North America is one of the four parts of the American continent. It comprises Canada, USA, Mexico, Greenland (Danish territory) and Saint Pierre and Miquelon islands (French territory). The continent’s total population is about half a billion. Economically it is one of the richest regions in the world and with remarkable natural beauty.
63 percent of North American residents live in the United States and Canada, 21 percent in Mexico and 16 percent in the Caribbean and Central America (Central America’s population is slightly larger than the Caribbean). The majority of the population is English speaking and white, of mixed European origin. In Canada, however, there is a significant French-speaking minority, and in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (as well as some parts of the United States) there is a Latin American population speaking Spanish. The United States has the largest number of Afroamericans, but these constitute a limited minority (13 percent). In the Caribbean, however, the proportion of African Americans and mulattoes is relatively high, while the indigenous population is almost completely absent. In Anglo-America (USA and Canada), Indians, together with Inuit and Aleut, make up less than 1 percent. Half of the population of Guatemala are Native Americans.
The natural population increase in Latin American areas of North America (Mexico, Central America, Caribbean) is 2 to 3 times faster than in Anglo America. Immigration to North America continues to a limited extent; Other than that, the US and Canada’s Pacific regions have gained significant influence from Asia. However, a larger role plays the relocation that is underway in North America, with an ever-increasing immigration to the United States, in particular, of residents of Latin American, primarily Mexican, origin. The population emphasis in the United States and Canada is shifting increasingly to the west and south, while urbanization and concentration to metropolitan regions continue throughout North America. In the Atlantic coast around New York and in a belt against the Great Lakes to Chicago-Saint Louis as well as in Southern California and around Mexico City, large urban regions have been developed.
The native languages of North America, whose number is between 400 and 600, depending on the boundary between languages and dialects, which are largely arbitrary, belong to some 25 language families, whose possible interrelationships are unclear. The larger language families include the Algonquin languages, the Eskimo-Aleutian languages, the Hokan languages, the Iroquois languages, the Mayan languages, the Nadenes languages, the Ottoman languages, the Penut languages, the Sioux languages and the Uto-Aztec languages. According to one of the linguist Joseph Greenberg’s proposed but not widely accepted hypothesis, all North American languages except the Native languages and Eskimo-Alee languages would belong to a single family of languages, the Amerind languages, which would also include the native languages of South America.
In the present, the European languages dominate English, Spanish and French; however, the native languages are still spoken by several million people, especially in Mexico and Central America. Many of them, especially the smaller ones, are endangered. In the Caribbean, Creole languages (mainly English- and French-based) are the predominant spoken languages in many states. Other European and Asian languages are also found among immigrant groups.