US and California Compared

Category: California
Last Updated: 07 Apr 2020
Pages: 7 Views: 130

The United States Census is taken every ten years in order for the U. S. government to count exactly how many people live in the country to the best of its abilities. Aside from taking the population, the census asks many other questions, such as the age of the persons living in a given household, their race and ethnicity, the languages that are spoken at home, their educational attainment level, and household income. These questions, when answered by the entire population, provide the government a sense of the composition and the needs of its people.

Without this information, public services such as education, hospitals, health care, and social security cannot be provided to all in need and therefore it is important data that deserves our careful examination. For my term paper, I have decided to compare the data of the state of California to the United States of America to discover how similar or different the sets of data may be. I would predict some of these data to be similar, such as age distribution, due to the fact that California is a relatively large state with a large enough population that it would serve as a pretty good sample of the entire nation.

However, I would expect to see differences in factors such as race and ethnicity and the languages spoken at home, because California has a relatively larger Hipic and Asian population than most other states in the US. Also, the income level of California will be slightly higher than the nation due to the existence of two large metropolitan cities in the state. The paper takes a careful look at the various socio-demographic variables that are taken by the United States Census in order to compare the state of California to the nation as a whole.

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The first obvious step in my analysis is to look at both populations counted by the 1990 United States census. The population of the United States is estimated to be 248,709,873 and California is estimated to be 29,760,021. This data is important to this paper because when making comparisons between the two geographic locations, I will use percentages taken from the actual data given in the census divided by the total populations. This way, the comparisons are scaled in relation to one another and it is easier to analyze and to make comparisons. The first demographic variable that I will examine is the age distribution between the two areas.

The age distribution given by the population age pyramid (Graph 1) show that both are quite similar, with a pyramid-like shape starting from age 25 to 80+, with the large base of the pyramid beginning at age 25. From age 0 to 24, there is an overall tapering in from the base of the pyramid above as the ages decrease, indicating a fewer number of people aged 0 through 24. It means that the largest number of persons in both regions is between the ages of 25 and 34 in 1990. This implies that there were a larger number of births in the 1950s and 1960s than in the 1970s and 1980s.

This phenomenon can be explained by the fact that the baby-boom children had reached reproductive stage in their lives and gave birth to many babies in the 50s and 60s. There is also relatively fewer people aged 45 to 80+. The upper narrow upper region of the graph, ages 65 and up, can be explained by the fact that the life expectancy in the United States is around 70 years old and it is natural to see a tapering off of the population at these ages. However, the age group from 45 to 64 is also quite narrow. This is most likely due to the fact that these are the people who fought in World War II.

Looking at the graph, the only noticeable difference between the two regions is that California has a relatively fewer number of people aged 10 through 19. This could be due to many economic, social, and physical factors in the 1970s that affected California births, but not the entire nation. I would predict that since children of the baby-boomers (ages 25 to 34) have now reached reproductive stage, the census 2000 would show that the base of the graph would continue to grow a little bit wider, from babies being born in the 1990s. The second demographic variable I will focus on is the racial composition of California and the United States.

Graph 2 shows the percentages of the total population, which fall under the five racial categories: 1. White 2. Black 3. American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut 4. Asian or Pacific Islander and 5. Other. It is important to note that people of Hipic origin are mainly categorized as either White or Other, depending on how each individual has chosen to categorize him or herself. The category, Other, also include people who are mixed, such as Mulatto, Creole, and Mestizo. The breakdown of the races are pretty similar, as can be seen by the graph with Whites being the overwhelming majority of the total population for both regions.

However, it may be interesting to note that the origins of the people who make up the White category for the two regions may be quite different. For the United States, the composition of the people who make up the White category are mostly of European origin. The origin of people who make up the White category for California also include many people of European origin, but also many of Hipic origin. This is due to the fact that California shares the border with Mexico and therefore would have a larger Mexican or Latino population.

Also due to the large Mexican and Latino population, the Other category for California is almost 10% larger than for the United States. The lower Black population in California can be attributed to the fact that the majority of Blacks in this country are concentrated in the southern states of the US, such as Alabama, raising the composition for the nation, but not for California. Lastly, the Asian and Pacific Islander category is almost 8% higher in California because many Asians tend to be concentrated on the west coast of the US. The third socio-demographic variable I will examine is language spoken at home.

The first thing to note on Graph 3 is that English is spoken in the majority of homes both in California and the United States. The population speaking languages other than English at home is higher in California due to the racial composition examined above. The higher Asian/Pacific Islander and Latino concentration has raised this California percentage to twice that of the US. Of these "other" languages, the existence of Spanish spoken in homes is more than 10 percent higher in California than in the rest of the nation. Subsequently, the English at home contingent will be smaller in percentage comparison for California.

This type of data is extremely important to the government because it raises issues such as the appropriateness of ESL programs, bilingual education, and public services that must be provided to the public in many languages. Comparing two different regions such as California and the US may seem useless due to the similar data, but it is differences such as these that make the census crucial data that deserve our careful analysis. Educational Attainment is another variable I will analyze between the two regions. Graph 4 reveals that in the US, highschool graduates (including equivalency) make up the highest percentage of education attained.

This is not surprising because formal education in the US is required for all children until the age of 14 through 18, depending on the state, and therefore it is expected that most children would finish high school. In California, people attending some college without obtaining a degree make up the highest percentage. This implies that California"s students have a tendency to pursue their education further than the national student. The higher percentage of Californian"s attending some college can be attributed to the proliferation of junior colleges in the state.

The concern for California should lie in the fact that a higher percentage of children do not progress beyond the ninth grade than in the nation. This may be attributed to the large Spanish speaking population who are cushioned in schools by bilingual teachers during their elementary and secondary schooling years but are left to themselves in non-bilingual high schools to survive on their own and as a result, drop out. Finally, the comparison of household income between California and the US shows that income levels for both regions are concentrated under $60,000 per year (Graph 5).

In analyzing these data, I have taken the income data from the census and divided that figure with the total number of households, not the population, so that a direct comparison between the income of each households would be possible. In general, Californians have higher income than the US as a whole. The 1990 Census shows that the median household income of California is $35,798. This figure is higher than the national median household income of $30,056. The data on the graph shows that the higher percentage of Californians earn incomes higher than $30,000.

The higher income in California can be attributed to the two metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and San Francisco as mentioned earlier and additionally, to the recent boom of the computer and internet industry in Silicon Valley, which has increased the number of Californians earning higher wages. The different variables examined in this paper have revealed several demographic trends between California and the US as a whole. While the two regions share similar demographic profiles, several differences arise upon closer analysis of the data. Generally, California has a higher concentration of racial minorities.

Thus, more families speak languages other than English at home. The data also shows that a higher percentage of Californians pursue degrees in higher education than the national percentage. Since college graduatess and advanced degree holders tend to earn higher wages, the data for household income is consistent with the previous observation as more Californians are in the higher income bracket. It can then be concluded that California is more racially diverse than most other states, and that Californians tend to do better economically than the rest of the nation.

This type of analysis would not have been possible without the United States Census, which I believe is an important tool that allows researchers to do their own analysis with the hard data that it provides. The different conclusions I have drawn from this paper clearly indicate a need for different public programs that are specifically designed for each individual state because the United States is not made up of a homogeneous group of people, but is composed of an exremely diverse group of individuals.

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US and California Compared. (2018, Jun 22). Retrieved from

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