PBS’s ‘America By the Numbers’ To Focus on Race This Fall

By Jamilah King Aug 04, 2014

"America by the Numbers" is back with host and executive producer Maria Hinojosa. Back in 2012, the series focused on the small town of Clarkston, Georgia. This fall, it will focus more broadly on America’s changing racial demographics. 

"At a time when issues like immigration and health care are so hotly debated, this measured, smart series sheds refreshing light on communities and issues ranging from infant mortality rates among babies of color in New York to high school dropout rates among Cambodian youth in Long Beach," said CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong. 

The series will premiere on Thursday, October 2. Here’s a list of what to expect from each episode, from the Center for Asian American Media’s Momo Chang:

"The New Mainstream"
In the original pilot episode, America By The Numbers explores the new multicultural mainstream through a portrait of Clarkston, Georgia, home to over 40 nationalities in a single square mile, and a laboratory for the future of our country. Once an organizing hub for the Ku Klux Klan, this small city outside of Atlanta went from 90 percent white to 82 percent non-white in 30 years after becoming a designated location for refugee resettlement. The series visits Clarkston to document how its daily realities reflect wider demographic trends and examine the collaborations and collisions that are occurring between old and new residents.

"Private Idaho"
It is estimated that by 2043, if not before, white Americans will no longer constitute a majority in the U.S. According to Census data, cities such as Coeur d’Alene, Idaho have some of the most concentrated and fastest growing white populations in the nation. Coeur d’Alene is also the former headquarters of the Aryan Nations. Local residents banded together to force the white separatists out, and some initiatives in Coeur d’Alene public schools now focus on diversity. While Coeur d’Alene remains 92 percent white, the composition of the town, and the state of Idaho, are changing. America By The Numberstravels to Coeur d’Alene to explore both the allure and complexity of living in an overwhelming white community, and what it means to be white in America today.

"Multicultural Mad Med"
It is estimated that consumers of color represent a $3 trillion market, and advertisers are taking particular notice of the rapidly growing purchasing power of Latinos. America By The Numbers goes to the Austin, Texas headquarters of LatinWorks, an award-winning ad agency at the forefront of efforts to win the attention of the growing multicultural market, to examine how advertisers of today are reframing their messaging to appeal to Latino consumers, and how these consumers are responding.

"Native American Boomtown"
The Bakken Oil Boom is bringing billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs to North Dakota, but most people don’t know that 1/5 of North Dakota’s oil production comes from an Indian reservation. While the oil boom has led to more jobs and affluence for some, the more than 1,000 wells on the Fort Berthold Reservation have also attracted a huge influx of non-Indianoil workers, as well as increased drug trafficking, crime, and traffic accidents. America By The Numbers speaks to tribal members who are facing new threats along with new wealth, to assess the impact of the North Dakota oil boom on the Native American way of life.

"New American Politics"
America By The Numbers revisits Clarkston, Georgia to track candidates in the local 2013 election. This election could be historic for Clarkston, as three of the candidates running for Mayor and City Council are former refugees from Somalia and Bhutan, who are voting and running for office for the first time ever. The new American candidates say they decided to run for office after participating in the original pilot episode of America By The Numbers and screening event.

"Wounded Warriors"
Pacific Islanders, including citizens of Guam, serve at a disproportionately high rate in the U.S. armed forces, and also have the highest per capita rate of casualties and deaths in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But with no VA hospital on the island, returning Guamanian vets suffering from war-related injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are having greater difficulty getting access to care than their counterparts on the mainland. America By The Numbers examines the difficulties faced by these discrepancies in veteran care.

"Surviving Year One"
While the numbers for infant mortality are improving for the U.S. as a whole, women of color, especially African Americans and Latinas, are losing babies at alarming rates. Babies of color born in Rochester, New York have a greater chance of not living to their first birthdays than babies in developing countries such as Libya and Jamaica. America By The Numbers travels to Rochester, where researchers, doctors, and prenatal care programs are investing in initiatives that could make a difference.

"Model Minority Myth"
Asian Americans are the best-educated ethnic group in the U.S., and are seen as a "model minority." However, Southeast Asian Americans have some of the lowest high school completion rates in the country. Research suggests that language barriers, inherited PTSD from refugee experiences, cultural alienation, and gang violence are contributing factors. America By The Numbers investigates in Long Beach, California, home to the largest Cambodian community in the U.S. "Model Minority Myth" is a part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a public media initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help local communities across America address the dropout crisis.