Study Paints Complex Picture of Americans’ Ethnicity

Study Paints Complex Picture of Americans’ Ethnicity

For many immigrants to New York, the Statue of Liberty's torch was the first image of America they saw on the horizon. (AP Images)
For many immigrants to New York, the Statue of Liberty’s torch was the first image of America they saw on the horizon. (AP Images)

 

ST. LOUIS, MO (VOA News) – If you think America is all about black and white, think again.

A new study of more than 160,000 Americans shows how complex our racial and ethnic mix really is.

The United States is often described as a nation of immigrants. Most of us do not have to trace our family history back more than a few generations to find an immigrant ancestor. We, or our ancestors, may come from West Africa or Vietnam or Germany or Mexico. And we usually think of ourselves as white or African-American or Latino or Asian.

But the details are a lot messier than those neat categories.

A California genetics company called 23andMe analyzes customers’ DNA to provide them with information about their ancestry. The company’s senior research director, Joanna L. Mountain, and her colleagues aggregated that data to tease out the complicated ancestry Americans have written in their DNA.

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