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Need to Know, September 21, 2012: America by the numbers

“America By The Numbers with Maria Hinojosa: Clarkston Georgia” explores what it takes to be inclusive, engaged and living in the “New America.”

This week's host Maria Hinojosa

It is the story of a small town of 7,500 people that has gone from being 90% white in the 1980s to less than 14% white today. Located in the shadow of Stone Mountain, once a gathering place for Ku Klux Klan cross burnings, Clarkston today is home to thousands of refugees from Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq and Bhutan – along with some forty other countries. This special is an intimate look at how changing demographics are reshaping the political landscape of America.

Read the transcript.


More on demographics and the vote:

Ask The Experts

Ask the Experts

We asked a number of experts how demographic trends might affect the 2012 election.

en Español

Esta nueva serie noticiosa cuenta las historias humanas detrás de los cambios demográficos de los EEUU.

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.


  • Linben12

    When will AT&T U-Verse air this in Atlanta?  I don’t see it in their listings.

  • Burt Zerker

    PBS always beating the drum that “we need more diversity” in this country, but only if the ‘diversity’ has brown skin, black eyes and hair…that’s not very ‘diverse’ at all, now is it?.

    Would this be acceptable or in any third world country if the ‘new immigrants’ were of European stock?

  • James

    Hey I loved the program but I noticed an error…the 1st interview in the program contained discussion about different states. A picture of arkansas with its abbreviation was shown. The abbreviation shown was AK…that’s the abbreviation for Alaska. Arkansas is AR. Otherwise keep up the good work!

  • ErikaDP

    Great program! Thanks for producing it!

  • Urdguasm

    In one segment of this broadcast,
    Maria Hinojosa asked a white storeowner and his wife if they had anything to
    fear from the increasing numbers of non-white immigrants coming to
    Georgia. The man and his wife answered
    that they did not (mainly because their business has flourished as a result of
    all their new immigrant customers). I
    agree that there is no reason to be afraid, but I’m not ready to celebrate. Indeed, I feel that some sadness might be in
    order. Your program was yet another
    reminder that the number of white people (or persons of European stock) is
    surely on the decline in the world.
    American and Europe are steadily becoming more and more diverse while
    the developing world is not. Like hundreds
    of small towns throughout our nation—and like every urban area—Clarkston, GA is
    now home to thousands of refugees from throughout the third world—but India is as
    Indian as ever, China is as Chinese as ever, Mexico is as Mexican as ever, etc. It would be wonderful—and truly something to
    celebrate—if the whole world was diversifying as much as America and
    Europe. Instead we are witnessing the
    dwindling of one segment our human family that—arguably—has contributed more
    than any other to human progress.

    Another source of my sadness comes
    for the countries that these immigrants and refugees left behind. One scene in the program depicted a family
    from Myanmar welcoming their baby boy into the world. When Maria asked them what hopes they had for
    their newborn son they replied that they wanted him to become president (of the
    United States) someday. In another
    scene, a Somali immigrant woman revealed that she hoped to one day become Mayor
    of Clarkston. The hope and confidence of these folks is
    heartwarming—but wouldn’t it have been truly inspiring if they would have used
    that same passion and ambition to stay in their home countries and fight for
    change. Yes, it would have been
    difficult—maybe they would have been imprisoned, tortured, or even killed. Any maybe, I don’t have any right to say this
    since I’m living the good life in America.
    But how is the world—as a whole—ever going to defeat tyranny unless good
    people stay in their home lands and fight for change. Early on her opposition to the dictatorship in
    Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi was offered free passage to England by the government. She declined, and instead stayed to fight
    oppression, remaining under house arrest for years. Today, she is a member of parliament, and
    Myanmar is progressing towards democracy.
    Heroism like that is really something to celebrate!

  • OCTheo

    The current migration since the 70′s, is due to economic and political hardship that these countries are suffering because of US foreign policies. US is always fighting wars, or sponsoring wars.

    When the US support dictators around different corners of the world, either for the so called “National Security”, or just plain Imperialistic ventures, people die and many get displaced. Some migrate to the US. Vietnamese and Iraqis for example, would have been happy in their homeland, had US not invaded, decimated their land, and killed millions of people in these countries.

    When American corporations systematically through the World Bank and IMF, disenfranchise countless communities in poor countries, with the collaboration of a few rich crooks in these countries, there is hunger and unemployment. Most of these loans are never used for the benefit of the citizens. They usually go into personal foreign bank accounts. But the poor, are made to repay these loans, as a result of which these vulture banks, swoop in and take natural resources with fair compensation and cut services to the citizens. Those who can afford to, migrate to the US and other countries.

    It is easy for a reasonable person to see why these people, including myself came to America. We would rather be with our families, but US government and US corporations, made it impossible for us to live where we were born.

    Wake up Americans, crimes are being committed in your names.

  • I.Dont.Tell

    Full disclosure: This is coming from a European-American perspective.
    As Urdguasm eloquently described above, I, too, question whether European-American displacement is something to celebrate like we are constantly encouraged in the mainstream media by ethnic writers. As only time will tell, it will be interesting to see how well Clarkston is thriving in 10-20 years. Will it be dominated by gangs, crime, corruption and poverty at levels above the national average?
    The problem as I perceive it is that these immigrants bring their failed ideologies with them and seek to implement those same ideologies here. None of those countries listed above from which these immigrants come are successful by any standard, let alone a U.S. standard. Also, these immigrants have no historical ties to the U.S. or our long, hard-fought struggles to achieve the freedoms, culture and society that Europeans founded here. Will they embrace our liberal ideals such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion? Will they endeavor to further entitlements through legislation and the courts? Again, only time will tell whether this dubious experiment in social engineering proves beneficial to everyone.

  • Marshall Nelson – Social Network for Patriots not potatoes. COME JOIN!

  • CB48

    nonsense. easy to blame the US for your failings as a people. Harder to hang in there and make changes

  • Karen Harris

    Let’s not forget that the US; America was taken from the Native Americans. They are the only ones who truly have the right to call this home. Let’s also not forget that Black people were carted over here against their will to work the land for the European-Caucasians who uprooted an entire culture. It never ceases to amaze me how some white people have selective memory about this. What goes around comes around. If any feel the country is being taken over…becoming more diverse…well…look to history.

  • Karen Harris

    Yes! You get it Burt!

  • Lacy Stroessner

    Will this be available to watch online any time soon? I’d like to show my students.

  • Anonymous

    Does it matter to you that 70% of the American Founding Fathers were active abolitionists? And that 375,000 northern white men gave their lives to free the slaves in the Civil War? And shall we forget that the 200 Native American tribes were always migrating and conquering each other? When the white settlers came, there were hundreds of miles of wide open spaces. But when the indian hunters came across the Little House On The Prairie families, they mutilated hundreds of them. The Calvary chased them out and the indians retreated. Later, most indians intermarried with whites and are fellow Americans today.

  • AymanFadel

    I reviewed a book about Clarkston, GA refugee children playing soccer, and in that review is a link to a Congressional report on the integration of refugees in Clarkston.

  • Suzanne

    Christianity is no where near dying out in America. Over 70% of Americans are Christian, and of those that are religious, over 92% of them are Christian. Globally, Christianity is still the most popular religion. Your belief that non-white is synonymous with non-Christian is plain ignorant.