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American Diversity

A Demographic Challenge for the Twenty-first Century

Nancy A. Denton, Stewart E. Tolnay

Publication Year: 2002

Presenting important work by well-known demographers, American Diversity focuses on U.S. population changes in the twenty-first century, emphasizing the nation’s increasing racial and ethnic diversity. Rather than focusing on separate groups sequentially, this work emphasizes comparisons across groups and highlights how demographic and social structural processes affect all groups. Specific topics covered include the formation of race and ethnicity; population projections by race; immigration, fertility, and mortality differentials; segregation; work and education; intermarriage; aging; and racism.

Published by: State University of New York Press

American Diversity

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pp. v-vi

List of Figures

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pp. vii-viii

List of Tables

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pp. ix-xii

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pp. xiii-xiv

The completion of this volume would not have been possible without the support of many people. First and foremost, we thank the contributors themselves. They not only generously gave their time and expertise to prepare and revise their chapters, but they also waited with superhuman patience as the editors slowly shepherded the book to completion. ...

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Introduction: Multicultural Insights from the Study of Demography

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pp. 1-22

Today, the United States, as a nation, is engaging in many discussions of its population diversity.1 Nowhere is this trend more prominent than on college campuses, where discussions about what should be taught have resulted in what one observer has called “PC panic.”(Gitlin, 1996:177). While these discussions do allow different opinions to be aired, and sometimes serve to...

Part I: Population: The Initial Numbers

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1. The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity: Some Examples from Demography

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pp. 25-50

The social construction of race and ethnicity is a taken-for-granted premise of much of current thinking and research about ethnicity. However, the fact that ethnicity and race are socially constructed is often not factored into demographic and other quantitative research, and is often at odds with the ways in which ethnicity is conceptualized in everyday life. In this chapter I...

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2. Race and Ethnic Population Projections: A Critical Evaluation of Their Content and Meaning

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pp. 51-72

In recent years, the U.S. Census Bureau has added racial and Hispanic-origin populations as part of the standard projections of the American population to the middle of the Twenty-first century. Some of the numbers in these ethnic population projections have stimulated considerable popular interest ...

Part II: Basic Demographic Processes and Diversity

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3. The New Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States

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pp. 75-98

As anyone who walks the streets of America’s largest cities knows, there has been a profound transformation of immigration to the United States. Not only are there more immigrants, but increasingly they also speak languages and bear cultures that are quite different than those brought by European immigrants in the past. The rapidity of the change and the scale of the ...

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4. Racial and Ethnic Fertility Differentials in the United States

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pp. 99-128

The racial and ethnic composition of the U.S. population is changing. This is “old news” that demographers have been delivering for some time now, but their message has been largely understood in terms of the high volume of immigration from Latin America and Asia during the last two decades. The contribution of differential childbearing patterns across racial ...

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5. Mortality Differentials in a Diverse Society

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pp. 129-156

This chapter explores ethnic differences in mortality. It begins by providing a general framework from which to examine mortality. It then reveals mortality variations both among and within ethnic groups. Finally, it uncovers some of the factors that lead to these differences. ...

Part III: Life Cycle and Diversity

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6. Housing Segregation: Policy Issues for an Increasingly Diverse Society

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pp. 159-184

There is a well-known maxim in sociology, first attributed to the gifted sociologist and newspaperman of the Chicago School, Robert Park, that “Spatial distance reflects social distance.” For that reason, countless sociologists over the decades have examined patterns of population distribution, redistribution, and residential segregation as windows on the social structure of American ...

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7. Education and Employment in a Diverse Society: Generating Inequality through the School-to-Work Transition

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pp. 185-220

The transition from school to work represents a defining feature of the early life course. An assumption pervading the literature on youth employment is that early labor market activity is desirable, both because it signals youth’s awareness of adult activities and because these experiences may provide youth with valuable information about the likely consequences of ...

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8. Ethnic and Racial Intermarriage in the United States: Old and New Regimes

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pp. 221-242

In 1964, Gordon outlined seven different processes of ethnic and racial assimilation: cultural, structural, marital, identificational, attitude receptional, behavior receptional, and civic (Gordon, 1964). He considered marital assimilation - ethnic and racial intermarriage - to lead inevitably to identificational assimilation, i.e., the loss of the group’s separate identity. ...

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9. Sixty-five Plus in the U.S.A.

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pp. 243-258

Diversity and growth—those are two words that describe America’s elderly population. We tend to say “the elderly” as if they were all the same. But they are not. In 1990, there were over 31 million elderly Americans, people aged 65 or older. By 2000 the elderly numbered 35 million. The experience of aging is different for different groups. Elderly men and women tend to have...

Part IV: Implications and Conclusions

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10. Rethinking American Diversity: Conceptual and Theoretical Challenges for Racial and Ethnic Demography

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pp. 261-278

The increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the United States raises many issues for demographers and for society in general. Racial and ethnic identification, accurate enumeration, and cultural adaptation are clearly important topics that demographers have been addressing over the last two decades. However, one issue that has not been fully addressed is racism in the...


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pp. 279-280

Name Index

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pp. 281-286

Subject Index

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pp. 287-303

E-ISBN-13: 9780791488539
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791453971
Print-ISBN-10: 0791453979

Page Count: 303
Illustrations: 40 figures
Publication Year: 2002

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Population -- Congresses.
  • Minorities -- United States -- Social conditions -- Congresses.
  • Ethnicity -- United States -- Congresses.
  • United States -- Ethnic relations -- Congresses.
  • United States -- Race relations -- Congresses.
  • Cultural pluralism -- Congresses.
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