German Migration to the USA

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Ethnic German Migration in the USA

Germans arrived in America during three broadly-drawn periods:
1683-1820 - This emigration was largely caused by religious persecutions following from the changes wrought by the Thirty Years War, and by economic hardship. Many were Protestants from the Palatinate area of Germany.
1820-1871 - Economic hardships, including those caused by unemployment, crop failure and starvation, was the primary cause of emigration during this period, in combination with wars and military service. Most of the emigrants came from Alsace-Lorraine, Baden, Hessen, Rheinland, and Württemberg.
1871-1914 - Emigration became more affordable during this period, as well as much more common. All areas of Germany contributed, including Prussia. Virtually all the German-Russians came during this time frame.

October 6th is German-American Day.

USA on-line map - MapQuest.com mapping web site.


The 1880 distribution of the foreign elements in the USA, observing (1) where they have settled in greatest proportions, and (2) how the principal immigrant nationalities have grouped themselves.
Of all the States and territories, the one having the largest proportion of inhabitants of foreign birth is Nevada, where the natives in 1880 were 58.8% of the population, and the foreign-born was 41.1%. The State or territory having the smallest percentage of persons of foreign birth was North Carolina, with only one-fourth of one percent. foreign-born. After Nevada, in proportion of foreign population, is Arizona, where 40% of the people are of foreign birth, mainly Mexican. Next below Arizona is Dakota, with 38.4% of the people of foreign birth. Next comes Minnesota, with 34.3% foreign; next California, with 33.9% foreign; next Wisconsin, 30.9% foreign; next Utah, 30.5%; next Montana, 29.5%; next Wyoming, 28.7%; next Rhode Island, 26.8%; next Massachusetts, 24.9%; then New York, 23.9%.
From here the scale descends steadily. We find the Northern States, from causes well known, drawing nearly all the immigration. Not one of the former slave States has 10% of foreign-born people; most of them have less than 5%, and several less than one. Taking the Southern States through, the proportion of inhabitants of foreign birth is about four in one hundred.
The distribution of the various foreign elements, their choice of surroundings best suited to their needs and ambitions, is of interest as revealing their own character, and as exercising an influence upon the destiny of the States of the Union. Let us take the nationalities in the order of their numerical strength in the whole country, and observe the proportion in which they are found in the various States and territories.
The natives of the present German Empire form the most numerous element in our foreign population. They numbered, in 1880, 1,966,742, which was 3.9 per cent. of the whole population. This number is, of course, exclusive of the natives of the Grand Duchy of Austria and of German Switzerland, who may be considered, in this enumeration, as fairly offsetting those natives of the German Empire among the immigrants (Poles, Jews, and a few others) who are not German by race. The Germans are distributed among the States and territories as follows, in the order of their number in each:

______________________
STATE         POPULATION

New York.........355,913 
Illinois.........235,786  
Ohio.............192,597 
Wisconsin........184,328 
Pennsylvania.....168,426 
Missouri.........106,500 
Michigan..........89,085 
Iowa..............88,268 
Indiana...........80,756 
Minnesota.........66,592 
New Jersey........64,935 
Maryland..........45,481 
California........42,532 
Texas.............35,347 
Nebraska..........31,125 
Kentucky..........30,413 
Kansas............28,034 
Louisiana.........17,475
Massachusetts.....16,872 
Connecticut.......15,627 
West Virginia......7,029 
Colorado...........7,012
Dakota.............5,925 
Dist. of Columbia..5,055
Oregon.............5,034
Tennessee..........3,983
Virginia...........3,759
Arkansas...........3,620
Alabama............3,238
Georgia............2,965
South Carolina.....2,846
Mississippi........2,556
Nevada.............2,213
Washington ........2,198
Rhode Island.......1,966
Montana............1,705
Delaware...........1,179
Arizona............1,110
Florida..............978
North Carolina.......950
Utah.................885
Wyoming..............801
New Hampshire........789
Idaho................750
New Mexico...........729
Maine................688
Vermont..............396

Looking down the table, we see that we quickly leave the sea-board. The Germans, for the most part, have a desire to become cultivators and proprietors. They are thinly represented in manufacturing communities, and strongly in agricultural and trading communities. The mining districts have very few of them. Although New York has the largest number of Germans of all the States, she has not the largest proportion of them. What we may call the German character of the States and territories may be exhibited by a table of the percentages of inhabitants of German birth in all the States and territories having at least one per cent. of their population born in the German Empire:

____________________
STATE       PERCENTAGE

Wisconsin.........14.0
Minnesota..........7.6
Illinois...........7.0 
New York...........6.8
Nebraska...........6.0  
Ohio...............5.7      
New Jersey.........5.4
Iowa...............5.4
Michigan...........4.9
California.........4.9
Missouri...........4.8
Maryland...........4.3
Dakota.............4.3   
Montana............4.3
Indiana............4.0
Pennsylvania.......3.9
Colorado...........3.6
Nevada.............3.5
Washington.........2.9
Kansas.............2.8
Dist. of Columbia..2.8
Oregon.............2.8
Arizona............2.7
Connecticut........2.5
Texas..............2.2
Kentucky...........1.8
Louisiana..........1.8
West Virginia......1.1

This shows Wisconsin to be, by a very large proportion, the most German of our States. The States having the largest German-born percentages are, with the exception of New York and New Jersey, geographically in a group. They are Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, and Nebraska. It is here that the future population must be most strongly impressed with the German type.
The Irish-born, who,1,854,571 in number (3.7% of the whole population), form the next strongest foreign element. We find 1,178,452 of the Irish, or 63% of them, in the Atlantic sea-board States north of North Carolina, leaving one-third of the Irish-born to be scattered over the rest of the country. The Irishman comes to this country with a less definite purpose than the German. His ambition, his dream, has been simply to reach our shores, and his life of misery upon the soil in Ireland has disinclined him to agriculture. His exuberant fancy has led him, moreover, to picture life everywhere in America as easy and prosperous. His love of movement and the spectacular is charmed by the magnificence of the eastern cities. Too often he is penniless. He becomes the drudge of the cities’ streets and of the coalmines and cotton mills.
Next in order are the immigrants from Great Britain, English, Scotch, and Welsh, in number 917,598. A certain proportion of these, but a proportion not ascertainable from figures so far made public by the 1880 Census Bureau, are not Britannic in race, but Irish, being born in English manufacturing cities of Irish parents; and they become a part of the Irish element in our national structure. These are, of course, set down to their proper element in the figures giving parent nativity.
The British we find distributed rather more evenly than the Irish and Germans; a smaller proportion than of the former, and a larger proportion than of the latter, remaining upon the sea-board. The heaviest proportionate British population is, we find, in the Western territories, where the English form a large contingent of the working miners. In Utah they are especially strong, owing to the success of the Mormon propaganda in Great Britain.

There was noticable migration to the "German Triangle", St. Louis - Milwaukee - Cincinnati, and to the very German areas in Mid Missouri.

The 1990 and 2000 United States Census long form asked people to write in their ancestry or ethnic origin. In 2000 7% wrote simply "American." The most frequently reported ancestry in the US was German. In 1900, nearly one fourth of the American people (58 million) considered themselves to be of German or part German ancestry. The total US population in 1990 was 248.7 million and 273.6 million in 2000.

The Top USA Ethnic Groups in 1990 and 2000

2000 USA Census - 273.6 Million

 

1990 USA Census - 248.7 Million

German

17%

46.5 million

German

23%

58 million

Hispanic or Latino*

13%

34.3 million

Irish

16%

39 million

Afro-American

12%

33.9 million

English

13%

33 million

Irish

12%

33.1 million

Afro-American

10%

24 million

English

10%

28.3 million

Italian

6%

15 million

American

7%

19.6 million

American

5%

12 million

Italian

6%

15.9 million

Mexican

5%

12 million

Asian

4%

11.7 million

French

4%

10 million

French

4%

9.8 million

Polish

4%

9 million

Polish

3%

9.0 million

American Indian

4%

9 million

Scottish

2%

5.4 million

Dutch

3%

6 million

Scotch-Irish

2%

5.2 million

Scotch-Irish

2%

6 million

Dutch

2%

5.2 million

Scottish

2%

5 million

Norwegian

2%

4.5 million

Swedish

2%

5 million

Swedish

2%

4.3 million

Norwegian

2%

4 million

American Indian

2%

4.1 million

 

*Includes Mexican (21.5 million), Puerto Rican (3.5 million), Cuban (1.2 million) and "Other Hispanic or Latino" (8.1 million)


ROLL Reunion

"The German is like a willow.
No matter which way you bend him,
he will always take root again."
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn -


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