Activity 2: Patterns of Diversity in the Local Landscape

Materials Needed

  • Computers with Internet access
  • Table 3. "Place of Birth for the Foreign Born Population" (PDF: 53KB)
  • Table 4. "Projected Minnesota Populations, by Race and Hispanic Origin: 1995-2025" (PDF: 12KB)

Instructions

Explain to the class that they will be examining patterns of diversity in their own state.

[Note: This activity is based on the state of Minnesota. Teachers should use the links provided to adapt this activity to their local state or any other state of interest in the United States.]

  1. Direct students to "Historical Census Statistics" on the U.S. Census Bureau website at http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0029/twps0029.html
  2. Scroll down to data set #38 for Historical Census Statistics for Minnesota, 1850-1990. Open the PDF version of the data and examine the race and ethnic composition of Minnesota's population over time.
  • How has the composition of Minnesota's population changed since 1850?
  • Which race or ethnic minority had the largest percentage in the total population in 1850? …in 1900? …in 1950? …in 1990?
  1. Distribute copies of Table 3, "Place of Birth for the Foreign Born Population" provided above.
  • What was the total foreign-born population living in Minnesota in 2000?
  • What percentage of the foreign-born population lived in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area?
  • Why are the foreign-born concentrated in this urban area?

Scan the data provided in the table.

  • Which countries were the sources of the largest groups of foreign-born living in Minnesota in 2000?
  • What push factors may have contributed to these groups deciding to leave their home countries?
  • What pull factors may have attracted these groups to Minnesota?
  • How have these immigrant groups influenced the cultural landscape of Minnesota?
  • Using the Yellow Pages of the Minneapolis-St. Paul telephone directory, identify examples of diversity in the metropolitan area—churches, food stores, restaurants, community organizations, etc. Plot the examples identified on a city map. Is there evidence of clustering of groups of foreign-born populations? What factors might explain this pattern?
  1. Distribute copies of Table 4, "Projected Minnesota Populations, by Race and Hispanic Origin: 1995-2025" provided above.
  • What changes are expected in the composition of Minnesota's population over the next two decades?
  • Based on past trends, where is much of the minority growth likely to occur?
  • What social and economic impacts will the changing population composition likely have?

Extension

If time permits, use the following extension activity as a collaborative culminating exercise. The end product, a state atlas of diversity, is an effective tool for evaluating students' understanding of key concepts as well as their mastery of basic skills of mapping and graphing.

Take a closer look at the composition of your state by comparing demographic data at the city, county, state, and national level. "State & County Quick Facts" on the Census Bureau website provides a variety of data for comparison. After looking at the data related to race and diversity, construct a set of choropleth maps of your state.

[Note: This extension uses the state of Minnesota as an example. Teachers should adapt the extension for the local state. Data for all states is available on the U.S. Census Bureau website.]

Instructions

  1. To study the composition of Minnesota's population in greater depth, go to the U.S. Census Bureau's website at www.census.gov.
  2. In the right side-bar, select Minnesota from the "State & County Quick Facts" drop-down menu.
  3. On the "Minnesota Quick Facts" page, you will find a variety of data that compares the state to the United States. By using the drop-down menus at the top of the page, you can also look more closely at the county or city in which you live. You will also find a link to additional data sets for Minnesota.
  • Locate data related to race and diversity.
  • How does Minnesota compare to the United States?
  • Locate data for the county in which you live.
  • How does your county compare to the rest of the state?
  • Locate data for the city in or near which you live?
  • How does this city compare to the rest of the state?
  1. Use a map of Minnesota with county boundaries to construct choropleth maps using data from the Minnesota Quick Facts site.
  2. Working as a class, create a Minnesota Atlas of Diversity. Use a search engine to locate images that reflect diversity in Minnesota and include these pictures in your atlas.