delaware, Maryland, Florida, and Texas reported 10% or more American, but outside the South, only Missouri and Indiana did so. American was in the top 5 ancestries reported in all Southern states except for Delaware, in 4 Midwestern states bordering the South (Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio) as well as Iowa, and 6 Northwestern states (Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming), but only one Northeastern state, Maine. The pattern of areas with high levels of American is similar to that of areas with high levels of not reporting any national ancestry.
In the 2014 American Community Survey, German Americans (14.4%), Irish Americans (10.4%), English Americans (7.6%) and Italian Americans (5.4%) were the four largest self-reported European ancestry groups in the United States forming 37.8% of the total population.However, English, Scotch-Irish, and British American demography is considered to be seriously undercounted, as the 6.9% of U.S. Census respondents who self-report and identify simply as "American" are primarily of these ancestries. <
Reynolds Farley writes that “we may now be in an era of optional ethnicity, in which no simple census question will distinguish those who identify strongly with a specific European group from those who report symbolic or imagined ethnicity.”
Stanley Lieberson and Mary C. Waters write: "As whites become increasingly distant in generations and time from their immigrant ancestors, the tendency to distort, or remember selectively, one’s ethnic origins increases.… [E]thnic categories are social phenomena that over the long run are constantly being redefined and reformulated."Mary C. Waters contends that white Americans of European origin are afforded a wide range of choice: "In a sense, they are constantly given an actual choice—they can either identify themselves with their ethnic ancestry or they can 'melt' into the wider society and call themselves American."
Professors Anthony Daniel Perez and Charles Hirschman write: "European national origins are still common among whites—almost 3 of 5 whites name one or more European countries in response to the ancestry question. ... However, a significant share of whites respond that they are simply “American” or leave the ancestry question blank on their census forms. Ethnicity is receding from the consciousness of many white Americans. Because national origins do not count for very much in contemporary America, many whites are content with a simplified Americanized racial identity. The loss of specific ancestral attachments among many white Americans also results from high patterns of intermarriage and ethnic blending among whites of different European stocks."
African Americans are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of the black racial groups of Africa. The term typically refers to descendants of enslaved black people who are from the United States.
Black people is a skin group-based classification, which is used for specific people with a mid to dark brown complexion. Not all “Black people” are dark skinned. However, in certain countries, often in socially based systems of racial classification or of ethnicity, it is used to describe persons who are perceived to be dark-skinned when compared to other populations. Depending on the usage, it is mostly used for the people of Sub-Saharan Africa and the indigenous peoples of Oceania, Southeast Asia and India.
White people is a racial classification specifier, used mostly and often exclusively for people of European descent; depending on context, nationality, and point of view. The term has at times been expanded to encompass persons of Middle Eastern and North African descent, persons who are often considered non-white in other contexts. The usage of "white people" or a "white race" for a large group of mainly or exclusively European populations, defined by their light skin, among other physical characteristics, and contrasting with "black people", Amerindians, and other "colored" people or "persons of color", originated in the 17th century. It was only during the 19th century that this vague category was transformed in a quasi-scientific system of race and skin color relations. The term "Caucasian" is sometimes used as a synonym for "white" in its racial sense and sometimes to refer to a larger racial category that includes white people among other groups.
Multiracial is defined as made up of or relating to people of many races. Many terms exist for people of various multiracial backgrounds. Preferred terms include multiracial, biracial, multiethnic, polyethnic, Métis, Creole, Dougla, mestizo, mulatto, Melungeon, Criollo, quadroon, zambo, Eurasian, hapa, hāfu, garifuna and pardo. There are various other terms used that are considered insulting and offensive, such as "half," "half-and-half," and "mixed."
In the United States, the term hyphenated American refers to the use of a hyphen between the name of an ethnicity and the word "American" in compound nouns, e.g., as in "Irish-American". It was an epithet used from 1890 to 1920 to disparage Americans who were of foreign birth or origin, and who displayed an allegiance to a foreign country through the use of the hyphen. It was most commonly directed at German Americans or Irish Americans (Catholics) who called for U.S. neutrality in World War I.
European Americans are Americans of European ancestry. This term includes people who are descended from the first European settlers in America as well as people who are descended from more recent European arrivals. European Americans are the largest panethnic group in the United States, both historically and at present.
Mexicans are the people of the United Mexican States, a country in North America.
British American usually refers to Americans whose ancestral origin originates wholly or partly in the United Kingdom. In the 2017 American Community Survey 1,891,234 individuals or 0.6% of the responses self-identified as British. It is primarily a demographic or historical research category for people who have at least partial descent from peoples of Great Britain and the modern United Kingdom, i.e. English, Scottish, Welsh, Scotch-Irish, Manx and Cornish Americans. There has been a significant drop overall, especially from the 1980 census where 49.59 million people reported English ancestry.
White Americans are Americans who are descendants from any of the indigenous peoples of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa or in census statistics, those who self-report as white based on having majority-white ancestry. White Americans constitute the historical and current majority of the people living in the United States, with 72% of the population in the 2010 United States Census. Non-Hispanic whites totaled about 197,285,202 or 60.7% of the U.S. population. European Americans are the largest ethnic group of White Americans and constitute the historical population of the United States since the nation's founding.
White Latin Americans, or European Latin Americans, are Latin Americans who are considered white, typically due to European, or in some cases Levantine, descent. Latin American countries have often encouraged mixing of different ethnic groups for procreation, and even a small amount of European ancestry could entail significant upwards social mobility.
In the United States, a White Hispanic is an American citizen or resident who is racially white and of Hispanic descent and/or speaks the Spanish language natively. The term white, itself an official U.S. racial category, refers to people "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East and north Africa".
The legal and social strictures defining white Americans, and distinguishing them from persons not considered white by the government and society, have varied throughout U.S. history.
The demographics of Virginia are the various elements used to describe the population of the Commonwealth of Virginia and are studied by various government and non-government organizations. Virginia is the 12th-most populous state in the United States with over 8 million residents and is the 35th largest in area.
The English people are a nation and an ethnic group native to England who speak the English language. The English identity is of early medieval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Angelcynn. Their ethnonym is derived from the Angles, one of the Germanic peoples who migrated to Great Britain around the 5th century AD. England is one of the countries of the United Kingdom, and the majority of people living there are British citizens.
Nativism is the political policy of promoting the interests of native inhabitants against those of immigrants, including by supporting immigration-restriction measures.
The demographics of Georgia are inclusive of the ninth most populous state in the United States, with over 9.68 million people, just over 3% of America's population.
Non-Hispanic whites, are European Americans, Middle Eastern Americans, and North African Americans as defined by the United States Census Bureau.
Who Is An American? Native-born and naturalized citizens
In the case of the United States, the national ethnic group was Anglo-American Protestant ("American"). This was the first European group to "imagine" the territory of the United States as its homeland and trace its genealogy back to New World colonists who rebelled against their mother country. In its mind, the American nation-state, its land, its history, its mission and its Anglo-American people were woven into one great tapestry of the imagination. This social construction considered the United States to be founded by the "Americans", who thereby had title to the land and the mandate to mould the nation (and any immigrants who might enter it) in their own Anglo-Saxon, Protestant self-image.
The upsurge of the faithful fueled bigotry among Americans who demonized cities and discounted foreigners, especially Catholics and Jews, as true citizens. Old stock American nativists feared that "papists"