White as we are

The North Country is mostly white and Native, ethnically. Right? Yes, but. In the 2000 census, Jefferson County, New York saw the largest percentage increase in African-American and Hispanic populations in the entire United States. Of course, this was because of the expansion of Fort Drum. While we are hardly as diverse ethnically as Chicago or New York or Los Angeles, I suspect we self-segregate on a microcosmic level much as urban populations do: the black and Latino groups based around Fort Drum, Mohawks clustered at Akwesasne and the nearby communities in northern Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties, and whites dominating pretty much everywhere else.

What got me started on this? A recent article and link from Utne online. Eric Fischer has done a kind of pointillist mapping of ethnic groupings in major cities. Click on the link within the article to see a couple of dozen of these color-coded maps.

When I moved to the North Country in 1971, friends back in NYC asked me if there was a culture shock–no large museums, theatre, concerts, galleries, etc. I found lots of culture in the North Country. The real shock for me was the homogenous demography. Except for the expansion of Fort Drum, it hasn’t changed much in all this time. Nonetheless, check out the maps on the link. If you’ve ever lived in a city, I think you’ll find the ethnic mapping fascinating.

2 Responses to “White as we are”

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  1. Pete Klein says:

    I really get tired hearing about the ethnic stuff. If your ancestor came from just about any place, you probably have more mix in you than you can imagine. People move around and while they do, they procreate. It’s been going on forever. And to talk about an ethnic group is little more than taking a snapshot at a given point in time.
    Maybe the next time we do a census, everyone should check “other” to help stop this nonsense.

  2. Ellen Rocco says:

    Love the idea of everyone clicking on “other”–now, if we could only convince people to let go of their racial, religious and ethnic prejudices.