The distribution of ethnicities in the United States varies depending on ones race, religion, and culture. Although, first, one must understand the meaning of ethnicity.
Ethnicity is identity with a group of people who share the same cultural traditions of a particular homeland.
In the United States the four most numerous ethnicities are Hispanics (14%), African American (12%), Asian American (4%), and American Indian (1%). In the United states, the clustering of Ethnicities happens in two ways. One way is a certain ethnic group may live in particular regions of the country. Another way is they may live in a particular neighborhood within a city.
The regional concentrations of ethnicities in the United States have distinctive distributions. Some examples of distinctive distributions are how African Americans are clustered in the southeast, Hispanics in the southwest, Asian Americans in the west, and American Indians in the southwest and plains.
The second example of ethnicities clustering together is in the cities. African Americans are highly clustered within cities. Although the contrast is greater at state level with eighty five percent of African Americans living in the city of Detroit. The distribution of Hispanics is similar to that of African Americans in large northern cities. In New York City more than one-fourth Hispanic, compared to one-sixteenth in the rest of New York State, while New York City contains two-fifths of the state’s total population, and three-fourths of that is Hispanic.
In the United States, the clustering of ethnicities is partly a function of the same process that helps geographers explain the regular distribution of other cultural factors, such as language and religion. An example of distinctive migration is that of the African Americans. They first migrated from Africa to the United states in the eighteenth century( we’ll get into that a little later), then from living in the South to the northern cities in the first half of the twentieth century, and finally from inner city ghettos to urban neighborhoods. Below is a map that shows the distribution of African Americans today.
Now this all started because of forced migration from Africa. Most African Americans today are descendants from African that were forced to migrate to the Western Hemisphere as slaves around 1710.
Fast forward to 1865, the Civil War ended thus taking slavery with it. Now free, African Americans remained in the rural South during the late nineteenth century working as sharecroppers.
This did not last long because in the early twentieth century, sharecropping began to decline. This was because of the introduction of farm machines. They were pushed off of farms and were pulled to the North because it was industrialized.
When they reached the big cities, African American immigrants clustered in the one or two neighborhoods where the small numbers who had arrived in the nineteenth century were already living. These were known as ghettos. Densities in the Ghettos were high, with 40,000 inhabitants per square kilometer (100,000 per square mile) common.