The United States of America is a country well-known for its diversity. In fact, it is one of its biggest selling points. The country was founded by immigrants and it has been accepting immigrants ever since, albeit with some reluctance from the previous generation of immigrants. As a result of this mixing, the country is one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse in the world. Here are a few things you may expect when you visit the US. I apologize in advance if my data is off.
Race and Origin
According to the US Census Bureau from 2019, about three-quarters of the US population is white, with African Americans making up about 13% of the population. Around 18% are either Hispanic or Latino and nearly 6% are Asian. The data can be a bit confusing in this regard, as there are different methodologies in different areas where the data is taken. Many people with two or more races denounce one of them.
A few points also need to be cleared up. Regarding people originating from Asian countries, most are Chinese, Indian, and Filipino (in that order). This isn’t to say that there are few people who are Mongolian, Japanese, Thai, or Bhutanese. There are about 20 different Asian groups.
Secondly, you may hear people use the terms Latin and Hispanic interchangeably. While they are often put in the same demographic, Latin refers to people from Latin America, whereas Hispanic refers to people who speak Spanish as their first language or originate from a Spanish-speaking country. Obviously, there is a bit of an overlap between the two and Hispanics can be of any race.
Most and Least
As of January 22, 2020, the most racially diverse city in the US is Stockton, California. It has a large population of Asian and Hispanic residents, with African Americans still making up around 12%. The least racially diverse city is El Paso, Texas, where more than 90% of the population is white.
Christianity as a whole is still the dominant religion of the US, with Protestants and Catholics making the most of the Christian population. About 20% of Americans are either atheist, agnostic, or simply undecided. Despite what you may hear in some of the media, Muslims make up for about 1% of the population. Judaism makes up about 2%.
There are many different religions in the US, though they do not have as strong a presence as the ones I’ve listed here. You will find Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and even some Neopagans, like Druids and Wicca.
Despite the movies we love, the official language of the US is not English. The fact is that the country does not have an official language as such. Oh, 32 states have made English their official language, but that language remains national, yet unofficial. The most common Native American languages are Cherokee and Navajo.
Spanish is another major language in the US and, much like English, it was brought to the continent by colonists. There are more than 40 million Spanish speakers in the US.
Regarding Asian languages, the dominant ones are Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean. People from India and Pakistan speak Hindi and Urdu.
There are more than 20 different languages spoken in the United States, not counting new dialects like Louisiana Creole French.
What Does all this Mean?
Simply put, don’t expect the country to be homogenous. The beauty of many different cultures, dishes, religions, languages, and delicacies is what makes the US so interesting. There are entire neighborhoods and even cities with just one or two ethnic or religious groups. Then, there are those where next-door neighbors don’t speak the same language. It’s awesome.