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  • Atlas of Race, Ancestry, and Religion in 21st Century Florida by Morton D. Winsberg
  • Ira M. Sheskin
Atlas of Race, Ancestry, and Religion in 21st Century Florida. Morton D. Winsberg. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 2006. 125pp. maps, photographs, tables $29.93 cloth (ISBN:0-8130-2929-5).

This brief atlas does for Florida what Allen and Turner’s (1988) We the People atlas did for the entire United States: present a cartographic description of ethnic diversity. In fact, according to the ethnic geography chapter in Geography in America at the Dawn of the 21st Century (Gaile and Willmott, 2006), only one state-level ethnic atlas (Zaniewski and Rosen, 1999) existed prior to Winsberg’s volume.

It is not surprising that Florida is one of only two states with such an atlas. Florida is now the fourth largest state in population and is known for its ethnic diversity. For 31 ancestry groups (mostly Hispanic groups), Florida has the largest or second largest population concentration in the nation. About 20% of the population was born outside the United States.

Social scientists and others interested in race, ethnicity, religion or the demography of Florida, owe a debt of gratitude to Winsberg for this outstanding work. Morton Winsberg is an emeritus professor of geography at Florida State University, has lived in Florida for decades, and has published extensively on various aspects of Florida’s human and physical geography. His vast experience is evidenced in this excellent work. The goal of this volume is to provide a description of the geographical distribution of Florida’s population groups. This goal is well met.

While the book concentrates on the diversity of Florida’s population in 2000, Chapter 1 presents a brief history of the population of Florida. It begins with the colonial period, when the Europeans (Spanish and then British) replaced the native population, and it continues through the Antebellum Period when Florida became a territory (1821) and then a State [End Page 367] (1845), and the population was mostly concentrated in the northern counties. After the Civil War, the population spread south and became even more ethnically diverse. The post-World War II era describes the arrival of the Hispanic (particularly Cuban) population, as well as European immigrants, who had first settled in the Northeast. This chapter provides an excellent historical framework for understanding current ethnic geography.

Chapter 2 addresses the issue of race and ancestry in Florida at the state and county levels, relying on data from the short and long form of the 2000 United States Census. In addition to maps by race and Hispanic/Non-Hispanic, about 80 ancestry groups with 5,000 or more members are mapped, ranging from the 5,106 persons of Nigerian ancestry, to the 1,291,500 persons of German ancestry. It is in the mapping of these groups that Winsberg develops an interesting methodology. Typically, maps displaying ethnic data show either: (1) the percentage of Group X who lives in County Y, or (2) the percentage of County Y’s population that is comprised of Group X. Because most Floridians live in one of four metropolitan areas, maps constructed using the first method would show that, for most groups, the vast majority are concentrated in one of the four large metropolitan areas. Using the second method would show that for many groups, Group X is a very tiny percentage of every county. Instead, Wins-berg develops a “quotient” that represents the extent to which Group X is over represented in a particular County, compared to its proportion of the State’s population. Thus, for example, one of the maps tells us that Duval County (Jacksonville) has at least triple the percentage of Filipinos, compared to their percentage in the Florida population (0.3%). While this is an interesting and useful approach, note that, because of this, the reader does not know approximately how many Filipinos live in Duval County nor whether Duval County has more Filipinos than any other Florida county.

After a very brief history of religion in Florida in Chapter 3, Chapter 4 presents data on 23 religious denominations, based upon the same data available from the Glenmary...


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