Non-Hispanic whites (also referred to as Anglo Americans) are European Americans, Middle Eastern Americans, and North African Americans as defined by the United States Census Bureau.
Americans of European ancestry represent ethnic groups that combined account for more than half of the share of the white population are German, Irish, Scottish and English.
In the United States, this population was first derived from English (and, to a lesser degree, French) settlement of the Americas, as well as settlement by other Europeans such as the Germans and Dutch that began in the 17th century (see History of the United States). Continued growth since the early 19th century is attributed to sustained very high birth rates alongside relatively low death rates among settlers and natives alike as well as periodically massive immigration from European countries, especially Germany, Ireland, England, Italy, Greece, Sweden and Norway, as well as Poland, Russia, and many more countries. It typically refers to an English-speaking American in distinction to Spanish speakers in Mexico and the Southwestern states; German speakers (Amish) in North Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania; and French speakers in New England, and Louisiana.
In 2011, for the first time in U.S. history, non-Hispanic whites accounted for under half of the births in the country, with 49.6% of total births. Over 50% of children under age one have at least one parent of color. Between 2015 and 2016 for the first time in American history the population of non-Hispanic whites declined by 0.005% and then declined by 0.016% between 2016 and 2017 to a historically low proportion of 60.7%. Between 2042 and 2045, the United States is projected to be a majority minority nation and by 2060 the white population will decline by roughly 16.1 million.
In 2016, white births rebounded to a majority of all births, this coincides with a rapid decline of fertility amidst non-whites since 2008, compared to a modest decline in white fertility. During the 2008-16 period, a decline in Hispanic fertility led to nearly 19% of the babies that would have been born from 2008–16, or about 2.2 million births, being wiped out. Non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites suffered 9.6% and 9.3% declines, respectively, in fertility by comparison.
HistoryThe first non-Hispanic whites who came to North America were Norse explorers around the year 1000, however they ultimately were absorbed and killed off, leaving no permanent settlements behind. Later, pilgrims and colonists came in the 1600s along the east coast, mainly from England, in search of economic opportunities and religious freedom. Over time emigrants from Europe settled the coastal regions developing a commercial economy. Between one-half and two-thirds of white immigrants to the American colonies between the 1630s and American Revolution had come as indentured servants. The total number of European immigrants to all 13 colonies before 1775 was about 500,000; of these 55,000 were involuntary prisoners. Of the 450,000 or so European arrivals who came voluntarily, an estimated 48% were indentured.
By the time of American Revolution there were about 2.5 million whites in the colonies. The white population was largely of English, German, Irish, Scotch-Irish and French Huguenot descent at the time. Between the revolution and the 1820s there was relatively little immigration to the U.S. Starting after the 1820s large scale migration to the U.S began and lasted until the 1920s. Many of the newcomers were of Irish, Italian, and Polish descent which lead to a nativist backlash. Some Americans worried about the growing Catholic population and wanted to maintain America as an Anglo Saxon Protestant nation. Over the course of the 19th and early 20th century European mass emigration to the United States and high birthrates grew the white population. After the American Revolution white Americans settled the entire nation west of Appalachian Mountains, ultimately displacing the natives and populating the entire country by the late 19th century. All immigration to the US declined markedly between the mid 1920s until the 1960s due to a combination of immigration laws, The Great Depression, and The Second World War. Waves of Jewish, Syrian, and Lebanese immigration also occurred around this time.
Since 1965 white migration to the U.S has been relatively minor compared to other racial and ethnic groups. During the 1990s there was a moderate increase from former communist countries in Eastern Europe. At the same time birthrates amongst whites have fallen below replacement level.
White Americans have developed their own music, art, cuisine, fashion, and political economy largely based on a combination of traditional European ones. Most religious white Americans are Christian. Many Europeans often Anglicized their names and over time most Europeans adopted English as their primary language and intermarried with other white groups.
Population stagnation and declineThe falling percentage of non-Hispanic white Americans is due to multiple factors:
1. Immigration. The U.S. has the largest number of immigrants in the world with the vast majority coming from countries where the population is of non-white and/or Hispanic origin. Immigration to the U.S. from European countries has been in a steady decline since World War II averaging 56% of all immigrants in the 1950s and declining to 35% of all immigrants in the 1960s, 20% in the 1970s, 11% in the 1980s, 14% in the 1990s, and 13% in the 2000s. In 2009, approximately 90% of all immigrants came from non-European countries. The U.S. does receive a small number of non-Hispanic white immigrants, mainly from countries such as Brazil, Canada, Poland, Russia, and the UK.
2. Intermarriage. The USA is seeing an unprecedented increase in intermarriage between the various racial and ethnic groups. In 2008, a record 14.6% of all new marriages in the United States were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity from one another. 9% of non-Hispanic whites who married in 2008 married either a non-white or Hispanic. Among all newlyweds in 2008, intermarried pairings were primarily white-Hispanic of any race (41%) as compared to white-Asian (15%), white-black (11%), and other combinations (33%). Other combinations consists of pairings between different minority groups, multi-racial people, and Native Indigenous Americans. The children of such unions would not automatically be classified as white non-Hispanic. Note that one self-identifies his or her racial and/or ethnic category.
3. Methodology. In the 2000 Census, people were allowed to check more than one race in addition to choosing "Hispanic." There was strong opposition to this from some civil rights activists who feared that this would reduce the size of various racial minorities. The government responded by counting those who are white and of one minority race or ethnicity as minorities for the purposes of civil-rights monitoring and enforcement. Hence one could be 1/8th black and still be counted as a minority. Also, because this does not apply to Hispanic origin (one is either Hispanic or not, but cannot be both Hispanic and non-Hispanic), the offspring of Hispanics and non-Hispanics are usually counted as Hispanic. In 2017, the Pew Research Center reported that high intermarriage rates and declining Latin American immigration has led to 11% of U.S. adults with Hispanic ancestry (5.0 million people) to no longer identify as Hispanic. First generation immigrants from Spain and Latin America identify as Hispanic at very high rates (97%) which reduces in each succeeding generation, second generation (92%), third generation (77%), and fourth generation (50%).
4. Attrition. Minority populations are younger than non-Hispanic whites. The national median age in 2011 was 37.3 with non-Hispanic whites having the oldest median age (42.3) while Hispanics have the youngest (27.6). Non-Hispanic blacks (32.9) and non-Hispanic Asians (35.9) also are younger than whites. In 2013, the Census Bureau reported that for the first time, due to the more advanced age profile of the non-Hispanic white population, non-Hispanic whites died at a faster rate than non-Hispanic white births.
Although non-Hispanic whites are declining as a percentage, in actual numbers they have still been growing. From 2000 - 2010 the non-Hispanic white population grew from 194,552,774 to 196,817,552. This was a growth of 1.2% over the 10-year period, due to residual population momentum.
Population by settlementIn 2012, in 37 out of the 50 U.S. states non-Hispanic whites made up a greater percentage of the state's population than the U.S. overall share of 62.8%; however, the 13 states with greater shares of non-whites include the four most populous states (California, Texas, New York, and Florida). Also, note that while the total non-Hispanic white population has grown since 2000 in 36 out of the 50 states, the relative share of non-Hispanic whites in the overall state population has declined in all 50 states during that same time period.
As of 2016, five states are majority minority: Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Texas, and Nevada.