White Americans

Last updated

White Americans
Total population
71% (235.4 million) White (including White in combination with other races)
61.6% (204.3 million) White (one race only) [1]
Regions with significant populations
All areas of the United States
Predominantly English

White Americans are Americans who identify as and are perceived to be white people. This group constitutes the majority of the people in the United States. As of the 2020 census, 61.6%, or 204,277,273 people, were white alone. This represented a national white demographic decline from a 72.4% share of the U.S.'s population (white alone) in 2010.


As of July 1, 2021, United States Census Bureau estimates that 75.8% of the US population were white alone, while Non-Hispanic whites were 59.3% of the population. [3] White Hispanic and Latino Americans totaled about 12,579,626, or 3.8% of the population. [1] European Americans are the largest panethnic group of white Americans and have constituted the majority population of the United States since the nation's founding.

The U.S. Census Bureau uses a particular definition of "white" that differs from some colloquial uses of the term. [4] [5] The Bureau defines "White" people to be those "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa." [6] Within official census definitions, people of all racial categories may be further divided into those who identify as "not Hispanic or Latino" and those who do identify as "Hispanic or Latino". [7] [4] The term "non-Hispanic white," rather than just "white," may be the census group corresponding most closely to those persons who identify as and are perceived to be white in common usage; similarly not all Hispanic/Latino people identify as "white," "black," or any other listed racial category. [5] [4] In 2015, the Census Bureau announced their intention to make Hispanic/Latino a racial category similar to "white" or "black," with respondents able to choose one, two, or more racial categories; this change was cancelled during the Trump administration. [5] [8] Other persons who are classified as "white" by the U.S. census but may or may not identify as or be perceived as white include Arab Americans and Jewish Americans. [9] [10] [11] [12] In the United States, the term White people generally denotes a person of European ancestry, but has been legally extended to people of West Asian and North African (Middle Eastern, West Asian, and North African) ancestry. [13] [14] [15]

The largest ancestries of white Americans include German (13%), Irish (12%), English (9%), Italian (6%), French (4%), Polish (3%), Scottish (3%), Scotch-Irish (2%), and Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, and Russian, each (1%) respectively. [16] [17] [18] [19] However, the British Americans' demography is considered a serious under-count as the stock tend to self-report and identify as simply "Americans" (7%), due to the length of time they have inhabited the United States, particularly if their family arrived prior to the American Revolution. [20] [12] The vast majority of white Americans also have ancestry from multiple countries.

Historical and present definitions

Definitions of who is "White" have changed throughout the history of the United States.

U.S. census definition

The term "white American" can encompass many different ethnic groups. Although the United States census purports to reflect a social definition of race, the social dimensions of race are more complex than Census criteria. The 2000 U.S. census states that racial categories "generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country. They do not conform to any biological, anthropological or genetic criteria." [21]

The Census question on race lists the categories White or European American, Black or African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, Asian, plus "Some other race", with the respondent having the ability to mark more than one racial or ethnic category. The Census Bureau defines White people as follows:

"White" refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa. It includes people who indicated their race(s) as "White" or reported entries such as German, Italian, Lebanese, Arab, Moroccan, or Caucasian. [6]

In U.S. census documents, the designation White overlaps, as do all other official racial categories, with the term Hispanic or Latino , which was introduced in the 1980 census as a category of ethnicity, separate and independent of race. [22] [23] Hispanic and Latino Americans as a whole make up a racially diverse group and as a whole are the largest minority in the country. [24] [25]

From 1850 to 1920, the U.S. census form did not distinguish between whites and Mexican Americans. In the 1940 and 1950 census the instructions were to mark Mexicans with a ‘W’ for white. [26]

The characterization of Middle Eastern and North African Americans as white has been a matter of controversy. In the early 20th century, there were a number of cases where people of Arab descent were denied entry into the United States or deported, because they were characterized as nonwhite. [27] In 1944, the law changed, and Middle Eastern and North African peoples were granted white status. In 2015, the U.S. census endorsed the idea of creating a separate racial category for Middle Eastern and North African Americans in the 2020 census, but this plan was discarded when the Trump administration came to power.

Abraham Lincoln O-77 matte collodion print.jpg
President Abraham Lincoln was descended from Samuel Lincoln and was of English and Welsh ancestry.
Gloria Vanderbilt 1959.JPG
Gloria Vanderbilt, noted artist and designer, was of Dutch descent.

In cases where individuals do not self-identify, the U.S. census parameters for race give each national origin a racial value.

Additionally, people who reported Muslim (or a sect of Islam such as Shia or Sunni), Jewish, Zoroastrian, or Caucasian as their "race" in the "Some other race" section, without noting a country of origin, are automatically tallied as White. [28] The US Census considers the write-in response of " Caucasian " or " Aryan " to be a synonym for White in their ancestry code listing. [29]

Social definition

In the contemporary United States, essentially anyone of European descent is considered White. However, many of the non-European ethnic groups classified as White by the U.S. Census, such as Arab Americans, Jewish Americans, and even European-derived Hispanics and Latinos may not identify as, and may not be perceived to be, white. [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35]

The definition of White has changed significantly over the course of American history. Among Europeans, those not considered White at some point in American history include Italians, Greeks, Germans, [36] Spaniards, Irish, Finns, and Russians. [35] [37] [38] Early on in the United States, membership in the white race was generally limited to those of British, Nordic ancestry, and sometimes Germanic origin. [39]

David R. Roediger argues that the construction of the white race in the United States was an effort to mentally distance slave owners from slaves. [40] The process of officially being defined as white by law often came about in court disputes over pursuit of citizenship. [41]

Critical race theory definition

Critical race theory developed in the 1970s and 1980s, influenced by the language of critical legal studies, which challenged concepts such as objective truth, rationality and judicial neutrality, and by critical theory. [42] Academics and activists disillusioned with the outcomes of the civil rights movement pointed out that though African Americans supposedly enjoyed legal equality, white Americans continued to hold disproportionate power and still had superior living standards. [43] Liberal ideas such as meritocracy and equal opportunity, they argued, hid and reinforced deep structural inequalities and thus serves the interests of a white elite. [44] Critical race theorists see racism as embedded in public attitudes and institutions, and highlight institutional racism and unconscious biases. [45] Legal scholar Derrick Bell advanced the interest convergence principle, which suggests that whites support minority rights only when doing so is also in their self-interest. [46] [47]

As Whites, especially White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, or WASPs, are the dominant racial and cultural group, according to sociologist Steven Seidman, writing from a critical theory perspective, "White culture constitutes the general cultural mainstream, causing non-White culture to be seen as deviant, in either a positive or negative manner. Moreover, Whites tend to be disproportionately represented in powerful positions, controlling almost all political, economic, and cultural institutions."[ citation needed ]

Yet, according to Seidman, Whites are most commonly unaware of their privilege and the manner in which their culture has always been dominant in the US, as they do not identify as members of a specific racial group but rather incorrectly perceive their views and culture as "raceless", when in fact it is ethno-national (ethnic/cultural) specific, with a racial base component. [48]

Demographic information

White alone 1790–2020
YearPopulation% of
the U.S.
% change
(10 yr)
YearPopulation% of
the U.S.
% change
(10 yr)
18207,866,79781.6Increase2.svg34.2%1940118,214,87089.8 (highest)Increase2.svg7.2%
190066,809,19687.9Increase2.svg21.2%2020204,277,27361.6 (lowest)Decrease2.svg – 8.6%
Source: United States census bureau. [49] [50] [51] [52]

The fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico as of the 2020 United States Census

White Americans constitute the majority of the 332 million people living in the United States, with 61.6% of the population in the 2020 United States Census. This represented a national white demographic decline from a 72.4% share of the US's self-identified 'white alone' population in 2010. [6] [53] [note 1]

The largest ethnic groups (by ancestry) among White Americans were Germans, followed by Irish and English. [55] In the 1980 census 49,598,035 Americans cited that they were of English ancestry, making them 26% of the country and the largest group at the time, and in fact larger than the population of England itself. [56] Slightly more than half of these people would cite that they were of "American" ancestry on subsequent censuses and virtually everywhere that "American" ancestry predominates on the 2000 census corresponds to places where "English" predominated on the 1980 census. [12] [57]

Geographic distribution

White Americans are the majority racial group in almost all of the United States. They are not the majority in Hawaii, many American Indian reservations, parts of the South, the District of Columbia, all US territories, and in many urban areas throughout the country. Overall the highest concentration of those referred to as "non-Hispanic whites" by the Census Bureau are found in the Midwest, New England, the northern Rocky Mountain states, Kentucky, West Virginia, and East Tennessee. [58] The lowest concentration of whites was found in southern and mid-Atlantic states. [7] [59] [60]

Although all large geographical areas are dominated by White Americans, much larger differences can be seen between specific parts of large cities.

States with the highest percentages of White Americans, either White Alone or in combination with another race as of 2020: [61] [ failed verification ]

  1. Vermont 95.6%
  2. Maine 95.4%
  3. West Virginia 94.4%
  4. New Hampshire 93.7%
  5. Wyoming 92.0%
  6. Montana 90.9%
  7. Idaho 90.2%
  8. Iowa 89.8%
  9. North Dakota 88.0%
  10. Kentucky 87.5%

States with the highest percentages of non-Latino/Hispanic whites, as of 2020: [62] [ failed verification ]

  1. Maine 92.0%
  2. Vermont 91.3%
  3. New Hampshire 91.3%
  4. West Virginia 90.4%
  5. Wyoming 90.7%
  6. Idaho 90.7%
  7. Utah 88.7%
  8. Iowa 88.7%
  9. Montana 86.7%
  10. Nebraska 86.0%

Income and educational attainment

White Americans have the second highest median household income and personal income levels in the nation, by cultural background. The median income per household member was also the highest, since White Americans had the smallest households of any racial demographic in the nation. In 2006, the median individual income of a White American age 25 or older was $33,030, with those who were full-time employed, and of age 25 to 64, earning $34,432. Since 42% of all households had two income earners, the median household income was considerably higher than the median personal income, which was $48,554 in 2005. Jewish Americans rank first in household income, personal income, and educational attainment among White Americans. [63] In 2005, White households had a median household income of $48,977, which is 10% above the national median of $44,389. Among Cuban Americans, with 86% classified as White, those born in the US have a higher median income and educational attainment level than most other Whites. [64]

The poverty rates for White Americans are the second-lowest of any racial group, with 11% of white individuals living below the poverty line, 3% lower than the national average. [65] However, due to Whites' majority status, 48% of Americans living in poverty are white. [66]

White Americans' educational attainment is the second-highest in the country, after Asian Americans'. Overall, nearly one-third of White Americans had a Bachelor's degree, with the educational attainment for Whites being higher for those born outside the United States: 38% of foreign born, and 30% of native born Whites had a college degree. Both figures are above the national average of 27%. [67]

Gender income inequality was the greatest among Whites, with White men outearning White women by 48%. Census Bureau data for 2005 reveals that the median income of White females was lower than that of males of all races. In 2005, the median income for White American females was only slightly higher than that of African American females. [68]

White Americans of one race (or alone) in 2020 White Americans (of One Race) in 2020.png
White Americans of one race (or alone) in 2020

White Americans are more likely to live in suburbs and small cities than their black counterparts. [69]

Population by state

White Americans of one race or alone from 2000 to 2020

White Americans of one race (or alone) from 1960 to 2020 White America (of one race) from 1960 to 2020.gif
White Americans of one race (or alone) from 1960 to 2020
White American (of one race or alone) population as of 2000, 2010 and 2020 censuses [70] [51] [71]
Pop. 2000 % 2000Pop. 2010 % 2010Pop% growth between 2000 and 2010
Flag of Alabama.svg Alabama 3,162,80871.1%3,275,39468.5%3,220,45264.1%+3.6%
Flag of Alaska.svg Alaska 434,53469.3%473,57666.7%435,39259.4%+9.0%
Flag of Arizona.svg Arizona 3,873,61175.5%4,667,12173.0%4,322,33760.4%+20.5%
Flag of Arkansas.svg Arkansas 2,138,59880.0%2,245,22977.0%2,114,51270.2%+5.0%
Flag of California.svg California 20,170,05959.5%21,453,93457.6%16,296,12241.2%+6.4%
Flag of Colorado.svg Colorado 3,560,00582.8%4,089,20281.3%4,082,92770.7%+14.9%
Flag of Connecticut.svg Connecticut 2,780,35581.6%2,772,41077.6%2,395,12866.4%-0.3%
Flag of Delaware.svg Delaware 584,77374.6%618,61768.9%597,76360.4%+5.8%
Flag of the District of Columbia.svg District of Columbia 176,10130.8%231,47138.5%273,19439.4%+31.4%
Flag of Florida.svg Florida 12,465,02978.0%14,109,16275.0%12,422,96157.7%+13.2%
Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg Georgia 5,327,28165.1%5,787,44059.7%5,555,48351.9%+8.6%
Flag of Hawaii.svg Hawaii 294,10224.3%336,59924.7%333,26122.9%+14.4%
Flag of Idaho.svg Idaho 1,177,30491.0%1,396,48789.1%1,510,36082.1%+18.6%
Flag of Illinois.svg Illinois 9,125,47173.5%9,177,87771.5%7,868,22761.4%+0.6%
Flag of Indiana.svg Indiana 5,320,02287.5%5,467,90684.3%5,241,79177.2%+2.8%
Flag of Iowa.svg Iowa 2,748,64093.9%2,781,56191.3%2,694,52184.5%+1.2%
Flag of Kansas.svg Kansas 2,313,94486.1%2,391,04483.8%2,222,46275.6%+3.3%
Flag of Kentucky.svg Kentucky 3,640,88990.1%3,809,53787.8%3,711,25482.4%+4.6%
Flag of Louisiana.svg Louisiana 2,856,16163.9%2,836,19262.6%2,675,65257.1%-0.7%
Flag of Maine.svg Maine 1,236,01496.9%1,264,97195.2%1,237,04190.8%+2.3%
Flag of Maryland.svg Maryland 3,391,30864.0%3,359,28458.2%3,007,87448.7%-0.9%
Flag of Massachusetts.svg Massachusetts 5,367,28684.5%5,265,23680.4%4,896,03769.6%-1.9%
Flag of Michigan.svg Michigan 7,966,05380.2%7,803,12078.9%7,444,97473.9%-2.0%
Flag of Minnesota.svg Minnesota 4,400,28289.4%4,524,06285.3%4,423,14677.5%+2.8%
Flag of Mississippi.svg Mississippi 1,746,09961.4%1,754,68459.1%1,658,89356%+0.5%
Flag of Missouri.svg Missouri 4,748,08384.9%4,958,77082.8%4,740,33577%+4.4%
Flag of Montana.svg Montana 817,22990.6%884,96189.4%916,52484.5%+8.3%
Flag of Nebraska.svg Nebraska 1,533,26189.6%1,572,83886.1%1,538,05278.4%+2.6%
Flag of Nevada.svg Nevada 1,501,88675.2%1,786,68866.2%1,588,46351.2%+19.0%
Flag of New Hampshire.svg New Hampshire 1,186,85196.0%1,236,05092.3%1,216,20388.3%+4.1%
Flag of New Jersey.svg New Jersey 6,104,70572.6%6,029,24868.6%5,112,28055%-1.2%
Flag of New Mexico.svg New Mexico 1,214,25366.8%1,407,87668.4%1,078,92751%+15.9%
Flag of New York.svg New York 12,893,68967.9%12,740,97465.7%11,143,34955.2%-1.2%
Flag of North Carolina.svg North Carolina 5,804,65672.1%6,528,95068.5%6,448,45962.2%+12.5%
Flag of North Dakota.svg North Dakota 593,18192.4%605,44990.0%645,93882.9%+2.1%
Flag of Ohio.svg Ohio 9,645,45385.0%9,539,43782.7%9,080,68877%-1.1%
Flag of Oklahoma.svg Oklahoma 2,628,43476.2%2,706,84572.2%2,514,88463.5%+3.0%
Flag of Oregon.svg Oregon 2,961,62386.6%3,204,61483.6%3,169,09674.8%+8.2%
Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Pennsylvania 10,484,20385.4%10,406,28881.9%9,750,68775%-0.7%
Flag of Rhode Island.svg Rhode Island 891,19185.0%856,86981.4%782,92071.3%-3.8%
Flag of South Carolina.svg South Carolina 2,695,56067.2%3,060,00066.2%3,243,44263.4%+13.5%
Flag of South Dakota.svg South Dakota 669,40488.7%699,39285.9%715,33680.7%+4.5%
Flag of Tennessee.svg Tennessee 4,563,31080.2%4,921,94877.6%4,990,93872.2%+7.9%
Flag of Texas.svg Texas 14,799,50571.0%17,701,55270.4%14,609,36550.1%+19.6%
Flag of the State of Utah.svg Utah 1,992,97589.2%2,379,56086.1%2,573,41378.7%+19.4%
Flag of Vermont.svg Vermont 589,20896.8%596,29295.3%577,75189.8%+1.2%
Flag of Virginia.svg Virginia 5,120,11072.3%5,486,85268.6%5,208,85660.3%+7.2%
Flag of Washington.svg Washington 4,821,82381.8%5,196,36277.3%5,130,92066.6%+7.8%
Flag of West Virginia.svg West Virginia 1,718,77795.0%1,739,98893.9%1,610,74989.8%+1.2%
Flag of Wisconsin.svg Wisconsin 4,769,85788.9%4,902,06786.2%4,737,54580.4%+2.8%
Flag of Wyoming.svg Wyoming 454,67092.1%511,27990.7%488,37484.7%+12.4%
Flag of the United States.svg United States of America211,460,62675.1%223,553,26572.4%204,277,27361.6%+5.7%
White population by state (includes Hispanics who identify as white) [72]
StatePop. 2016% 2016Pop. 2017% 2017percentage
Flag of Alabama.svg Alabama 3,371,06669.35%3,374,13169.22%-0.13%+3,065
Flag of Alaska.svg Alaska 490,86466.20%486,72465.79%-0.41%-4,140
Flag of Arizona.svg Arizona 5,753,50683.28%5,827,86683.06%-0.22%+74,360
Flag of Arkansas.svg Arkansas 2,372,84379.41%2,381,66279.27%-0.14%+3,740
Flag of California.svg California 28,560,03272.68%28,611,16072.37%-0.31%+51,128
Flag of Colorado.svg Colorado 4,837,19787.47%4,894,37287.29%-0.18%+57,175
Flag of Connecticut.svg Connecticut 2,891,94380.60%2,879,75980.26%-0.34%-12,184
Flag of Delaware.svg Delaware 667,07670.02%670,51269.70%-0.32%+3,436
Flag of the District of Columbia.svg District of Columbia 305,23244.60%313,23445.14%+0.54%+8,002
Flag of Florida.svg Florida 16,022,49777.56%16,247,61377.43%-0.13%+225,116
Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg Georgia 6,310,42661.18%6,341,76860.81%-0.37%+31,342
Flag of Hawaii.svg Hawaii 370,36225.92%366,54625.67%-0.25%-3,816
Flag of Idaho.svg Idaho 1,567,86893.32%1,599,81493.18%-0.2%+31,946
Flag of Illinois.svg Illinois 9,909,18477.20%9,864,94277.06%-0.14%-44,242
Flag of Indiana.svg Indiana 5,679,25285.61%5,690,92985.36%-0.25%+11,677
Flag of Iowa.svg Iowa 2,860,13691.35%2,864,66491.06%-0.29%+4,528
Flag of Kansas.svg Kansas 2,519,34086.64%2,519,17686.47%-0.17%-164
Flag of Kentucky.svg Kentucky 3,901,87887.96%3,908,96487.76%-0.20%+7,086
Flag of Louisiana.svg Louisiana 2,958,47163.13%2,951,00363.00%-0.13%-7,468
Flag of Maine.svg Maine 1,261,24794.81%1,264,74494.67%-0.14%+3,497
Flag of Maryland.svg Maryland 3,572,67359.30%3,568,67958.96%-0.34%-3,994
Flag of Massachusetts.svg Massachusetts 5,575,62281.71%5,576,72581.29%-0.42%+1,103
Flag of Michigan.svg Michigan 7,906,91379.60%7,914,41879.44%-0.16%+7,505
Flag of Minnesota.svg Minnesota 4,687,39784.84%4,708,21584.43%-0.41%+20,818
Flag of Mississippi.svg Mississippi 1,771,27659.33%1,766,95059.21%-0.12%-4,326
Flag of Missouri.svg Missouri 5,069,86983.23%5,080,44483.10%-0.13%+10,575
Flag of Montana.svg Montana 926,47589.20%935,79289.08%-0.12%+9,317
Flag of Nebraska.svg Nebraska 1,693,62288.78%1,700,88188.58%-0.20%+7,259
Flag of Nevada.svg Nevada 2,208,91575.15%2,235,65774.57%-0.58%+26,742
Flag of New Hampshire.svg New Hampshire 1,251,83693.77%1,256,80793.59%-0.18%+4,971
Flag of New Jersey.svg New Jersey 6,499,05772.38%6,489,40972.06%-0.32%-9,648
Flag of New Mexico.svg New Mexico 1,716,66282.31%1,715,62382.16%-0.15%-1,039
Flag of New York.svg New York 13,856,65169.85%13,807,12769.56%-0.29%-49,524
Flag of North Carolina.svg North Carolina 7,212,42371.01%7,276,99570.83%-0.18%+64,572
Flag of North Dakota.svg North Dakota 663,42487.81%661,21787.53%-0.28%-2,207
Flag of Ohio.svg Ohio 9,578,42482.41%9,579,20782.16%-0.25%+783
Flag of Oklahoma.svg Oklahoma 2,923,75174.56%2,921,39074.32%-0.24%-2,361
Flag of Oregon.svg Oregon 3,569,53887.29%3,607,51587.08%-0.21%+37,977
Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Pennsylvania 10,525,56282.31%10,507,78082.06%-0.25%-17,782
Flag of Rhode Island.svg Rhode Island 892,28784.37%890,88384.07%-0.30%-1,404
Flag of South Carolina.svg South Carolina 3,393,34668.2%3,440,14168.47%+0.27%+46,795
Flag of South Dakota.svg South Dakota 733,19985.10%738,55484.92%-0.18%+5,355
Flag of Tennessee.svg Tennessee 5,231,98778.68%5,276,74878.57%-0.11%+44,761
Flag of Texas.svg Texas 22,166,78279.44%22,404,11879.15%-0.29%+237,336
Flag of the State of Utah.svg Utah 2,774,60691.14%2,820,38790.93%-0.21%+45,781
Flag of Vermont.svg Vermont 589,83694.62%589,16394.47%-0.15%-673
Flag of Virginia.svg Virginia 5,891,17470.01%5,904,47269.71%-0.30%+13,298
Flag of Washington.svg Washington 5,820,00779.93%5,887,06079.49%-0.44%+67,053
Flag of West Virginia.svg West Virginia 1,712,64793.66%1,699,26693.58%-0.08%-13,381
Flag of Wisconsin.svg Wisconsin 5,049,69887.47%5,060,89187.32%-0.15%+11,193
Flag of Wyoming.svg Wyoming 543,22492.87%537,39692.76%-0.11%-5,828
Flag of the United States.svg United States248,619,30376.87%249,619,49376.64%-0.23%+1,000,190
Non-Hispanic population
Non-Hispanic white population by state [72]
StatePop. 2016% 2016Pop. 2017% 2017percentage
Flag of Alabama.svg Alabama 3,198,38165.80%3,196,85265.58%-0.22%-1,529
Flag of Alaska.svg Alaska 454,65161.31%449,77660.80%-0.51%-4,875
Flag of Arizona.svg Arizona 3,819,88155.29%3,849,13054.86%-0.43%+29,249
Flag of Arkansas.svg Arkansas 2,175,52172.80%2,177,80972.49%-0.31%+2,288
Flag of California.svg California 14,797,97137.66%14,696,75437.17%-0.49%-101,217
Flag of Colorado.svg Colorado 3,791,61268.56%3,827,75068.26%-0.30%+36,135
Flag of Connecticut.svg Connecticut 2,428,33267.68%2,404,79267.02%-0.66%-23,540
Flag of Delaware.svg Delaware 597,72862.74%599,26062.30%-0.44%+1,532
Flag of the District of Columbia.svg District of Columbia 249,14136.40%255,38736.80%+0.40%+6,246
Flag of Florida.svg Florida 11,273,38854.57%11,343,97754.06%-0.51%+70,589
Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg Georgia 5,499,05553.32%5,507,33452.81%-0.51%+8,279
Flag of Hawaii.svg Hawaii 317,02622.19%312,49221.89%-0.30%-4,534
Flag of Idaho.svg Idaho 1,382,93482.32%1,408,29482.02%-0.30%+25,360
Flag of Illinois.svg Illinois 7,915,01361.65%7,849,88761.32%-0.33%-65,126
Flag of Indiana.svg Indiana 5,280,02979.59%5,280,42079.20%-0.39%+391
Flag of Iowa.svg Iowa 2,696,68686.13%2,695,96285.70%-0.43%-724
Flag of Kansas.svg Kansas 2,215,92076.21%2,209,74875.86%-0.35%-6,172
Flag of Kentucky.svg Kentucky 3,767,09284.92%3,768,89184.61%-0.31%+1,799
Flag of Louisiana.svg Louisiana 2,760,41658.91%2,747,73058.66%-0.25%-12,686
Flag of Maine.svg Maine 1,243,74193.50%1,246,47893.30%-0.20%+2,737
Flag of Maryland.svg Maryland 3,098,54351.43%3,077,90750.86%-0.57%-20,636
Flag of Massachusetts.svg Massachusetts 4,972,01072.86%4,953,69572.21%-0.65%-18,315
Flag of Michigan.svg Michigan 7,489,60975.40%7,488,32675.17%-0.23%-1,283
Flag of Minnesota.svg Minnesota 4,442,68480.41%4,455,60579.89%-0.52%+12,921
Flag of Mississippi.svg Mississippi 1,697,56256.86%1,691,56656.69%-0.17%-5,996
Flag of Missouri.svg Missouri 4,855,15679.71%4,859,22779.48%-0.23%+4,071
Flag of Montana.svg Montana 897,79086.44%905,81186.23%-0.21%+8,021
Flag of Nebraska.svg Nebraska 1,515,49479.44%1,516,96279.00%-0.44%+1,468
Flag of Nevada.svg Nevada 1,465,88849.87%1,470,85549.06%-0.81%+4,967
Flag of New Hampshire.svg New Hampshire 1,212,37790.81%1,215,44790.52%-0.29%+3,070
Flag of New Jersey.svg New Jersey 5,002,86655.72%4,962,47055.10%-0.62%-40,396
Flag of New Mexico.svg New Mexico 789,86938.31%783,06437.50%-0.81%-6,805
Flag of New York.svg New York 11,047,45655.69%10,972,95955.28%-0.41%-74,497
Flag of North Carolina.svg North Carolina 6,447,85263.48%6,486,10063.13%-0.35%+38,248
Flag of North Dakota.svg North Dakota 641,94584.96%639,02984.59%-0.37%-2,916
Flag of Ohio.svg Ohio 9,229,93279.41%9,219,57779.08%-0.33%-10,355
Flag of Oklahoma.svg Oklahoma 2,592,57166.12%2,581,56865.67%-0.45%-11,003
Flag of Oregon.svg Oregon 3,115,65676.25%3,139,68575.79%-0.46%+24,029
Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Pennsylvania 9,841,61976.96%9,796,51076.50%-0.44%-45,109
Flag of Rhode Island.svg Rhode Island 773,40573.13%768,22972.50%-0.63%-5,176
Flag of South Carolina.svg South Carolina 3,165,17663.82%3,203,04563.75%-0.07%+37,869
Flag of South Dakota.svg South Dakota 710,50982.47%714,88182.20%-0.27%+4,372
Flag of Tennessee.svg Tennessee 4,931,60974.17%4,963,78073.91%-0.26%+32,171
Flag of Texas.svg Texas 11,862,69742.51%11,886,38142.00%-0.51%+23,684
Flag of the State of Utah.svg Utah 2,400,88578.86%2,434,78578.49%-0.37%+33,900
Flag of Vermont.svg Vermont 580,23893.08%579,14992.86%-0.22%-1,089
Flag of Virginia.svg Virginia 5,247,23162.36%5,241,26261.88%-0.48%-5,969
Flag of Washington.svg Washington 5,049,81769.36%5,091,37068.75%-0.61%+41,553
Flag of West Virginia.svg West Virginia 1,688,47292.33%1,674,55792.22%-0.11%-13,915
Flag of Wisconsin.svg Wisconsin 4,710,92881.60%4,713,99381.34%-0.26%+3,065
Flag of Wyoming.svg Wyoming 492,23584.16%486,56583.99%-0.17%-5,670
Flag of the United States.svg United States197,834,59961.17%197,803,08360.73%-0.44%-31,516


White Americans tend[ quantify ] to vote for the Republican Party ever since the 1960s when the party pushed for the Southern strategy electoral strategy to increase political support among white voters in the South.[ citation needed ]

In 2012, 88% of Romney voters were white while 56% of Obama voters were white. [73] In the 2008 presidential election, John McCain won 55% of white votes. [74] In the 2010 House election, Republicans won 60% of the white votes. [75]

Some academics and commentators have argued that Donald Trump's presidential election victory in 2016 is an example of "White backlash". [76] [77] [78]

YearCandidate of
the plurality
% of
vote[ citation needed ]
1980 Ronald Reagan Republican Party 56%Won
1984 Ronald Reagan Republican66%Won
1988 George H. W. Bush Republican59%Won
1992 George H. W. Bush Republican40%Lost
1996 Bob Dole Republican46%Lost
2000 George W. Bush Republican55%Won
2004 George W. Bush Republican58%Won
2008 John McCain Republican55%Lost
2012 Mitt Romney Republican59%Lost
2016 Donald Trump Republican57%Won
2020 Donald Trump Republican58%Lost


From their earliest presence in North America, White Americans have contributed literature, art, cinema, religion, agricultural skills, foods, science and technology, fashion and clothing styles, music, language, legal system, political system, and social and technological innovation to American culture. White American culture derived its earliest influences from English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish settlers and is quantitatively the largest proportion of American culture. [79] The overall American culture reflects White American culture. The culture has been developing since long before the United States formed a separate country. Much of White American culture shows influences from British culture. Colonial ties to Great Britain spread the English language, legal system and other cultural attributes. [80]

Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America

Three members of the Kennedy political dynasty, John, Robert and Ted Kennedy. All eight of their great-grandparents emigrated from Ireland. Kennedy bros.jpg
Three members of the Kennedy political dynasty, John, Robert and Ted Kennedy. All eight of their great-grandparents emigrated from Ireland.

In his 1989 book Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, David Hackett Fischer explores the details of the folkways of four groups of settlers from the British Isles that moved to the American colonies during the 17th and 18th centuries from distinct regions of Britain and Ireland. His thesis is that the culture of each group persisted (albeit in modified form), providing the basis for the modern United States. [81]

According to Fischer, the foundation of America's four regional cultures was formed from four mass migrations from four regions of the British Isles by four distinct ethno-cultural groups. New England's formative period occurred between 1629 and 1640 when Puritans, mostly from East Anglia, settled there, thus forming the basis for the New England regional culture. [82] The next mass migration was of southern English Cavaliers and their working class English servants to the Chesapeake Bay region between 1640 and 1675. This spawned the creation of the American Southern culture. [83]

Then, between 1675 and 1725, thousands of Irish, Cornish, English and Welsh Quakers plus many Germans sympathetic to Quaker ideas, led by William Penn, settled the Delaware Valley. This resulted in the formation of the General American culture, although, according to Fischer, this is really a "regional culture", even if it does today encompass most of the U.S. from the mid-Atlantic states to the Pacific Coast. [84] Finally, a huge number of settlers from the borderlands between England and Scotland, sometimes by way of northern Ireland, migrated to Appalachia between 1717 and 1775. This resulted in the formation of the Upland South regional culture, which has since expanded to the west to West Texas and parts of the American Southwest. [85]

In his book, Fischer brings up several points. He states that the U.S. is not a country with one "general" culture and several "regional" cultures, as is commonly thought. Rather, there are only four regional cultures as described above, and understanding this helps one to more clearly understand American history as well as contemporary American life. Fischer asserts that it is not only important to understand where different groups came from, but when. All population groups have, at different times, their own unique set of beliefs, fears, hopes and prejudices. When different groups moved to America and brought certain beliefs and values with them, these ideas became, according to Fischer, more or less frozen in time, even if they eventually changed in their original place of origin. [86]


Admixture in non-Hispanic whites

Some white Americans have varying amounts of American Indian and Sub-Saharan African ancestry. In a recent study, Gonçalves et al. 2007 reported Sub-Saharan and Amerindian mtDNA lineages at a frequency of 3.1% (respectively 0.9% and 2.2%) in American Caucasians (in the United States, "Caucasian" includes people from North Africa and Western Asia as well as Europeans). [87] Recent research on Y-chromosomes and mtDNA detected no African admixture in European-Americans. The sample included 628 European-American Y-chromosomes and mtDNA from 922 European-Americans located in the Pacific Northwest. [88]

DNA analysis on White Americans by geneticist Mark D. Shriver showed an average of 0.7% Sub-Saharan African admixture and 3.2% Native American admixture. [89] The same author, in another study, claimed that about 30% of all White Americans, approximately 66 million people, have a median of 2.3% of Black African admixture. [90] Shriver discovered his ancestry is 10 percent African, and Shriver's partner in DNA Print Genomics, J.T. Frudacas, contradicted him two years later stating "Five percent of European Americans exhibit some detectable level of African ancestry." [91]

White Americans (European Americans) on average are: 98.6 percent European, 0.19 percent African and 0.18 percent Native American. Inferred British/Irish ancestry is found in European Americans from all states at mean proportions of above 20%, and represents a majority of ancestry, above 50% mean proportion, in states such as Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Scandinavian ancestry in European Americans is highly localized; most states show only trace mean proportions of Scandinavian ancestry, while it comprises a significant proportion, upwards of 10%, of ancestry in European Americans from Minnesota and the Dakotas. [92]

Admixture in Hispanic whites

In contrast to non-Hispanic or Latino whites, whose average European ancestry is 98.6%, [92] [93] genetic research has found that the average European admixture among White Hispanic and Latino Americans is 73%, while the average European admixture for Hispanic Americans overall (regardless of their self-identified race) is 65.1%.

"Average admixture," however, can be a misleading measure, as it conflates vastly different population groups and ignores marked differences within individual Latino populations. Each Latin American country has a unique demographic history. The genetic profile of American Latinos varies from group to group and is a result of unique immigration histories, as Mexicans and Mexican-Americans make up the majority of Hispanics in the United States but other South American groups may have a different degree of admixture. The Cuban exiles "fleeing the Castro regime in the 1960s and ’70s were almost entirely white, educated and middle or upper class," for instance, the descendants of recent Spanish immigrants to Cuba. [94] This can also be seen in immigrant populations of Uruguay, Argentina and Venezuela. Those who came during the Mariel Boatlift, on the other hand, were more racially diverse.

See also


  1. Of the foreign-born population from Europe (4,817 thousand), in 2010, 62% were naturalized. [54]

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