Unit III: Ethnic Geography: Threads of Diversity

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Unit III: Ethnic Geography: Threads of Diversity


   Native Americans, shown here at a North Dakota gathering, are an important original and distinctive component of the North American ethnic mosaic.

Ethnicity  is identity with a group of people who share the cultural traditions of a particular homeland or hearth

    Ethnicity

–    comes from the Greek word, ethnikos, which means “national”

–    Greek ethnos means “nation” or “people.”

    Geographers are interested in where ethnicities are distributed.

    Globalization and proselytizing universal religions dilute diversity

–    Ethnicity stands as the strongest bulwark for the preservation of local diversity

Cultural Realms vs. Ethnic Geography

    Culture Realms

–     DeBlij and Fellman call them “realms” while Huntington uses “civilizations”

–     Culture Realms represent the mainstream trends of a realm  on a large scale

    Ethnic Geography

–    Focuses on

   a much smaller scale

   the spatial distributions and interactions of ethnic groups

–    Examples of the focus of the ethnic geographer would include

   multiple movements

   Diffusions

   Migrations

   mixings of diverse groups

Ethnic Groups

    Ethnic Group

–     Populations who identify themselves as separate in someway from the general population

    Characteristics of Ethnic Groups

–     Bound together by common origins

–     Separated from other groups

    Culture/customs

    Race

    Religion

    Language

    National origins

    There is no single trait which denotes ethnicity

–     There is no “ethnic identity”

Three Common Unifying Bonds of Ethnicity

    Irregardless of traits,  or perceived identification, there are common bonds which tend to unify ethnic groups

–    Shared ancestry and cultural heritage

–    Retention of a set of distinctive traditions

–    Maintenance of “in-group” interactions and relationships


    Ethno-centric ideas tend to

–    judge other cultures, nations, races, and ethnic groups by:

   one’s own standards

–    Maintain notion(s) of one’s own group as superior to all others

    Ethnocentrism can present itself as an outgrowth of egocentrism

Ethnicity à a Spatial Concept

    Two types of spatially discussing ethnicity

–    Larger homeland districts where:

   Ethnic groups are associated with clearly recognized territories in which they are the primary or exclusive occupants

–     smaller rural or urban enclaves within a host country/society

   These enclaves are inhabited by members of an ethnic group who immigrated away from the “homeland” area

Ethnic Cleansing

   “Ethnic Cleansing” is a euphemistic term for racial and/or ethnic inspired genocide.

–   It is a blatant attempt to “cleanse” a geographic area of all competing, conflicting groups, so that the dominant or conquering group can claim its alleged “homeland,” free from “foreign” competition or interference.

–   Yugoslavia in SE Europe and Rwanda/Burundi in Central Africa are very recent examples

–   Pre-war Nazi land acquisitions and policies culminating with the Holocaust of the Jews (as well as other “undesirables”) may be the most blatant modern attempt to eliminate any and all people who do not fit into the Nazi mainstream notions of “racial/ethnic purity.”

Ethnic Cleansing

Black “Homelands” in South Africa

    During the apartheid era, South Africa created a series of black “homelands” with the expectation that every black would be a citizen of one of them.  These were abolished with the end of apartheid.


What about Ethnic Homelands in North America?

Guest Workers

     “Guest workers” – frequently called by their German name Gastarbeiter – have substantially altered the ethnic mix in formerly unicultural cities of Western Europe. 

–     The store shown here is in an Algerian neighborhood of Paris. 

     On average, foreigners comprise over 7% of Western Europe’s labor force. 

–     They form the majority of the work force in many Middle Eastern countries

–     Between 60% and 90% of the workers of the Persian Gulf countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are foreigners

    Note: Virtually all female workers in the Arabian countries are guest workers because of Islamic restrictions on women’s movement in these countries.

–     25% of of Singapore’s workforce is foreign. 

The Universality of Ethnic Diversity

    Approximately 5000 ethnic groups are distributed within roughly 200 sovereign nations

–     Europe

    guest worker enclaves + minority homelands

–     SE Asian & African resettlements & colonial legacies

    a dynamic mosaic of fluid, pluralistic societies

–     Polyethnic countries:

    the former Yugoslavia & USSR

    China, India, Afghanistan,

    Former colonies in Africa & Latin America

–     USA = economic and political magnet for all world refugees contribute to an ever-changing cultural “melting pot” (although some object to the term melting pot, and rather, consider it a composite “quilt”).

Territorial Isolation

     Territorial Isolation is a strong, sustaining trait of ethnic separatism

–     Found outside of North America this example applies to separatist movements in areas such as Europe, Asia, and Africa

    These are areas where ethnicity and territory (such as homelands) are virtually inseparable

–     Western Europe

    Welsh, Bretons, Basques

–     Eastern Europe

    Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, Slovenes, Croats, Bosnians, Herzegovinans, and other groups formerly “Yugoslavs”

    Also, the multiple non-Slavic (and often Muslim) “nations” of today’s Russia  and the old USSR

–     Africa

    More than 400 distinct “tribes” and former kingdoms divided by roughly 50 states

–     Asia

    5 main areas (each much like Europe in cultural diversity)

    7-10 major religions

    Literally hundreds of languages and ethnic groups are lumped together as a so-called geographic entity


      Such strongly and clearly identifiable “homelands” do not exist in North America . . . Why?

Ethnic Patterns in Anglo-America

African Americans in the U.S.

   The highest percentages of African Americans are in the rural South and in northern cities

Immigration Streams

   Anglo-America has been the destination of over 65 million immigrants from all continents/races.

Hispanic Americans in the U.S.

   The highest percentages of Hispanic Americans are in the southwest and in northern cities.


Asian Americans in the U.S.

   The highest percentages of Asian Americans are in Hawaii and California.


Native Americans in the U.S.

   The highest percentages of Native Americans are in parts of the plains, the southwest, and Alaska.


Immigration Streams: USA

    Amerindian: 70,000 -12,000 BCE

    Charter Group: 1607—1870 (& 20% African slaves):

             Britain, Germany, Scots, Scots-Irish, Irish Catholics

    1870—1921 (really, to 1914, then slower—why?):

             Scandinavians, Poles, Eastern European Jews, Italians,  

             Greeks, Russians, Ukrainians, & Austro-Hungarians

    1960’s—present: Mexicans + Latin Americans, Cubans, & Asians

Ethnicities in Chicago

    African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and European Americans are clustered in different areas of the city.


Ethnicities in Los Angeles

   Hispanic, white, African American, and Asian areas in and around Los Angeles.


African American Migration in the U.S.

    Twentieth-century African American migration within the U.S. consisted mainly of migration from the rural south to cities of the Northeast, Midwest, and West.


Geography and Public Policy:  Nations of Immigrants

    Do you think all people everywhere should have a universal right of admittance to a country of choice equivalent to their declared right to depart their homelands?


    Do you think it appropriate that destination states make a distinction between political and economic refugees?


    Do you this it legitimate for countries to establish immigration quotas based on national origin, or to classify certain potential immigrants as unacceptable or undesirable on the grounds that their national, racial, or religious origins are incompatible with the culture of the prospective host country?

Irish Famine

Migration to the US by region of origin

     Europeans comprised more than 90% of the immigrants to the US during the 19th century and even as recently as the early 1960s continued to account for more than 50%. 

     Since the 1960s, Latin America has replaced Europe as the dominant source of immigrants to the US, although Asia was the largest source during the early 1980s.


Triangular Slave Trade and African Source Areas

    The British triangular slave trading system operated among Britain, Africa, and the Caribbean and North America.

How was/is Canadian Immigration different from that of the USA?

Eager Immigrants to Canada

Immigration Streams:  Canada

    70,000-12,000 BCE

–     Amerindians

    1608-1763

–     French Charter Group

    After 1763

–     English, Irish, Scots and Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution

    During 20th century:

–     Continental Europe

–     Recently from other continents, especially Asia

Acculturation and Assimilation

   Amalgamation Theory: 

–    In ethnic geography, the concept that multiethnic societies become a merger of the cultural traits of their member groups

   i.e., the “Melting Pot Theory.”

   Acculturation: 

–    Cultural modification or change resulting when a group or individual adopts the traits of a dominant or host culture

   this is cultural development or change through “borrowing”; some reverse acculturation can and often does occur.

   Assimilation: 

–    a two-part process, behavioral and structural, by which a minority population reduces or loses completely its identifying cultural characteristics and blends into the host society.

Amalgamation: INITIALLY


    Process:

–    Immigrants adopt the values, attitudes, ways of behavior, and speech of the receiving society

   The ethnic group loses is separate cultural identity over time, as it accepts the culture of the larger host community.

    The process usually involves a immigrant group adopting the patterns of the dominant population

–    It can be reciprocal for some patterns/practices of a given minority population.

    Acculturation is a slow process

–    Generally, it takes three generations before American immigrants easily assimilate into the host society;

   the grandkids of the original immigrants usually feel fully “American.”


    When cultures make contact, the dominant culture prevails

–     The culture of the smaller or weaker society may be somewhat changed, considerably modified, or even completely transformed

    Acculturation is not always a one-way street

–     While dominant cultures impose their attributes on the weaker ones, they also adopt certain aspects of the other culture

    Spanish and Aztec culture

–     Towns, government, religions, languages transformed

–     Spanish adopted new crops, clothing influences, and artistic styles


The Columbian Exchange

Acculturation of Pre-Colombian death cultures by Anglo-America

    Mummies and reverence of the ancestors play an essential and important part in Pre-Colombian (Inca, Aztec, Maya) societies

    The Spanish bring with them Catholicism with their own “death culture” based around the crucifixion and rebirth of Jesus.

    The amalgamation of the two cultures resulted in new “death-based” practices:

–     El dia de los muertos

    Mestizos moving northward to Anglo-America bring “death-based” practices with them

–     Funery roadside markers renewed seasonally and frequently

    Some Anglo-Americans have now adopted the roadside markers



    Transculturation occurs when there is contact between two culture complexes that are more nearly equal in numbers, strength, and complexity

–     In these cases, a genuine exchange follows

–     Both cultures function as sources and adopters

    This is different from the usual acculturation that tends to be a one-way process (voluntary or forced) in which the flow of innovations, ideas, and practices overshadows any “reverse” movement


    Some small isolated culture groups in remote locales have experienced little acculturation – while others have been strongly affected

    Until the recent penetration and destruction of rainforest areas, Brazil’s Yanomami people remained beyond acculturation’s reach

    At the other end of the spectrum are societies like Japan – which intentionally adopted European technology

–     This voluntary westernization is a strong contrast to the acculturation forced through European colonial powers among their overseas domains

Acculturation and Language

  In the 1990’s, 14% of US Census respondents reported speaking a language other than English in the home

–   for more than half, it was Spanish.

  Given recent trends, that number is increasing.

  Civil Rights regulations retard acculturation:

–   Bilingual education

–   Bilingual voting assistance

–   Bilingual gov’t. forms and street signs

Language Barrier     Small Business

    LANGUAGE differences have traditionally created a BARRIER for immigrant access to the mainstream labor force

–     where access was available, it was for extremely unskilled labor, and “Nativist” organizations often blocked them.

    As a result, many immigrants started their own SMALL BUSINESSES within their own enclaves, thereby . .

–     creating ethnic urban enclaves in American cities

–     creating family-held neighborhood enterprises

–     thereby, creating a continuous stimulus for American capitalism from generation to generation.


    Variations in business establishments in Anglo & American neighborhoods of Los Angeles in the late 1970’s:

–      although the total populations of the two areas were comparable, the Mexican American community had over three times more food stores because of the predominance of “corner store” groceries over supermarkets. 

    Bakeries (tortillerias) were a frequent expression of ethnic dietary habits. 

–     Neighborhood businesses conducted in Spanish & related to the needs of the community were the rule. 

–     Anglo neighborhoods, because of greater affluence, had larger members of professional services (doctors, lawyers) available.

Acculturation to Assimilation

ASSIMILATION has two phases

   BEHAVIORAL or CULTURAL ASSIMILATION, usually a second-generation phenomenon, implies SHARED EXPERIENCE through:

–   Language

–   Intermarriage

–   Sense of history

   STRUCTURAL ASSIMILATION,                  usually a third-generation phenomenon, implies   FUSION of immigrant ethics with host society through:

–   Social Groups and Social Systems

–   Occupations/Jobs in the labor force

–   Common attitudes and values


Structural Assimilation

    The EXTENT of Structural Assimilation is measured by:

–    Employment segregation

–    Intermarriage rates

–    Degree of residential segregation


    In America, most of the “old” pre-1921 European immigrants have completed their Structural Assimilation into the American Host Society


    In America, most of the “new” post-1960 immigrants are still in the Acculturation phase; they and even more so, African Americans have found Structural Assimilation much more elusive and difficult to achieve. 

–    Why so with African Americans?

Competition Theory

    Assimilation (both Behavioral/Cultural and Structural) does not necessarily mean a total loss of ethnic consciousness or awareness of cultural differences.


    Competition Theory suggests that as ethnic minorities begin to achieve success and assimilation into the host culture, AWARENESS of ETHNIC DIFFERENCES may become HEIGHTENED

–     Ethnic and/or racial pride motivates those who could successfully assimilate to:




    Thus, formerly isolated groups are transformed into recognized, self-assertive, minorities pursuing goals and interests independent of their position within the larger society.

   Can you cite examples?



Eroding Barriers Retard Acculturation/Assimilation

    In the past, immigrants to North America had little or no hope of ever returning home or maintaining contact with their source culture and/or relatives and friends. 

–     Immigrating to America in 1620 would practically be equivalent to traveling to the nearest star in the 21st century. 

–     Often, political or religious conflicts exacerbated the isolation.

    In the past, with virtually all connections severed, the pressures to acculturate and assimilate were powerful and universal (involuntary slavery excepted).

    Nowadays, improvements in global transportation and/or communication systems have lessened the isolation AND the motivation to acculturate/assimilate:

–     Globalization of both print and broadcast news

–     Globalization of communications from mail to telephones and the internet

–     Ease and relatively cheap means of international travel by sea and air.


Assimilation vs. Multiculturalism
The Melting Pot vs. the Mosaic/Quilt

    Most traditional Americans assume that the Composite Society created by isolated immigrant groups merging into the Host Society has traditionally worked well and is self-evidently advantageous to minority groups, i.e., the traditional American Melting Pot.

    In the 1970’s, Canada established MULTICULTURALISM as its national policy designed to:

–    Reduce tensions among its diverse ethnic, linguistic and racial groups, and

–    Preserve the priceless personal resources each thriving culture contributes to its NATIONAL CULTURAL MOSAIC.

    Which policy is the wisest??

–    Is there any compromise?

The Composite Society is not an ideal outside of North America

     While the composite society is a goal of both the USA and Canada (even if they choose different methods, Melting Pot vs. the Quilt/Mosaic) CONFLICT and even ethnic cleansing is the policy pursued, especially when INDIGENOUS (i.e., not immigrant) minorities feel their cultures and territories threatened.

    Examples include:

–     Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese (75%) vs. the Tamils (25%)

–     India’s Muslim minority (10%), especially in Kashmir

–     Many multi-ethnic African nations have competing minorities

    Recent ethnic conflicts have erupted in:

–     Armenia, Azerbaijan, Burma, Burundi/Rwanda, Ethiopia, Iraq, Russia, and the former Yugoslavia. 

–     Also, Bulgaria and Sudan. 

–     Does Israel qualify? 

–     What about Afghanistan?


Ethnic Demographics

    In some places, ethnic minorities—including immigrant minorities—have grown into majority groups, posing the question of who will assimilate whom?

–    Immigrant ethnic Indians in Fiji

–    the majority Shiites are ruled by minority Sunnis in Iraq, who also must deal with a significant Kurd minority in the north

   How has this changed with the fall of Saddam Hussain & the 2005 elections?

–    Obviously, North American immigrants overwhelmed and now assimilate the indigenous Native American populations

    Israel: the biggest obstacle to simply annexing the West Bank & Gaza (currently over four million Palestinians, not counting refugees in Lebanon, Syria & Jordan) is the fact that the prolific Muslims would increasingly outnumber the five million Israeli Jews, effectively destroying the “Jewish” character of the democratic state of Israel—annexation, in effect, forces Israel to chose between Zionism and democracy.

Areal Expressions of Ethnicity

    Throughout much of the world, the close association of TERRITORIALITY and ETHNICITY is well recognized, accepted and often politically disruptive.  (Recall there are over 5,000 recognizable ethnic groups distributed among only 200 sovereign nations.)

    Both the creation and dissolution of nation-states often sets off ethnic conflict when new borders are drawn:

–    Dissolution of the USSR in 1991

–    Division of the Indian Subcontinent in 1947

–    Dismemberment of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at Versailles in 1919 following WWI (when Yugoslavia was artificially created)

–    Yugoslavia in 1991

–    Afghanistan, first in the 19th century and again in 2001

–    ??? What will happen in Iraq? 

   Sunni minority  & Kurdish “nationless-state” in the north

Ethnicities into Nationalities

    Rise of nationalities

–     Nation-states

–     Nationalism


    Multinational states

–     Former Soviet Union

–     Russia

–     Turmoil in the Caucasus


    Revival of ethnic identity

–     Ethnicity and communism

–     Rebirth of nationalism in Eastern Europe

Wilbur Zelinsky’s


    Whenever an empty territory undergoes settlement, or an earlier population is dislodged by invaders, the specific characteristics of the first group able to effect a viable, self-perpetuating society are of crucial significance for the later social and cultural geography of the area, no matter how tiny the initial band of settlers may have been.

The Primary Charter Group

    In North America, the English became the first Charter Group along the Eastern Seaboard

–    establishing the cultural norms and standards against which subsequent immigrant groups would be measured.

    Thus, the English established standards for:

–    The national language

   English

–    English Common Law

   Foundation of legal system

–    Locke et al (the others were French)

   The secular humanists of the European Enlightenment  philosophical foundation for Constitution

–    English place names predominate

   E.g.: Jersey, York, Hampshire

Other North American Charter Groups

   The Dutch

–   New Amsterdam – overwhelmed by the English in 1664 and influence is practically gone

   The Spanish

–   Charter Group in Mexico, the Southwest and California (and a bit in Florida).

   The French

–   Charter Group in Eastern Canada where they still dominate Quebec, and in Louisiana, which has since been overwhelmed by the English.

   The Russians

–   First in Alaska, but almost all influence is gone today

The Spanish Charter Group

    Early missions established in the mid-to-late 16th century

–     El Paso –first settled in  1598, the mission established in 1659

–     Santa Fe – first settled in 1598, the mission established in 1610

     While Spain claimed California in the 16th century, Russian intrusions motivated them to settle it with a chain of missions between 1769-1823, after which it became part of independent Mexico.

     Even in the American Southwest and California, Spanish influence remains:

–     Language, art, folklore, and architecture

–     Social, economic, legal and cultural traditions

–     Spanish water law and land ownership patterns


The French Charter Group

    Jacques Cartier first claimed Eastern Canada for France in 1534-36

   In 1673 French-Canadian explorer Louis Joliet and French missionary Jacques Marquette explored the Mississippi River

   The French first explored Louisiana in 1682 and established New Orleans in 1718.

    Much of this charter group were made up of trappers and traders who lived and interacted more peacefully with the Native Americans



Ethnic Clusters

    The British Charter Group monopolized the best coastal harbors, rivers, and Eastern agricultural lands, later groups of immigrants streams had to “leapfrog” over the East into the interior and the West.

–     Scandinavians to the North Central states

–     Germans to the Appalachian uplands, the Middle West, and Texas

–     Slavic groups to the High Plains

–     Italians and Armenians to California

    When these interior regions develop small rural areas settled by a distinctive, ethnic group that places its imprint on the landscape, they are called ETHNIC ISLANDS.

–     Ethnic Islands are the rural counterparts to urban enclaves

Ethnic Islands

    Ethnic Islands are characterized by

–     strong sense of community

–     often retaining home country language, manner and dress.

    Ethnic Islands place a distinctive imprint on the rural geographic landscape:



    These islands retain their distinctiveness over long periods of time through spatial isolation – while maintaining little or no contact with the home country

–      ethnic islands have tended to be considered expressions of FOLK CULTURE rather than purely ethnic culture.

Ethnic Islands in the USA

Ethnic Islands in Canada

    The French and British Charter Groups still occupy their primary areas:

–    British dominate all provinces except Quebec

–    Quebec = 75% French; 80% of French Canadians live in Quebec Province, with most of the rest in Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

    Chinese have concentrated in British Columbia

    Italians in Ontario and Quebec

    Ukrainians settled in the Prairie Provinces


Ethnic Diversity in the Prairie Provinces

Cluster  Migration

    Ethnic Islands are the result of                                                                 CLUSTER MIGRATION.

    CLUSTER MIGRATION is the pattern of movement and settlements resulting from the collective action of a distinctive social or ethnic group, resulting in exclusive concentrations.

    Cluster Migration is not unique to foreign migrations

    Culturally distinctive groups, often seeking to establish utopias, also display such collective behavior 

–    In America, the final 1840’s migration of the Church of the Latter-day Saints (i.e., the Mormons) from Illinois to Utah is an excellent example.

The Mormon Cultural Region

Chain Migration

   CHAIN MIGRATION is the process by which migration movements from a common home area to a specific destination are sustained by links of friendship or kinship between the first movers and the later followers.

   The followers are obviously attracted by the assemblage, in a given location, of one’s relatives, friends, and cultural compatriots who have sent back favorable reports and provide a support system for new arrivals.

   Chain migration is a significant factor in developing many rural ethnic islands and virtually all urban enclaves.

Ethnic Provinces

  Vastly larger than ethnic islands are ETHNIC PROVINCES

–   LARGE REGIONS or TERRITORIES, both urban and/or rural

–   Dominated by or closely associated with a single ethnic or racial groups numbering in the thousands or even millions.  Examples?

  French Canadians in Quebec

  African Americans in the SE USA

  Native Americans in Oklahoma, the SW USA, the Northern Plains and Prairie Provinces

  Hispanics in the Southern Border States

Four North American Ethnic Groups & their Provinces

Comparison of Figs 6.8 with 6.11

African American Concentrations

African Americans Today
 - not Homogeneous

     Firstly, note that referring to either Hispanics or blacks as an “ethnic” group is misleading:

–     Hispanics are from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds

    multi-racial, national & cultural

    only Spanish language is a universal trait

–     Black Americans initially came from all over Africa and now have dispersed and differentiated as much as ethnic individuals of any other heritage.

     In 1998, those labeling themselves as “black” number 13% of all Americans.

     84% of African Americans live in metropolitan areas, compared to only 77% of all Americans.

     Roughly half reside in the South, half outside; recent trends in migration favor returning.


Hispanic Concentrations

    Hispanics are not a distinct ethnic group

–     They are a heterogeneous, multi-racial, multi-national, multi-cultural group who speak a wide variety of Spanish dialects.

    Hispanics represent about 12% of the total population

–     Increasing more rapidly than any other major ethnic cohort: +58% in the 13 years from 1985 to 1998.

–     Will pass African Americans as the largest minority group in America

–     Already outnumber blacks in LA, Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio and New York; LA is the second largest “Spanish-speaking” city in the Western Hemisphere, trailing only Mexico City in total number of speakers.

    In the mid-1990’s, over 90% of Hispanic households were urban, compared to less than 75% for non-Hispanics.


Composition of US Hispanic Population:
Puerto Ricans & Caribbean

     While LA boasts the second largest contingent of Spanish-speakers in the Western Hemisphere, New York is the largest “Puerto Rican” city.

     In 1940, 88% of mainland Puerto Ricans were also New Yorkers.

     Since then, Puerto Ricans have dispersed, mostly to other cities of the Northeast USA:

–     Old industrial cities of New Jersey, such as Jersey City, Newark, Paterson, Passaic, and Hoboken

–     Bridgeport and Stamford, Connecticut

–     Lowell, Lawrence and Brockton, Massachusetts

–     Chicago and other central industrial cities of the Midwest

     By the mid-1990’s, only one-third of mainland Puerto Ricans lived in New York.



Composition of US Hispanic Population: Cubans

     Miami and Dade Counties in Florida

–     Play the same role for Cubans that New York traditionally did for Puerto Ricans

    The initial “beachhead” for Cuban migration which then disperses outward from there

–     Southern Florida is still home to over half of all Cuban Americans.

     The first mass migration took place between 1959 and 1962, when Fidel Castro took over Cuba.

     There is also a significant number of Central Americans who migrate to Dade County.

     In the mid-1990’s, Hispanics  56% of the population of Dade County.

Asian American Concentrations

     Beginning in the 1970’s and continuing through the 1980’s, Asians were the fastest growing immigrant cohort in America.

     By 1994, they totaled 7.5 million, up to about 3% of the total from only 1.5% in 1975.

–     This rapid growth had two main causes:

    Changes in immigration laws let in professionally educated immigrants who could “chain migrate” relatives

    The end of the Vietnam War created massive numbers of refugees admitted under the Refugee Resettlement Program

      Above all, recall that Asia = five “Europe’s” with 7-10 major religions—they are a very heterogeneous group of immigrants with vastly differences in race, religion, nationality & culture.

–     (Note: the majority of Muslims are Asian, and even what we refer to as the Near East or Middle East is geographically “Southwestern Asia.”)

Where do Asian Americans Reside?

     In 1995, 59% resided in the West, with 40% in California alone, where 21% of all Americans lived.


     Only 14% of Asians resided in the South, where 34% of all Americans lived.


     The vast majority of Japanese & Filipinos s live in the West, as well as about half of Chinese Americans.

     Only 17% of Asians live in the Northeast, but one-third of immigrants from India live there.


     Over 26% of Koreans live in Los Angeles alone.


     Indochinese refugees were originally dispersed, but now 40% are in California (mostly around San Francisco) with a singularly large contingent in Orange County.



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