The Demography of Race and Ethnicity in the United States

  • Jenifer L. Bratter
Part of the International Handbooks of Population book series (IHOP, volume 4)


The 2008 election of Barack Obama, the nation‘s first non-white president, brought forth a barrage of attempts to identify the root causes of the election. Were we moving into a―post-racial phase of American race relationships? Or was this a demographic phenomenon, driven by the infusion of new, largely young voters who were more racially and ethnically diverse than voting populations had been in the past. One indicator that this was a by-product of demographic changes was the fact that while Obama had won handedly, he had done so with only 55 % of the White vote. Indeed, the voting population had―changed color in demographic terms, suggesting a new social significance of an increasingly diverse population. This chapter aims to bring into focus some of the core themes of the United States race/ethnic demography. Since 2000, there has been a veritable explosion of edited volumes, books, and articles that provide comprehensive overviews of race/ethnicity. Trends from the 2010 Census are likely to produce as many volumes to document the changes. This chapter aims to provide an overview of much of that work and provide a few key updates in those trends. Therefore race/ethnic demography is centered on understanding three thematic issues, the ever-changing population composition by race/ethnicity, indicators of racial inequality, the complexity of race/ethnic identity.


Racial Difference Racial Identity American Community Survey Racial Inequality American Indian Population 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyRice UniversityHoustonUSA

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