Population Statistics - Measuring Diversity

Katarina Mjatovic

US Census Bureau Figures for 2010

This information was collected by the US government in the 2010 Census. The chart shows the populations of the US, California, and San Francisco, as well as the relative populations of various ethnic groups in 2010 for each of these regions. Look at the information carefully and answer the following questions:

  1. What region (US, CA or SF) is most diverse? How can you judge that?

  2. Which categories show the greatest differences in percentage among the 3 regions? What does that mean?

  3. Did you learn anything new from reading this chart? Do you find any of the data surprising? Explain.

  4. If you add up the percentages for each region, each has a total of more than 100%. That should be impossible! How can you explain this?

Poland 748,000
U.K. 833,000
Canada 953,000
Germany 990,000
Italy 1,257,000

Although all 5 of these groups represent different ethnicities, how do you think most of these people are categorized by the US Census Bureau today? (look at the chart on the previous page). Do you think that is accurate? Why or why not?

Vietnam 1,200,000
India 1,800,000
Philippines 1,800,000
China 2,200,000
Mexico 11,700,000

  1. How has immigration changed over the last 40 years? What are some of the possible causes of this change?

  2. How do you think most of the people in the 2000 chart fit into the US Census Bureau categories?

  3. What’s the difference between the statistics on “foreign-born” Americans and the statistics on the “ethnic origin” of Americans? Why would the numbers be different? What’s the difference in accuracy? Why would you use one method of counting instead of the other?

  4. Look at the bigger picture: How is American society changing? What are your predictions for the US ethnic make-up in 2040?

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