Unit 1: Social Studies Connection

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The Changing Face of America

Kids who live in the United States are changing, according to the U.S. census. Sure, kids are getting taller, stronger, and faster as they grow up. But they are changing in another way, too--U.S. kids are more diverse, or different in background, than ever before.

The Story of U.S. -- Population by Ethnic Group (graph)

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The graph shows percentages of people living in the U.S. from some ethnic groups. The figures add up to more than 100% because some people said they were from more than one ethnic group and were counted more than once.

Every ten years, the U.S. government counts all the people who live in the United States. The count is called the census. Recently, the government began releasing some of the information it learned from the 2000 census.

Kids Count!

The census counted 281.4 million people in the United States. More than 72 million of those people are kids under age 18. That means that about 26 out of every 100 people are kids!

The census also showed that U.S. kids are more ethnically diverse than ever before. That means that today's kids have ancestors who came from a greater variety of foreign countries. “The nation is more diverse in the year 2000 than it was in 1990, when the last census was taken,” said Jorge del Pinal of the U.S. Census Bureau.

More Diverse

The percentage of minorities, or people who are not part of the largest ethnic group, increased from 24 percent to 31 percent of the total U.S. population. Much of that minority increase is due to immigration to the United States, the census reported. One in five kids has at least one parent who moved to this country from another country.

Del Pinal added that kids are more diverse than their parents because the number of marriages between people of different races is four times higher than it was in 1990. Two out of every five kids are part of at least one minority group.

Nearly 3 million kids have parents who have different ethnic backgrounds. For example, one parent may be from Asia and another from Europe.

Word Wise

census:
An official count of the nation's population, taken every ten years in the United States.

diverse:
Having many different types or kinds.

ethnic group:
A group of people who share the same religion, race, nationality, or culture.

ancestor:
A person from whom one is descended, such as a great-grandmother or great-great-grandfather.

increase:
Become larger, greater, or more.

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Activity

Word Wise Quiz
How Word Wise are you? Take this short quiz to find out.

Data Hunt

Write three questions about the data in the article. The questions should be written for another student.

Example:
The census counted 281.4 million people in the United States in 2000. About 72 million of those people were under 18 years old. About how many were over 18 years old?

Answer:
209.4 million

Trade papers with another student to answer each other's questions.