This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Reconquest of the American West

Here on Super Bowl Sunday it is notable that there are relatively few Americans of Latin American origin playing American football. Indeed, the Seattle Seahawks roster shows no players with a Spanish surname, and the Broncos have only two. But those demographics are very different from what's happening "on the street." As this week's Economist points out, people of Mexican-origin are essentially reconquering the land that Mexico handed over to the US back in the 19th century. 
On February 2nd 1848, following a short and one-sided war, Mexico agreed to cede more than half its territory to the United States. An area covering most of present-day Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, plus parts of several other states, was handed over to gringolandia. The rebellious state of Tejas, which had declared its independence from Mexico in 1836, was recognised as American soil too. But a century and a half later, communities have proved more durable than borders. The counties with the highest concentration of Mexicans (as defined by ethnicity, rather than citizenship) overlap closely with the area that belonged to Mexico before the great gringo land-grab of 1848. Some are recent arrivals; others trace their roots to long before the map was redrawn. They didn’t jump the border—it jumped them.

The data come from the 2010 Census and have led demographers to joke for some time about the "Reconquista." The map tells the story very well.

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