Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week…
We play religious songs by Kirk Franklin…
Answer a question about the Easter holiday…
And report about population in the United States.
Diversity in America
The number of people in the United States is expected to reach three hundred million by October. Studies by the Census Bureau show the population is growing one percent a year. This makes the United States the fastest growing industrial nation. Sixty percent of this population growth is natural. Forty percent is caused by people coming to live in the United States from other countries. Faith Lapidus tells about a new population study.
The study by the Brookings Institution shows that more members of minority groups are moving to areas outside large cities. The study says many are moving to western and southern parts of the United States. Population expert William Frey studied population changes in the United States between the years two thousand and two thousand four.
Mr. Frey says immigrants have traditionally settled in big cities where they had friends and family to provide support. These include Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; Chicago, Illinois and New York City. Now, however, more immigrants are likely to choose areas for economic reasons. Lower housing costs and more jobs are two reasons immigrants are moving to other parts of the country. Mr. Frey says the fastest growing cities for immigrants now are Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix, Arizona, and Orlando, Florida.
The Brookings study reports that the white population has dropped in more than one hundred cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, California. The report says that many retired white Americans are moving to smaller places in western states like Utah and Idaho.
The Brookings study also reports a return to the South for many African-Americans. Fewer are moving to states traditionally considered part of the "Old South," like Mississippi and Alabama. Instead, many are settling in "New South" states, like Texas, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The top city for African-Americans in the South is Atlanta, Georgia.
Mr. Frey says this move toward more diversity in American cities is likely to continue. He says there are more minority children than white children under the age of fifteen in almost one-third of the country's largest cities.
To learn about population growth around the world, listen to the Special English program Explorations on Wednesday.
Our listener question today comes from Ida, a student at a middle school in China. Ida asks how Americans celebrate the Christian holiday of Easter. Easter is the day that most Christians believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead more than two thousand years ago.
Easter is the major celebration of the Christian church. American Christians observe Easter on a Sunday in spring. This year, Western Christians will celebrate Easter this Sunday. Orthodox Christians will observe the holiday a week later. The meaning of Easter, however, is the same.
Thousands of American churches hold services in the open air at sunrise on Easter morning. Sunrise services usually include members of many Christian religious groups.
Perhaps the most famous outdoor service takes place most years in the Hollywood Bowl, a music center in Los Angeles, California. This is the eighty-fifth anniversary of this Easter sunrise service.
The Hollywood Bowl Easter celebration probably will have even larger attendance than usual this year. For the past two years, repair work on the center made it impossible to hold the event.
Official and unofficial parades are also part of Easter celebrations. People in many cities walk through the streets on Easter morning after church. They wear their new Easter clothes.
Americans also observe Easter customs not directly linked to religious tradition. People celebrate Easter as a cultural holiday that welcomes the season of spring. In colder parts of the country, this means a return of colorful trees and flowers and warmer weather.
Some families color eggs and hide them for children to find. There is a popular story that a rabbit – the Easter bunny – leaves the Easter eggs.
Here in Washington, a celebration takes place each year on the day after Easter on the grounds around the White House. On Monday, President and Missus Bush will welcome children and their parents for the yearly Easter Egg Roll. White House officials say children of all ages are invited to take part.
Some music critics say gospel singer and songwriter Kirk Franklin has changed modern music more than any other artist in recent years. Steve Ember tells us more.
In nineteen ninety-three, the album "Kirk Franklin and the Family" was released. It quickly became very popular. It was the first time a new gospel album had ever sold more than one million copies. The success of Kirk Franklin's albums caused a major change in the music industry. Every major record company created a gospel music division.
Kirk Franklin released a new album recently. It is called "Hero." He and his singers perform the song "Imagine Me."
Kirk Franklin's songs are designed to provide messages of hope for young people. However, people of all ages enjoy his lively music. Franklin rarely sings. He says he is not a good singer. Instead, he speaks while the choir sings, as in this song, "Could've Been."
Many people say Kirk Franklin gets better and better with each album. Some say "Hero" is his best work ever. We leave you with the hit song from that album, "Looking For You."
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
Our show was written by Jill Moss, Jeri Watson and Lawan Davis who was also our producer.
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