This review examines empirical research about American national identity. It focuses on the social and political causes and consequences of () how people define what being American means and () their degree of attachment to being American. It explains why scholars increasingly view American identity as a social identity and reviews arguments for why political scientists should investigate American identity as both an independent and a dependent variable. Existing research documents a high degree of consensus across demographic groups regarding how American identity is defined. It also reveals both beneficial and harmful consequences of people strongly identifying as American. Empirical inquiries of American identity are motivated by demographic trends, especially the rise in immigration-driven diversity, but they are also deeply grounded in historical and philosophical assessments of the nature of American identity, and such scholarship is also discussed throughout the review.


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