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In recent decades, as immigration from Asia has increased, there has been a corresponding growth in the Muslim and Hindu faiths. Throughout the history of this nation, diversity of religious beliefs and the separation of church and state have been central elements in conflicts over sexual morality. In addition, there is a relatively small percentage of Americans who are Jewish and range from ultra-orthodox to conservative, reformed, and liberal. These trends include: the declining attendance at the traditional Protestant and Catholic churches in what has been labeled the growing secularization of American culture; the religious revivalism reflected by the growth of fundamentalist churches; the growth of religious cults (e.g., Hare Krishna and the Unification Church); the growing power of the conservative Christian Coalition; and the emergence of the Electronic Church (religious broadcasting) (Marciano 1987). The overwhelming majority of Americans represent the Judeo-Christian heritage, but that statement is potentially misleading. To a considerable degree, the choice of religious denomination is directly related to the ethnic patterns previously described. African-Americans, most of whose ancestors were brought to North America as slaves before the 20th century, dropped from second to third place, from 12.1% to 12.3%. Their ancestors emigrated from such places as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, as well as other Central and South American nations. Substantial populations of Japanese and Chinese immigrants have been in the U. The size of the various nonwhite minority groups has been increasing in the last 30 years, both in terms of real numbers and as a percentage of the total U. Fifty-two million American married couples are paralleled by 2.8 million unmarried households and close to 8 million single-parent families. Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the U. The last decade of the 20th century marked a major shift in the ethnic balance of the U. Between 19, white Americans whose ancestors came from Europe dropped from 80.1% to 75.1%. Another group experiencing rapid growth in recent decades is Asian-Americans; there are now more than three million residents of Asian heritage. Finally, there are smaller groups of immigrants from virtually every nation, with growing numbers of Muslims in recent decades. Infant-mortality rates and life-expectancy rates vary widely, depending on socioeconomic status and residence in urban, suburban, or rural settings. D., Health and Physical Education Department, Fashion Institute of Technology of the State University of New York, 27th Street and 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA; 212-217-4240; [email protected] The unique feature of sexuality in the United States is that we have far more information and data on American sexual attitudes, values, and behaviors than is available for any other country. Stories about Clintons sexual experiences with a number of women routinely surfaced throughout his presidential term.
D., 4310 Cleveland Lane, Rockaway, NJ 07866-5811 USA; [email protected] Certainly, no American president has ever been subjected to as much speculation about extramarital sex while still in office.
The two most traumatic experiences in the nations history were the Civil War (1861-1865) and the Great Depression of the 1930s. The economy has been marked by steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology. WEIS In one sense, great diversity is virtually guaranteed by the sheer size of the United States. A majority, about 190 million are white descendants of immigrants from the European continent, with sizable groups from Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Germany, and Poland. More recently, there has been an increase from such nations as India, Vietnam, Korea, the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Pakistan. Overall, 15% of Americans30% of the poorare without health insurance.
Four major trends for the future have been detailed in There is also great diversity in religious affiliation in the United States (Marciano 1987; see Section 2A).
Hispanics moved from third place at 9.0% in 1990 to second place in 2002 at 12.5% (see Section 2B, Religious, Ethnic, and Gender Factors Affecting Sexuality, Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Perspectives, U. Hispanics represent the fastest-growing minority group in the U. There are also more than two million Native Americans Eskimos, Aleuts, and those mistakenly at one time called Indianswhose ancestors have occupied North America for thousands of years, and whose residence within the boundaries of what is now the U. In summarizing aspects of sexuality in America, it is helpful to keep in mind that the United States of the 21st century will look profoundly different from the nation described in this chapter.
There is no great uniformity in religious practice or sexual mores shared by these various groups.
Within the Judeo-Christian heritage, there are substantial populations of Roman Catholics, mainstream Protestants (Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian, and others), and a growing number of fundamentalist Christians.