The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
A civil township is a used unit of local government in the United States, subordinate to a county. The term town is used in New England, New York, Wisconsin to refer to the equivalent of the civil township in these states. Specific responsibilities and the degree of autonomy vary based on each state. Civil townships are distinct from survey townships, but in states that have both, the boundaries coincide and may geographically subdivide a county; the U. S. Census Bureau classifies civil townships as minor civil divisions. There are 20 states with civil townships. Township functions are overseen by a governing board and a clerk or trustee. Township officers include justice of the peace, road commissioner, assessor and surveyor. In the 20th century, many townships added a township administrator or supervisor to the officers as an executive for the board. In some cases, townships run local libraries, senior citizen services, youth services, disabled citizen services, emergency assistance, cemetery services.
In some states, a township and a municipality, coterminous with that township may wholly or consolidate their operations. Depending on the state, the township government has varying degrees of authority. In the Upper Midwestern states near the Great Lakes, civil townships, are but not always, overlaid on survey townships; the degree to which these townships are functioning governmental entities varies from state to state and in some cases within a state. For example, townships in the northern part of Illinois are active in providing public services — such as road maintenance, after-school care, senior services — whereas townships in southern Illinois delegate these services to the county. Most townships in Illinois provide services such as snow removal, senior transportation, emergency services to households residing in unincorporated parts of the county; the townships in Illinois each have a township board, whose board members were called township trustees, a single township supervisor. In contrast, civil townships in Indiana are operated in a consistent manner statewide and tend to be well organized, with each served by a single township trustee and a three-member board.
Civil townships in these states are not incorporated, nearby cities may annex land in adjoining townships with relative ease. In Michigan, general law townships are corporate entities, some can become reformulated as charter townships, a status intended to protect against annexation from nearby municipalities and which grants the township some home rule powers similar to cities. In Wisconsin, civil townships are known as "towns" rather than townships, but they function the same as in neighboring states. In Minnesota, state statute refers to such entities as towns yet requires them to have a name in the form "Name Township". In both documents and conversation, "town" and "township" are used interchangeably. Minnesota townships can be either Non-Urban or Urban, but this is not reflected in the township's name. In Ohio, a city or village is overlaid onto a township unless it withdraws by establishing a paper township. Where the paper township does not extend to the city limits, property owners pay taxes for both the township and municipality, though these overlaps are sometimes overlooked by mistake.
Ten other states allow townships and municipalities to overlap. In Kansas, some civil townships provide services such as road maintenance and fire protection services not provided by the county. In New England, the states are subdivided into towns, which are functioning municipal corporations that provide most local services. While counties exist in New England, for the most part they serve as dividing lines for state judicial systems. With the exception of a few remote areas of New Hampshire and Maine, every square foot of New England lies within the borders of an incorporated town. New England has cities, most of which are towns whose residents have voted to replace the town meeting form of government with a city form. In portions of New Hampshire and Maine, county subdivisions that are not incorporated are referred to as townships, or by other terms such as "gore", "grant", "location", "plantation", or "purchase". In New York, counties are further subdivided into towns and cities, the principal forms of local government.
Towns fulfill a function similar to those of townships in other states. As is the case in most of New England, every square foot of New York's territory is incorporated. New York towns contain one or more incorporated villages, village residents pay both town and village taxes. Towns include a number of unincorporated hamlets. A Pennsylvania township is a unit of local government, responsible for services such as police departments, local road and street maintenance, it acts the same as a borough. Townships were established based on convenient geographical boundaries and vary in size from six to fifty-two square miles. A New Jersey township is similar, in that it is a form of municipal government equal in status to a village, borough, or city, provides similar services to a Pennsylvania township. In the South, outside cities and towns there is no local government other than the county. North Carolina is no exception to that rule, but it does have townships as minor geographical subdivisions of counties, including
The Loop, one of Chicago's 77 designated community areas, is the central business district in the downtown area of the city. It is home to Chicago's commercial core, City Hall, the seat of Cook County. Bounded on the north and west by the Chicago River, on the east by Lake Michigan, on the south by Roosevelt Road, it is the second largest commercial business district in the United States after Midtown Manhattan and contains the headquarters of many locally and globally important businesses as well as many of Chicago's most famous attractions. In what is now the Loop, on the south bank of the Chicago River near today's Michigan Avenue Bridge, the United States Army erected Fort Dearborn in 1803, the first settlement in the area sponsored by the United States. In the late nineteenth century cable car turnarounds and a prominent elevated railway encircled the area, giving the Loop its name. Around the same time some of the world's earliest skyscrapers were constructed in the area. In 1908, Chicago addresses were made uniform by naming the intersection of State Street and Madison Street in the Loop as the origin of the Chicago street grid.
Some believe the origin of the term Loop is derived from the cable car, those of two lines that shared a loop, constructed in 1882, bounded by Van Buren, Wabash and Lake. Other research has concluded that "the Loop" was not used as a proper noun until after the 1895–97 construction of the Union elevated railway loop. Fort Dearborn was established in the first American-backed settlement in the area; when Chicago was platted in 1830, it included what is now the Loop north of Madison Street and west of State Street. Except for the Fort Dearborn reservation and land reclaimed from Lake Michigan, the entirety of what is now the Loop was part of the Town of Chicago when it was incorporated in 1833 and the area was bustling by the end of the 1830s. Passenger lines reached seven Loop-area stations by the 1890s, with transfers from one to the other being a major business for taxi drivers prior to the advent of Amtrak in the 1970s and the majority of trains being concentrated at Chicago Union Station.
The construction of a streetcar loop in 1882 and the elevated railway loop in the 1890s gave the area its name and cemented its dominance in the city. Afterwards, suburbanization caused a decrease in the area's importance. Starting in the 1960s, the presence of an upscale shopping district caused the area's fortunes to increase; the area has long been a hub for architecture. The vast majority of the area was rebuilt quickly. In 1885 the Home Insurance Building considered the world's first skyscraper, was constructed, followed by the development of the Chicago school best exemplified by such buildings as the Rookery Building in 1888, the Monadnock Building in 1891, the Sullivan Center in 1899. From the 1890s to the 1940s, local aldermen "Bathhouse John" Coughlin and Michael "Hinky Dink" Kenna led the so-called "Gray Wolves" of Chicago, a notoriously corrupt group of aldermen, they hosted the First Ward Ball in the area at the Chicago Coliseum, an event that brought together various people of ill repute and by the time of its forced closure in 1909 raised over $50,000 a year for the aldermen.
Coughlin served from 1892 until his death in 1938. He was from the area and owned several bathhouses in it, although in his years he lived in the nearby Near South Side. Kenna served as alderman from 1897 to 1923, when he stepped down in favor of Coughlin when the number of aldermen per ward decreased from two to one, again from 1939 to 1943 upon Coughlin's death. Corruption in the area would continue throughout the 20th century. Subsequent aldermen John D'Arco Sr. and Fred Roti were accused of being fronts for the mob, the 1st ward was moved in 1992 from the Loop up north to its current position in West Town in an effort to stymie corruption, the Loop itself being dispersed across several wards. Loop architecture has been dominated by high-rises since early in its history. Notable buildings include the Home Insurance Building, considered the world's first skyscraper; some of the historic buildings in this district were instrumental in the development of towers. Chicago's street numbering system – dividing addresses into North, South and West quadrants originates in the Loop at the intersection of State Street and Madison Street.
This area abounds in shopping opportunities, including the Loop Retail Historic District, although it competes with the more upscale Magnificent Mile area to the north. It includes Chicago's former Marshall Field's department store location in the Marshall Field and Company Building. Chicago's Downtown Theatre District is found within this area, along with numerous restaurants and hotels. Chicago has a famous skyline which features many of the tallest buildings in the world as well as the Chicago Landmark Historic Michigan Boulevard District. Chicago's skyline is spaced out throughout the downtown area; the Willis Tower known as the Sears Tower, the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, stands in the western Loop in the heart of the city's f
Chicago the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,716,450, it is the most populous city in the Midwest. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area referred to as Chicagoland, the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States; the metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States, the fourth largest in North America and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area. Located on the shores of freshwater Lake Michigan, Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed and grew in the mid-nineteenth century. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed several square miles and left more than 100,000 homeless, the city made a concerted effort to rebuild; the construction boom accelerated population growth throughout the following decades, by 1900 Chicago was the fifth largest city in the world.
Chicago made noted contributions to urban planning and zoning standards, including new construction styles, the development of the City Beautiful Movement, the steel-framed skyscraper. Chicago is an international hub for finance, commerce, technology, telecommunications, transportation, it is the site of the creation of the first standardized futures contracts at the Chicago Board of Trade, which today is the largest and most diverse derivatives market gobally, generating 20% of all volume in commodities and financial futures. O'Hare International Airport is the one of the busiest airports in the world, the region has the largest number of U. S. highways and greatest amount of railroad freight. In 2012, Chicago was listed as an alpha global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, it ranked seventh in the entire world in the 2017 Global Cities Index; the Chicago area has one of the highest gross domestic products in the world, generating $680 billion in 2017. In addition, the city has one of the world's most diversified and balanced economies, not being dependent on any one industry, with no single industry employing more than 14% of the workforce.
Chicago's 58 million domestic and international visitors in 2018, made it the second most visited city in the nation, behind New York City's approximate 65 million visitors. The city ranked first place in the 2018 Time Out City Life Index, a global quality of life survey of 15,000 people in 32 cities. Landmarks in the city include Millennium Park, Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile, the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Campus, the Willis Tower, Grant Park, the Museum of Science and Industry, Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago's culture includes the visual arts, film, comedy and music jazz, soul, hip-hop and electronic dance music including house music. Of the area's many colleges and universities, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago are classified as "highest research" doctoral universities. Chicago has professional sports teams in each of the major professional leagues, including two Major League Baseball teams; the name "Chicago" is derived from a French rendering of the indigenous Miami-Illinois word shikaakwa for a wild relative of the onion, known to botanists as Allium tricoccum and known more as ramps.
The first known reference to the site of the current city of Chicago as "Checagou" was by Robert de LaSalle around 1679 in a memoir. Henri Joutel, in his journal of 1688, noted that the eponymous wild "garlic" grew abundantly in the area. According to his diary of late September 1687:...when we arrived at the said place called "Chicagou" which, according to what we were able to learn of it, has taken this name because of the quantity of garlic which grows in the forests in this region. The city has had several nicknames throughout its history such as the Windy City, Chi-Town, Second City, the City of the Big Shoulders, which refers to the city's numerous skyscrapers and high-rises. In the mid-18th century, the area was inhabited by a Native American tribe known as the Potawatomi, who had taken the place of the Miami and Sauk and Fox peoples; the first known non-indigenous permanent settler in Chicago was Jean Baptiste Point du Sable. Du Sable arrived in the 1780s, he is known as the "Founder of Chicago".
In 1795, following the Northwest Indian War, an area, to be part of Chicago was turned over to the United States for a military post by native tribes in accordance with the Treaty of Greenville. In 1803, the United States Army built Fort Dearborn, destroyed in 1812 in the Battle of Fort Dearborn and rebuilt; the Ottawa and Potawatomi tribes had ceded additional land to the United States in the 1816 Treaty of St. Louis; the Potawatomi were forcibly removed from their land after the Treaty of Chicago in 1833. On August 12, 1833, the Town of Chicago was organized with a population of about 200. Within seven years it grew to more than 4,000 people. On June 15, 1835, the first public land sales began with Edmund Dick Taylor as U. S. Receiver of Public Monies; the City of Chicago was incorporated on Saturday, March 4, 1837, for several decades was the world's fastest-growing city. As the site of the Chicago Portage, the city became an important transportation hub between the eastern and western United States.
Chicago's first railway and Chicago Union Railroad, the Illi
Rockford is a city in Winnebago County in the U. S. state of Illinois, in far northern Illinois. Located on the banks of the Rock River, Rockford is the county seat of Winnebago County; the largest city in Illinois outside of the Chicago metropolitan area, Rockford is the third-largest city in the state and the 171st most populous in the United States According to 2010 U. S. Census Data, the City of Rockford had a population of 152,871, with an outlying metropolitan area population of 348,360; the City of Rockford's population is 147,051 as of 2017, down 4.1% since 2010. Settled in the mid-1830s, the position of the city on the Rock River made its location strategic for industrial development. In the second half of the 19th century, Rockford was notable for its output of heavy machinery and tools. During the second half of the 20th century, Rockford struggled alongside many Rust Belt cities. Since the late 1990s, efforts in economic diversification have led to growth of automotive and healthcare industries, as well as the undertaking of various tourism and downtown revitalization efforts.
Nicknamed the Forest City, Rockford is presently known for various venues of cultural or historical significance, including Anderson Japanese Gardens, Klehm Arboretum, Tinker Swiss Cottage, the BMO Harris Bank Center, the Coronado Theatre, the Laurent House, the Burpee Museum of Natural History. Its contributions to music are noted in the Mendelssohn Club, the oldest music club in the nation, performers such as Phantom Regiment and Cheap Trick. Rockford traces its roots to 1834, as the combined settlements of Midway were founded on both banks of the Rock River. On the west bank, Germanicus Kent and Thatcher Blake founded Kentville. With the location of the Rock River equidistant between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River, the combined settlement derived the name "Midway". In 1836, Winnebago County was created, with Midway named as its county seat. In 1837, the village of Midway was renamed Rockford, highlighting a rocky river ford across the Rock River in the village; the same year, Rockford established its first post office.
In 1840, the first weekly newspaper began circulation. In 1847, Rockford Female Seminary was founded. In 1852, Rockford was chartered as a city. In 1852, the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad connected Rockford to Chicago by railroad. At the time of its founding, many of the village's residents were transplants from the Northeastern United States and upstate New York. Descended from English Puritans, the Midway/Rockford population was similar to much of the rest of northern Illinois and nearly all of Wisconsin during the mid-19th century. After the Black Hawk War, additional immigrants moved to northern Illinois. During the antebellum period, Rockford shared abolitionist leanings, lending considerable support to the Free Soil Party and the Republican Party. In 1848, 42 percent of voters in Winnebago County voted for Martin Van Buren. In 1852, Free Soil candidate John P. Hale became the first presidential candidate to visit Rockford, although he would only receive 28 percent of the vote. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln won 3,985 votes in Winnebago County to the 817 votes of Stephen A. Douglas.
The 1850s brought industry. In 1853, inventor John Henry Manny moved to Rockford to produce horse-drawn mechanical reapers for farmers and transport the finished products by rail. Chicago implement manufacturer Cyrus McCormick took Manny to court after he produced nearly 6,000 machines. Along with production of agricultural machines, Swedish furniture cooperatives established the city as a manufacturing base; the Rockford Union Furniture Company, under John Erlander, spearheaded these cooperatives. Today, Erlander's home is a Rockford museum that shows his efforts in elevating Rockford to second in furniture manufacturing in the nation, behind Grand Rapids. During the Civil War, one of the first Illinois regiments to be mobilized, the Zouaves, were from Rockford; the city served as the site for Camp Fuller, a training site for four other infantry regiments. In 1884, Rockford established its first city-wide public school district, constructing Rockford Central High School in 1885; the Rockford Female Seminary became the alma mater of Jane Addams in 1881.
This move accompanied the Seminary's transition into a more complete curriculum, represented by its renaming to Rockford College in 1892. Culture flourished with the founding of the Mendelssohn Club in 1884, which became the oldest operating music club in the United States; this was complemented by the construction of a Carnegie library in 1902, which became the first building of Rockford's public library system. 1903 saw the dedication of the Winnebago County Veterans Memorial Hall in the presence of sitting President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt returned to Rockford during his campaign in 1912 and again to address the soldiers at Camp Grant, a training site for World War I soldiers; the t
Hispanic and Latino Americans
Hispanic Americans and Latino Americans are Americans who are descendants of people from Spain and Latin America, respectively. More it includes all Americans who speak the Spanish language natively, who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino, whether of full or partial ancestry. For the 2010 United States Census, people counted as "Hispanic" or "Latino" were those who identified as one of the specific Hispanic or Latino categories listed on the census questionnaire as well as those who indicated that they were "other Spanish, Hispanic or Latino." The national origins classified as Hispanic or Latino by the United States Census Bureau are the following: Argentine, Colombian, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Costa Rican, Honduran, Panamanian, Bolivian, Spanish American, Ecuadorian, Peruvian and Venezuelan. Brazilian Americans, other Portuguese-speaking Latino groups, non-Spanish speaking Latino groups in the United States are defined as "Latino" by some U. S. government agencies. The Census Bureau uses the terms Hispanic and Latino interchangeably."Origin" can be viewed as the ancestry, nationality group, lineage or country of birth of the person or the person's parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States.
People who identify as Spanish, Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. As one of the only two designated categories of ethnicity in the United States, Hispanics form a pan-ethnicity incorporating a diversity of inter-related cultural and linguistic heritages. Most Hispanic Americans are of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Salvadoran, Guatemalan or Colombian origin; the predominant origin of regional Hispanic populations varies in different locations across the country. Hispanic Americans are the second fastest-growing ethnic group by percentage growth in the United States after Asian Americans. Hispanic/Latinos overall are the second-largest ethnic group in the United States, after non-Hispanic whites. Hispanics have lived within what is now the United States continuously since the founding of St. Augustine by the Spanish in 1565. After Native Americans, Hispanics are the oldest ethnic group to inhabit much of what is today the United States. Many have Native American ancestry. Spain colonized large areas of what is today the American Southwest and West Coast, as well as Florida.
Its holdings included present-day California, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas, all of which were part of the Republic of Mexico from its independence in 1821 until the end of the Mexican–American War in 1848. Conversely, Hispanic immigrants to the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area derive from a broad spectrum of Latin American states. A study published in 2015 in the American Journal of Human Genetics, based on 23andMe data from 8,663 self-described Latinos, estimated that Latinos in the United States carried a mean of 65.1% European ancestry, 18.0% Native American ancestry, 6.2% African ancestry. The study found that self-described Latinos from the Southwest those along the Mexican border, had the highest mean levels of Native American ancestry; the terms "Hispanic" and "Latino" refer to an ethnicity. Hispanic people may share some commonalities in their language, culture and heritage. According to the Smithsonian Institution, the term "Latino" includes peoples with Portuguese roots, such as Brazilians, as well as those of Spanish-language origin.
In the United States, many Hispanics and Latinos are of both Native American ancestry. Others are predominantly of European ancestry or of Amerindian ancestry. Many Hispanics and Latinos from the Caribbean, as well as other regions of Latin America where African slavery was widespread, may be of sub-Saharan African descent as well; the difference between the terms Hispanic and Latino is confusing to some. The U. S. Census Bureau equates the two terms and defines them as referring to anyone from Spain and the Spanish-speaking countries of the Americas. After the Mexican–American War concluded in 1848, term Hispanic or Spanish American was used to describe the Hispanos of New Mexico within the American Southwest; the 1970 United States Census controversially broadened the definition to "a person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race". This is now the common formal and colloquial definition of the term within the United States, outside of New Mexico.
The term Latino has developed a number of definitions. One definition of Latino is "a Latin male in the United States"; this is the oldest and the original definition used in the United States, first used in 1946. This definition encompasses Spanish speakers from both Europe and the Americas. Under this definition, immigrants from Spain and immigrants from Latin America are both Latino; this definition is consistent with the 21st-century usage by the U. S. Census Bureau and OMB, as the two agencies use Latino interchangeably. A definition of Latino is as a condensed form of the term "Latino-Americano", the Spanish word for Latin-American, or someone who comes from Latin America. Under this definition a Mexican American or Puerto Rican, for example, is both a Hispanic and a Latino. A Brazilian American is a Latino by this definition, which includes those of Portuguese-speaking origin from Latin America. However, an immigrant from Spain would be classified as European or White by American sta
White Americans are Americans who are descendants from any of the white racial groups of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa or in census statistics, those who self-report as white based on having majority-white ancestry. White Americans constitute the historical and current majority of the people living in the United States, with 72% of the population in the 2010 United States Census. Non-Hispanic whites totaled about 197,285,202 or 60.7% of the U. S. population. European Americans are the largest ethnic group of White Americans and constitute the historical population of the United States since the nation's founding; the United States Census Bureau defines white people as those "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa." Like all official U. S. racial categories, "White" has a "not Hispanic or Latino" and a "Hispanic or Latino" component, the latter consisting of White Mexican Americans and White Cuban Americans. The term "Caucasian" is synonymous with "white", although the latter is sometimes used to denote skin tone instead of race.
Some of the non-European ethnic groups classified as white by the U. S. Census, such as Arab Americans, Jewish Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, may not identify as or may not be perceived to be, white; the largest ancestries of American whites are: German Americans, Irish Americans, English Americans, Italian Americans, French Americans, Polish Americans, Scottish Americans, Scotch-Irish Americans, Dutch Americans, Norwegian Americans and Swedish Americans. However, the English Americans and British Americans demography is considered a serious under-count as the stock tend to self-report and identify as "Americans", due to the length of time they have inhabited the United States if their family arrived prior to the American Revolution; the vast majority of white Americans have ancestry from multiple countries. Definitions of, "White" have changed throughout the history of the United States; the term "White American" can encompass many different ethnic groups. Although the United States Census purports to reflect a social definition of race, the social dimensions of race are more complex than Census criteria.
The 2000 U. S. census states that racial categories "generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country. They do not conform to any biological, anthropological or genetic criteria."The Census question on race lists the categories White or European American, Black or African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, plus "Some other race", with the respondent having the ability to mark more than one racial and or ethnic category. The Census Bureau defines White people as follows: "White" refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa, it includes people who indicated their race as "White" or reported entries such as German, Lebanese, Moroccan, or Caucasian. In U. S. census documents, the designation White overlaps, as do all other official racial categories, with the term Hispanic or Latino, introduced in the 1980 census as a category of ethnicity and independent of race.
Hispanic and Latino Americans as a whole make up a racially diverse group and as a whole are the largest minority in the country. The characterization of Middle Eastern and North African Americans as white has been a matter of controversy. In the early 20th century, peoples of Arab descent were sometimes denied entry into the United States because they were characterized as nonwhite. In 1944, the law changed, Middle Eastern and North African peoples were granted white status; the U. S. Census is revisiting the issue, considering creating a separate racial category for Middle Eastern and North African Americans in the 2020 Census. In cases where individuals do not self-identify, the U. S. census parameters for race give each national origin a racial value. Additionally, people who reported Muslim, Zoroastrian, or Caucasian as their "race" in the "Some other race" section, without noting a country of origin, are automatically tallied as White; the US Census considers the write-in response of "Caucasian" or "Aryan" to be a synonym for White in their ancestry code listing.
In the contemporary United States anyone of European descent is considered White. However, many of the non-European ethnic groups classified as White by the U. S. Census, such as Arab Americans, Jewish Americans, Hispanics or Latinos may not identify as, may not be perceived to be, White; the definition of White has changed over the course of American history. Among Europeans, those not considered White at some point in American history include Italians, Spaniards, Swedes and Russians. Early on in the United States, membership in the white race was limited to those of British, Germanic, or Nordic ancestry. David R. Roediger argues that the construction of the white race in the United States was an effort to mentally distance slave owners from slaves; the process of being defined as white by law came about in court disputes over pursuit of citizenship. Critical race theory developed in the 1970s and 1980s, influenced by the language of critical legal studies, which challenged concepts such as objective truth and judicial neutrality, by critical theory.
Academics and activists disillusioned with the outcomes of the Civil Rights Movement pointed out that though African Americans enjoyed legal equality, white Americans continued to hold disproportionate power and still had superior living standards