Ethnicity is an important means through which people can identify themselves. An ethnic group is a group of humans whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage that is real or presumed. Ethnic identity is further marked by the recognition from others of a group's distinctiveness and the recognition of common cultural, linguistic, religious, behavioural traits as indicators of contrast to other groups. To one interested in social sciences, usage has become more simplisticly generalized to include all human groups that explicitly regard themselves and are regarded by others as culturally distinctive.
The terms "ethnicity" and "ethnic group" are derived from the Greek word ethnos, normally translated as "people" or "tribe," meaning more specifically, "Of, relating to, or characterized by a sizable group of people sharing a common and distinctive racial, national, religious, linguistic, or cultural heritage." While some still may use the term Hyphenated American as a disparaging epithet, the hyphenated or compound term is more often used now with pride or used respectfully. In a literal sense, all Americans may be considered hyphenated to a certain--or uncertain--degree. Every American can rightfully consider themselves or their forebearers as belonging to some ethnic group, and therefore, a hyphenated American.
Ancestry with largest population in each state
Acceptable or politically correct terminology changes with time for ethnic groups. For whites in America, the term European American (or Anglo-American) is sometimes used as a synonym for White American to denote their ethnical or colonial origins, although their actual ethnic background may be more precisely considered English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Swiss, etc. For most blacks in America, African American seems to be the preferred designation of their ethnic identification, although their ancestral background may be identified more specifically as Congolese, Ethiopian, Haitian, Jamaican, Nigerian, etc. For most hispanic & latin Americans, their ethnic background may be Argentinian, Columbian, Cuban, Honduran, Mexican, Spanish, etc. For most oriental Americans, their ethnic heritage may be Asian, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Samoan, Thai, etc. For Americans of Middle East ancestry, their ethnic background may be Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Jewish, Kurdish, Armenian, Greek, etc.
Top reported ethnicities in the United States
While the Federal government of the United States changes its criteria every ten years for what races and ethnicities are officially recognized for that year's census (it now categorizes only seven racial categories and two ethnicity terms for the 2010 census), genealogical researchers and family historians recognize ethnicity in the conventional broader sense as an intertwined component of race, ancestry, language and national origin; connoting shared cultural, linguistic, behavioural, religious, and, in some cases, even nationalistic traits.
This Ethnic American Portal is meant to serve as a compilation of research on all occurrences of ethnic groups in America, sources and references on WeRelate, as well as other Internet sites, literary citations, periodicals and other publications, and related collections and documentation, necessary to identify ethnic connections and origins.
WeRelate users may create or add to any Research Guide or Article. If added as a Research Guide, it will add the document automatically to the Research Guide category. If created as an article, links to categories will be added based upon the locale or country data provided. Any category can be "force fed," that is, added to the page manually for automatic linking to an appropriate category page.
For example, users of the Polish American Research Guide may want to add Category:Poland to their page to link to other articles, information, data, families, images and sources under the "Poland" placename category. (See Cateogry help page.)