Map of regional ethnic differences in the U.S.

Discussion in 'United States' started by kazenatsu, Nov 26, 2023.

  1. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    The United States is not really ethnically homogenous. If you go to different regions of the U.S. you may find that the people seem very different, in a way that is difficult to put your finger on exactly. A big part of this may be because of the differences in the gene pool. Even among the white population, depending on the place settled, people came from different origins in Europe.

    In this map you can see "largest white ancestry group in U.S."
    https://i.pinimg.com/736x/df/85/06/df850684b7c701a83a419b7fc58dd178.jpg

    It pretty much delineates the outlines of "The South", who now mostly all specifically consider themselves "American" ethnicity. In most of the rest of the country, German was the main contributor to the white gene pool.

    In a small but very highly populated area around New York City and New Jersey, Italian is the biggest ancestry group for whites.

    The New England area got much less German influx, probably because this area was already settled by the time German immigrants came.
    Lots of Irish in Massachusetts and eastern parts of upper New York. There was a big wave of Irish immigration in the 1840s and later Italian immigration around the 1900s, when poorer immigrants were moving into the big city areas. This explains why 67% of the Christians in Massachusetts today are Catholic. Cities in the South didn't need Irish immigrants at that time because they had black slave labor. Later when the Italians arrived, the economy of the South was still in recovery from the Civil War, and the South had a lot of black poverty and not many Italians were needed. A few were brought to Mississippi to help harvest cotton but were treated half like blacks. The poorer white areas of the upper South did not welcome them.

    You can also see that only the northern third of Florida is part of "The South". The southern part of Florida was too hot humid (air conditioning came later), often had hard limestone poor soil or was swampy, so didn't get settled until much later. The city of Miami, today very important in Florida, was not founded until 1896, late in the country's history. The "culture" in southern Florida is more like the Midwest.


    In this map you can see that the people in "The South" have mixed English and Irish ancestry. Actually it might be more accurate to say Scots-Irish, since the majority of the whites in the South came from poorer areas in Britain further north. The wealthier plantation class in the deep South came from further south in England, and owned slaves, so for the most part these areas became part of "The Black Belt", with the exceptions of Charlston and Savannah whose wealthy economy relied more on commerce and trade.
    (recommended further reading: "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America" by Colin Woodard)
    The map also show Hispanics from Mexico now make up the majority of the population in the Southwest quarter of the country.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EIo53JkWwAMYGJP.jpg
    These Hispanics have mixed European and indigenous blood from Mexico, but have less European ancestry than the average in Mexico (both because the U.S. tended to get the poorer part of the population from Mexico, and because the northern part of Mexico had fewer people from Europe move there). Their European ancestry more largely includes Spanish and Italian than in the U.S.
    In addition, you can also see some French ancestry areas in Louisiana and sparsely populated U.S. areas right across the border from Montreal and Quebec City in Canada.
    Some parts of the upper Midwest have significant percentages of Norwegian ancestry, but these are sparsely populated and cold prairie farming areas.
    Significant English population in Virginia, this was colonized early but did not really become a big attraction for immigrants later. Since it was already settled but never developed any big cities with opportunities. (Germans did settle inland areas of Virgina, not long before the Civil War)

    In this map you can see the "Black Belt", a sweeping area across the lower "South", where Black people make up the majority population.
    https://coopercenterdemographics.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/including-unreported1.jpg
    This area often seems to get mostly forgotten about by the rest of the country, and the white population does not think about it. Few people visit or move there, and it almost gets treated as if it were some separate country. With the notable exception of the city of Atlanta. And maybe New Orleans too, which is remembered in American culture and tourists do visit, but at the same time is kind of half-forlorn. The high black population is half the reason it is like another country. The Cajun cuisine is the other half. The white population there is a mix of French, English, and poorer Scots-Irish.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2023
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  2. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes Newly Registered

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    I find that interesting. FWIW: I’m German on mom’s father’s side of family with American Indian mixed in on grandma’s side. On dad’s side of family I’m American as it gets - roots have been traced back to the Mayflower ships. Abe Lincoln even has a branch in that tree. Anyway, SW Michigan ain’t bad, but I would not live on the east side of state.
     
  3. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    A high Dutch population settled in Southwest Michigan. The west half of Michigan is very white, few people of other races compared to the eastern half. That's because most of the industry in Michigan was concentrated in the east. The northern half of Michigan, north of about the city of Saginaw, has a very low population because it is so far north, the temperatures are colder and the winters last longer. But tourists from the other part of the state go there during the summer.

    In terms of population genetics origin, the original population that settled in Michigan came from the state of New York and were "yankees". Later Irish, Polish, German, and a small amount of Scandinavian and Finnish immigrants came. Blacks came from the South during "The Great Migration", as factories (mainly production of cars) in industrial cities attracted poorer less skilled people looking for good paying jobs. This ended up having effects later on when the area began to deindustrialize in the late 1960s and early 1970s. By the late 1970s and early 80s, several former prosperous big cities in the Rust Belt, including Michigan, began to undergo "Urban decay". Blacks lost their jobs, crime rates went up, the white middle class fled the big cities into the suburbs. Much of this centers on the history of the city of Detroit in particular.
     
  4. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes Newly Registered

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    Yep, that place in New York is known as Ellis Island.
     
  5. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    No. This is referring to when Michigan first began to be settled, before the waves of Irish immigration began from 1840 to 1853 and onwards.
    The Erie Canal in New York opened in 1825, so that opened up the Great Lakes region, Michigan in particular, to people wanting to move there. At that time New York was the economic capital of the North. So for about a window of 15 or 20 years, the white people settling in Michigan (in the first big wave) were not immigrants coming from another country.

    That "founder effect" had a role in establishing the culture and economy in Michigan to become more like the state of New York in many ways.
    It is well known there is significant cultural divide when going from Michigan to Wisconsin. Compared to Wisconsin, Michigan can almost be considered more as part of "the East", including upstate New York.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2023
  6. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes Newly Registered

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    Well, my family tree tells a different story, but then that was before Ellis Island, and don’t ask me why they came here. Referring to one side of the tree. Other side of tree my great grandparents moved here directly from Germany. Go figure why the moved/settled here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2023
  7. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes Newly Registered

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    Second thought: You’re probably right (at least maybe right) about the timeframe for the first settlers here of my family. I’ll be looking into it. Thanks for spiking/renewing my interest…. cousin Pam has it all on paper.
     
  8. Lil Mike

    Lil Mike Well-Known Member

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    Interesting map.

    [​IMG]

    As a southerner, can confirm that southerners thought of themselves as "American" unless they had some family lore or information about their ancestry. That's probably because the south was largely ignored by later immigration waves. Italians, Poles, and so forth never went south, they went to northern and midwestern cities. So until the civil rights era made it OK to move south, the South was a preserved in amber view of pre 20th Century immigration America.
     
  9. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    There were three groups in the South. English, who had come as the earliest wave. Blacks who were important for plantation agriculture. Here's a little interesting fact not many are aware of. Only about 388,000 black slaves were ever actually imported to the American South. From that small number, the black population rapidly expanded due to natural increase. Labor was very much in demand at that period of time. Many of the early waves of Irish immigrants that would come to the North later didn't have it much better than the slaves. But there was one big difference: the climate. Europeans did not want to work in the heat and humidity in the South, toiling out in the open fields. But the most profitable cash crops, tobacco, cotton, and corn (and sugar cane in a few places further south) grew much better in the warmer climate of the South. So they needed black labor.
    The wealthy plantation owners, the gentry class of the South, were of English ancestry (and in a few cases French, in Louisiana and early St. Louis). But there were never very many of them of them compared to the black population in those areas. Georgia was considered "the heart of the South", and yet had a total white population of only 300,000 right before the Civil War.
    In the "upper South", in states like North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky, the demographics were very different, a much smaller black slave population, and mostly only concentrated into certain lower lying arears near the coast or Mississippi River. The white population in these areas, especially the more remote mountainous and less desirable interior areas, was settled not by the English but rather mainly from Scots-Irish settlers, who had slowly migrated down through the Appalachian mountains. The ancestors of this population originally settled in America in southern Pennsylvania, in very early times. As everyone knows, this population tends to have a very different quality and temperament than the English population. Poorer, less sophisticated whites, what often became considered "white trash". They tended to have more "fiery" personalities, be independent survivalists, and had a distrust of government (likely partly originating from the history of oppression the Scots-Irish experienced from the English, part of the reason that drove them to leave to America).
    In the middle Piedmont region of North Carolina, up the rivers, many Germans settled, originally from the interior Shenandoah valley settlement in Virginia, and these Germans mixed with the local Scots-Irish population that was already there. This happened three decades before the Civil War.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2023
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