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American People, The

American People, The: Census 2000

Copyright Date: 2005
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 372
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    American People, The
    Book Description:

    For more than 200 years, America has turned to the decennial census to answer questions about itself. More than a mere head count, the census is the authoritative source of information on where people live, the types of families they establish, how they identify themselves, the jobs they hold, and much more. The latest census, taken at the cusp of the new millennium, gathered more information than ever before about Americans and their lifestyles.The American People, edited by respected demographers Reynolds Farley and John Haaga, provides a snapshot of those findings that is at once analytically rich and accessible to readers at all levels.

    The American Peopleaddresses important questions about national life that census data are uniquely able to answer. Mary Elizabeth Hughes and Angela O'Rand compare the educational attainment, economic achievement, and family arrangements of the baby boom cohort with those of preceding generations. David Cotter, Joan Hermsen, and Reeve Vanneman find that, unlike progress made in previous decades, the 1990s were a time of stability-and possibly even retrenchment-with regard to gender equality. Sonya Tafoya, Hans Johnson, and Laura Hill examine a new development for the census in 2000: the decision to allow people to identify themselves by more than one race. They discuss how people form multiracial identities and dissect the racial and ethnic composition of the roughly seven million Americans who chose more than one racial classification. Former Census Bureau director Kenneth Prewitt discusses the importance of the census to democratic fairness and government efficiency, and notes how the high stakes accompanying the census count (especially the allocation of Congressional seats and federal funds) have made the census a lightening rod for criticism from politicians.

    The census has come a long way since 1790, when U.S. Marshals setout on horseback to count the population. Today, it holds a wealth of information about who we are, where we live, what we do, and how much we have changed.The American Peopleprovides a rich, detailed examination of the trends that shape our lives and paints a comprehensive portrait of the country we live in today.

    A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-200-8
    Subjects: Population Studies, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-xiv)
    Reynolds Farley and John Haaga

    The Framers of the Constitution faced challenging problems about how to allocate representation in Congress, how to levy taxes—this was long before the days of an income tax—and how to deal with slaves when counting the population. Recognizing that if census taking were left to the individual states, the results might be uneven, they mandated that Congress take a census within three years and then every ten years thereafter. As a result, this nation’s continuous history of census taking, dating from 1790, is the longest worldwide.

    The leaders of the fragile new nation believed that the United States...


    • CHAPTER 1 Politics and Science in Census Taking
      (pp. 3-46)
      Kenneth Prewitt

      Mention the word “census,” and what comes to mind is a dull counting project that the government carries out from time to time. Ask why a census is taken, and most Americans will vaguely reply that the government seems to need all these numbers. A few might add that it has something to do with who goes to Congress and even with how federal monies are spent.

      Not many Americans know that the census is required by the Constitution and that since 1787 it has protected basic democratic principles. Many will be surprised to hear that there is an intense...


    • Chapter 2 Diverging Fortunes: Trends in Poverty and Inequality
      (pp. 49-75)
      Sheldon Danziger and Peter Gottschalk

      Following World War II, the American economy experienced a quarter-century of sustained economic growth, rising real wages, and low unemployment rates. The benefits of this prosperity were widely shared among most of the poor, the middle class, and the wealthy. But even though poverty had fallen rapidly from the late 1940s to the early 1960s, popular authors and economic analysts raised concerns in the late 1950s and early 1960s that many families—especially those headed by less—educated workers, minorities, and women—were not benefiting much from the prosperous economy.¹ These observers called for government to target policies and programs...

    • Chapter 3 Women, Men, and Work
      (pp. 76-106)
      Liana C. Sayer, Philip N. Cohen and Lynne M. Casper

      In 1997, Robert Reich made what he described as one of the most painful decisions of his life. He resigned from his job as the U.S. Secretary of Labor. Why? He wanted to spend more time at his other job: being a good dad to his two teenage boys in Boston.

      Two years earlier and a quarter of the way around the globe, Penny Hughes, then president of Coca-Cola U.K. and Ireland, resigned from her job to care for her two young sons and pursue other interests.

      These two examples represent choices made by two people at the pinnacle of...

    • Chapter 4 Gender Inequality at Work
      (pp. 107-138)
      David A. Cotter, Joan M. Hermsen and Reeve Vanneman

      A cigarette advertising slogan of the 1980s targeting women proclaimed: “You’ve come a long way, baby.” By all accounts, this slogan is true. The transformation of men’s and women’s work roles stands out among the many technological, economic, social, and cultural changes in the last half of the 20th century. In 1950, only a small number of women (29 percent) worked outside the home; but in 2000, nearly three-quarters of women did. In 1950, women who were employed worked in a relative handful of nearly exclusively female occupations; but by 2000, women worked in nearly the entire spectrum of occupations....

    • Chapter 5 Cohorts and Socioeconomic Progress
      (pp. 139-166)
      Dowell Myers

      How best can we measure socioeconomic progress across decades? Why do many of us worry that young adults are failing to match the progress of their parents, or that immigrants are failing to get ahead in America? Often, two different dimensions of progress are at play. On the one hand, people typically achieve progress in their socioeconomic status as they move through their careers. At the same time, society progresses as each generation exceeds the achievements of its predecessors. The picture is often confused by skewed averages, however, when a major shift occurs in the makeup of society because there...


    • Chapter 6 Marriage and Family in a Multiracial Society
      (pp. 169-200)
      Daniel T. Lichter and Zhenchao Qian

      Today’s American family is hard to define. The so-called “traditional family”—working husband, his stay-at-home wife, and their children—represents only a small fraction of all American households. In “Leave It to Beaver,” the popular late-1950s television show, the Cleaver family—Ward and June and their children Wally and Theodore (“the Beaver”)—epitomized the American dream of economic success, a happy marriage, loving parents, respectful children, a nice house in the suburbs, and a big car in the garage. But the Cleaver family model represents only about 10 percent of all households today. The most popular television shows in recent...

    • Chapter 7 Trends in the Well-Being of America’s Children
      (pp. 201-223)
      William P. O’Hare

      The old African greeting, “How are the children?,” reflects the extent to which a society’s health is often based on the condition of its children. The well-being of children reflects the functioning of institutions responsible for the care of children, such as families, communities, schools, and social welfare agencies.

      It is important to assess the trends in the well-being of America’s children because today’s children represent the next generation of American adults. Childhood conditions and experiences are clearly linked to well-being in later life in terms of health, educational attainment, and employment.¹ Consequently, how today’s children are being cared for...

    • Chapter 8 The Lives and Times of the Baby Boomers
      (pp. 224-256)
      Mary Elizabeth Hughes and Angela M. O’Rand

      In the late 1940s, after several decades of declining births, the United States experienced a surprising and dramatic increase in fertility rates. Even more surprising, high birth rates continued until the mid-1960s, after which they dropped sharply. The large number of births in these years, combined with lower numbers immediately before and after, produced a birth cohort substantially larger than the preceding and subsequent cohorts—what we now know as the baby boom.

      The first thing that comes to the minds of most Americans when the baby boom is mentioned is its sheer size. As the boomers moved through childhood,...


    • Chapter 9 Immigration and a Changing America
      (pp. 259-301)
      Mary M. Kritz and Douglas T. Gurak

      Immigration has deep roots in American history and continues to be a dynamic force in reshaping America. People from many nations helped America settle and expand its frontiers, build its industrial complex and service economy, and become the leading economic and military power in the world.

      The United States is now in the midst of its fourth immigration wave. In the 1990s, the foreign-born population increased by 57 percent and reached 31 million in 2000. If this population lived in a single country, it would be larger than the population of Canada; larger than the combined populations of Austria, Denmark,...

    • Chapter 10 Immigration and Fading Color Lines in America
      (pp. 302-331)
      Frank D. Bean, Jennifer Lee, Jeanne Batalova and Mark Leach

      In 1965, after 40 years of relatively low immigration, Congress passed the Hart-Celler Act, eliminating national origin quotas and reopening the nation’s doors to increased flows of immigrants. One of the most dramatic and ongoing consequences of this legislation has been the diversification of the racial and ethnic landscape of the United States, a shift that has occurred for two primary reasons. First, immigrants coming to the United States over the past three to four decades, unlike those who arrived in the early years of the 20th century, have been mainly non-Europeans. During the 1980s and 1990s, for example, more...

    • Chapter 11 Who Chooses to Choose Two?
      (pp. 332-351)
      Sonya M. Tafoya, Hans Johnson and Laura E. Hill

      Prior to Census 2000, most Americans were accustomed to selecting a single racial response on state and federal forms. But with an ever more racially diverse population and an increasing rate of intermarriage, the U.S. Census Bureau created a new format for the race question on the 2000 Census: Respondents could now mark one or more races. This change was welcomed by some as an overdue acknowledgement of their multiracial identity and criticized by others who feared its consequences.

      In the 1990 Census, even though the instructions indicated that only one box should be checked, almost half a million people...

    • Chapter 12 Latinos and the Changing Face of America
      (pp. 352-379)
      Rogelio Saenz

      Over the last 100 years, few racial or ethnic groups have had as great an impact on the demography of the United States as Latinos. In 1900, there were only slightly more than 500,000 Latinos.¹ Today, the national Latino population numbers more than 35 million and represents one of the most dynamic and diverse racial/ethnic groups in the United States.

      The most dramatic impact of the Latino population on the demography of the nation has taken place over the last few decades. The number of Latinos in the United States more than doubled between 1980 and 2000, accounting for 40...

    • Chapter 13 African Americans and the Color Line
      (pp. 380-414)
      Michael A. Stoll

      Almost 100 years ago, W. E. B. Dubois, the world-renowned scholar and political activist, declared that in America, “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line.”¹ With 350 years or so of legalized slavery abolished just 40 years before, recent efforts at Reconstruction firmly defeated, and Jim Crow-style racial segregation taking hold in the South, where most blacks lived, few students of race relations at the time would have disputed DuBois’ claim. Indeed, many would have agreed then that race was the most important, if not the sole, factor determining the life chances of African Americans...

    • Chapter 14 A Demographic Portrait of Asian Americans
      (pp. 415-446)
      Yu Xie and Kimberly A. Goyette

      Asian Americans are a diverse group who either are descendants of immigrants from some part of Asia or are themselves such immigrants. They come from East Asia (China, Japan, and Korea); Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam); and South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan). Cultural heritage, economic conditions, political systems, religious practices, and languages are quite different across these countries and, in some cases, have changed over time. As a result, ethnic differences among Asian Americans are so large that they call into question the use of a single, overarching category to group...

  8. INDEX
    (pp. 447-456)