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In his 1796 farewell address, George Washington described his countrymen as “citizens, by birth or choice.” At the time, the nation had roughly 4 million people, including women and slaves (each of whom were counted separately in Thomas Jefferson’s 1790 Census).
The United States’ population now stands at 325 million. Amid new questions of American identity, this July Fourth seemed like a good idea to look at who exactly makes up America, whether by birth or choice. And how it is forecast to change.
Ancestry and heritage
Lisa Desjardins is a correspondent for PBS NewsHour, where she covers news from the U.S. Capitol while also traveling across the country to report on how decisions in Washington affect people where they live and work.
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