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Demographic Shifts Essay

1. Describe how the population of the Pacific Northwest changed from 1900 to 2000. In 1900 the foreign born in the Pacific Northwest was mostly Western European with a percentage of around 33%. Around the 1990’s the foreign born becomes mostly Asian-Middle Eastern with a percentage of foreign born at about 8%. The lower percentage is due to the population increase and the immigration acts, which both decreased foreign born (1924) and then increased foreign born again (1965). In 2000 the percentage of foreign born increases to around 15% with mostly Asian-Middle Eastern foreign born people.

2. What three counties in the U.S. had the largest number of foreign-born residents in the year 1900? How about 2000? In 1900 Cook County III had the largest percentage of foreign born with around 33% mostly being Russian and Eastern European, the most foreign born happened to be in Manhattan with over 850,000 foreign born. In 2000 Miami-Dade County had the highest percentage with over 50% being foreign born Latin Americans, the county with the most foreign born was Los Angeles County with almost 4 million foreign born.

3. Name three counties that included immigrants from Latin America in the year 1900. And in 2000. In 1900 San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles counties had immigrants from Latin America, there were also a lot of counties in Texas which had Latin American immigrants. In the year 2000 Los Angeles county, Harris County, and Cook County III had large populations of Latin American immigrants/foreign born from Latin America. These three counties had the largest or relatively large population of Latin American immigrants, which is why I chose them.

4. Name three counties that included immigrants from Asia in the year 1900. And in 2000. In 1900 there were Asian immigrants in Honolulu County, Hawaii County, and Kauai County at high percentages and numbers. In 2000 King County, Santa Clara County, and Honolulu County all had Asian immigrants and also a lot of Eastern counties near the coast had Asian immigrants. There were many other counties, but these three had the higher percentages of Asian immigrants in the two years that were looked at, which is why I chose them.

5. How do the “Percent of Population” and the “Number of Residents” maps compare from the year 1900. Describe a surprising piece of data from the maps. How might you explain it? The year 1900 the Percent map indicates the majority of the Southern states had little to no populations other than Western Europeans. There were more Western Europeans by percentage in the Southern region and the Western region than anywhere else, compared by the whole region and other populations living within those regions.

The Number of Residents map shows that the Southern region really did not have that many West Europeans living there at the time. The Number of Residents map is the most surprising to me because of the sheer amount of residents living in the North/East, which may have been due to the fact that the West was not completely civilized yet, which would make it less appealing to people. Another thing that surprised me was that each of the population had their own type of region, the Canadians up near Canada, the Latinos down near Mexico, The Russians and Eastern Europeans in the North, the Asians in the West, and the Western Europeans all over. It was as if the Western Europeans were not sticking together like the other populations. I think that the reason this happened was because they moved to an area and a lot of their kind moved their too because they heard that some of their kind already lived there. This would explain why certain populations have certain regions.

6. Do the same ^ comparison for 2000. The first thing I noticed and that was most shocking was the percentages of Latin Americans increased drastically which may have been due to Bracero Workers and the Immigration Act of 1965 which let Latinos immigrate into the United States. What I noticed is that the Latin American stayed near Mexico, and the Canadians still stayed near Canada. Another surprising thing to me was that the North/East became diversified and had many different types of populations in their counties compared to the 1900 percentage map, this may have also been due to the 1965 Immigration Act. The amount of residents map shows that the West mainly had Latinos while the East had many types of populations. The resident map almost corresponds with the percentage map, expect in a few places where the resident number bubble is in different spots than what the percentage map would have you expect.

7. Use the changing demographics that appear in the maps to explain some feature of American life in the 21st century (changes in popular culture, diversity of Seattle or other American cities, election outcomes). Over the course of a century, the Latino population grew increasingly fast. A lot of other populations also began coming to the United States which really diversified the country. The popular culture surely changed because there was a large amount of Russian immigrants in the early 20th century and in the late 20th century it became more Latino immigrants, the two cultures of very different traditions so the popular culture of the United States had to change to accommodate the population change.

Seattle, Washington did not really change until late in the 20th century where more Asian immigrants lived in Seattle than the former majority (Western European). The population changes would have influenced election outcomes, as recently seen, the population of Latinos changed the outcome of the presidential election, so with the population changes back then there could have been an even bigger change in election outcomes due to the rapid change from other populations (Russian and Western European to Latino and Asian). The overall demographic shifts changed the course of United States’ history because the fluctuations influenced election outcomes and popular culture of the nation.


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