About 80 percent of Americans are descended from people of European ethnicity. The short summaries that follow present information on the population, distribution, migration History, and cultural persistence of thirty-seven European ethnic groups in the United States. Appended to some summaries are short lists of publications, most of which are recent Studies of a particular ethnic community or a general historical or cultural survey of the ethnic group. Some of the information in these summaries is derived from The Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups and We the People. These are the basic reference resources for information about American ethnic groups and should be consulted for additional information and references.

See also Acadians , Amish , Appalachians , Basques , Doukhobors , French Canadians , Hasidim , Hutterites , Irish Travelers , Jews , Mennonites , Molokans, Mormons , Old Believers , Ozarks , Peripatetics , Rom , Shakers

ALBANIANS. In 1980, 21,687 Americans claimed Albanian ethnic ancestry and another 16,971 claimed Albanian and other ethnic ancestry. Because of underreporting in the past, this is likely an undercount, with Americans of Albanian ancestry probably numbering no less than 70,000. Pre-World War II Albania was inhabited by two major cultural groups—the Ghegs (Gegs) in the mountainous North and the Tosks (Toscs) in the South. Both groups spoke mutually intelligible dialects of Albanian, although there were clear economic, religious, and social differences between the two groups. In the United States, in-group variation is reflected more in religious differences (Greek Orthodox, Muslim, Roman Catholic) than in the Gheg/Tosk dichotomy. Most Albanians settled in the United States in the early 1900s, with Boston the major community. Other communities formed in Detroit, Chicago, Worcester (Massachusetts), and Connecticut. After World War II, a community of Catholic Albanians formed in the Bronx, New York, and continues to exist as a distinct ethnic enclave. The traditional culture centered on the patriarchal family, a strong sense of family honor, clans, and blood feuds has mostly given way to an American middle-class life-style. But a strong sense of Albanian identity survives through ethnic associations, the church, traditional celebrations and foods, and kin ties. Albanian political identity is perhaps centered more on concern over the status of Albanians in the Kosovo region of Serbian Yugoslavia than on anticommunism.


Nagi, Dennis L. (1987). The Albanian-American Odyssey: A Pilot Study of the Albanian Community of Boston, Massachusetts. New York: AMS Press.

ARMENIANS. In 1980, 155,693 Americans claimed Armenian ancestry and another 56,928 claimed Armenian and other ethnic ancestry. In Europe and the Near and Middle East, Armenians have lived under the control of the Turks, Russians, and Iranians and have formed distinct ethnic Minorities in countries such as Lebanon. Economic and cultural variations among Armenian groups in these locales was transferred by Armenian immigrants to the United States. Industrial cities in the East and Midwest, the California central Valley, and Los Angeles are major Armenian population centers, with 42 percent of Armenian-Americans in 1980 living in California. Settlers in industrial cities first worked in the steel, automobile, and textile industries, but quickly moved up the economic ladder, using business and technical skills brought with them from Armenia to the New World. The first Armenians in central California were farm workers, and they, too, quickly moved up the economic ladder, as shop and landowners. In both locations, the rapid economic mobility was accompanied by rapid assimilation, reflected in the loss of the Armenian language and a high rate of intermarriage. The most recent arrivals are those who have emigrated from the Soviet Union (and indirectly from Turkey and the Middle East) since 1976 to the Los Angeles area. Since the 1960s, there has been a strong ethnic revival reflected in Armenian schools, language programs, contacts with Armenians in the Soviet Union, and concern over the continuing Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict there.


Henry, Sheila A. (1978). Cultural Persistence and SocioEconomic Mobility: A Comparative Study of Assimilation among Armenians and Japanese in Los Angeles, San Francisco: R and E Research Associates.

Mirak, Robert (1983). Torn between Two Lands: Armenians in America, 1890 to World War I. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Phillips, Jenny K. (1987). Symbol Myth, and Rhetoric: The Politics of Culture in an Armenian-American Population. New York: AMS Press.

Rollins, Joan H., ed. (1981). Hidden Minorities: The Persistence of Ethnicity in American Life. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America.

AUSTRIANS. In 1980, 339,789 Americans claimed Austrian ancestry and another 608,769 claimed Austrian and other ancestry. Unlike many other Euopean nations, Austria was not formed on a distinct ethnic population base, and thus Austrians are more accurately described as a nationality than as an ethnic group. Austrians who have settled in the United States, including a sizable minority of Jews, have assimilated rapidly into American society and tend to see their Austrian identity as a variant of German identity.

See also Germans

BELGIANS. In 1980 there were 122,814 Americans who claimed Belgian ancestry and another 237,463 who claimed Belgian and other ethnic ancestry. The nation of Belgium was and is inhabited by two distinct groups—the Flemish in the coastal northwest (in the region commonly called Flanders), who speak a language closely related to Dutch, and the Walloons in the east and southeast, who speak French. This distinction has been maintained in the United States and is reflected in the separate settlements established by immigrants from each group in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Most of the pre-1920 immigrants were Flemish and they tended to settle in areas already settled by the Dutch (especially in Michigan and Wisconsin), although they were often excluded from Dutch communities because of Dutch anti-Catholicism. Walloons tended to settle near French or French-Canadian communities, and the large Walloon Community near Green Bay, Wisconsin, began in this way. Although some features of Walloon or Flemish culture survived into the mid-twentieth century such as cycling clubs, choral societies, and community newspapers, both groups are now largely assimilated into American society and are seen by Others as of Belgian rather than of distinctively Flemish or Walloon ancestry.

BYELORUSSIANS. (Belorussians, Kryvians, White Russians, White Ruthenians). There are about 200,000 people of Byelorussian ethnic ancestry in the United States today. This is very likely an underestimate, as those who arrived prior to World War I (and whose descendants are the majority of Byelorussians in the United States today) were identified as either Russians or Poles. Byelorussia is the region that today is located in the Soviet Union south and east of Lithuania and Latvia. As with many peoples from Eastern Europe, the Byelorussians arrived in two major waves: 1880 to World War I and after World War II. Both groups tended to settle in large industrial cities in the Northeast and Midwest. The descendants of the first wave are now much assimilated into American society. Those who arrived after World War II and their children have emphasized their Byelorussian identity through formation of their own church communities, parochial schools, associations, anti-Soviet sentiment, a language preservation program, and the celebration of ethnic holidays and life-cycle events following traditional customs.


Kipel, Vitaut (1982). Byelorussian Americans and Their Communities of Cleveland. Cleveland: Cleveland State University.

CARPATHO-RUSYNS. (Carpatho-Russians, Carpatho-Ukrainians, Rusnaks, Ruthenians, Uhro-Rusyns). Carpatho-Rusyns in the United States today are mainly third-or fourth-generation descendants of Carpatho-Rusyns who immigrated to North America between 1880 and 1914. Carpatho-Rusyns spoke East Slavic dialects closely related to Ukrainian. In 1980 about 600,000 Americans were of Carpatho-Rusyn ancestry, although only 8,485 claimed such ancestry in the 1980 census. This is in part because many identify themselves as Ukrainians or Russians and because the U.S. census no longer considers the Carpatho-Rusyns as a distinct group. The homeland of the Carpatho-Rusyns is the Carpathian mountains in what are the modern nations of Poland and Czechoslovakia and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Initial settlement was in the mining and industrial regions of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, and Connecticut. Ethnic identity was closely tied to their identity as Eastern Christians, expressed through membership in the Byzantine Rite Catholic church or Orthodox churches. Carpatho-Rusyn services contained a number of unique practices, most notably a liturgical chant using folk melodies still sung by groups today. Partly because of the absence of a distinct country of national origin, a sense of Carpatho-Rusyn ethnic identity has largely disappeared in the United States. In the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, people of Carpatho-Rusyn ancestry now see themselves as Ukrainians. In 1931, a subgroup called the Lemkians, composed of people from the Lemkian region of southeastern Poland formed a separate ethnic association. They have made a strong effort to maintain their ethnic identity through an active press, Concern about their national identity, and the maintenance of some traditional practices.

See also Ukrainians


Magocsi, Paul R. (1984). Our People: Carpatho-Rusyns and Their Descendants in North America. Toronto: Multicultural History Society of Ontario.

CROATS (Croatians). In 1980, 107,855 Americans claimed Croatian ancestry and another 145,115 claimed Croatian and other ethnic ancestry. This is probably a gross undercount, as many Croats are identified as Yugoslavians or Serbs. A figure of at least 500,000 is probably a more accurate estimate of the number of people of Croatian ancestry in the United States. Croatia is one of the six constituent republics of the modern nation of Yugoslavia. The U.S. census has Usually classified Dalmatians, who live on the Adriatic coast of Yugoslavia, as Croats. In the late 1700s and early 1800s Dalmatian fishermen settled in Louisiana, where they were able to continue their maritime traditions. The major migration of Croats occurred between 1880 and World War I when they formed Croatian communities in industrial and mining towns and cities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. Most Croats are Roman Catholic, although church Membership did not play a major role in the establishment of Croatian communities as it did with other groups. Croats have assimilated more slowly into American society than many other groups, and it was not until the mid-1950s that inner-city Croatian neighborhoods began to break up through outMigration to the suburbs. Factors involved in the maintenance of Croat communities were strong extended family ties and a pattern of sons settling in the same community and working in the same factories as their fathers. Since World War II at least 60,000 Croats have settled in the United States and have led a renewal of Croat ethnic identity, through ties maintained with the homeland and a revitalized Croatian press.


Bennett, Linda (1978). Personal Choice in Ethnic Identity Maintenance: Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in Washington. Palo Alto, Calif.: R and E Research Associates.

Kraljec, Francis (1978). Croation Migration to and from the United States. Palo Alto, Calif.: Ragusan.

Prpic, G. J. (1978). South Slavic Immigration in America. Boston: Twayne.

CZECHS. In 1980, 788,724 Americans claimed Czech ancestry and another 1,103,732 claimed Czech and other ethnic ancestry. This figure may be somewhat inflated as it includes both ethnic Czechs and Czechoslovaks, some of whom may be ethnically Slovak rather than Czech. Czechs in the United States today are mainly descendants of people who emigrated from Bohemia and Moravia between 1850 and 1914, the two major regions of the Czech area of the nation of Czechoslovakia. Czechs settled both in farming Communities (in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, and Texas) and in cities (New York, Cleveland, Chicago, and Omaha). Czech settlers differed from other European ethnic groups in a number of ways. First, they had an unusually low return-migration rate. Second, many left the Roman Catholic church and either converted to Protestantism or eschewed formal religious affilation altogether. Third, although they never were a unified group, they assimilated relatively slowly, in part because of values that stressed Individual and family self-reliance and because of ties to the homeland. After the 1920s, Czech identity began to weaken as few new immigrants arrived, children attended public schools, and intermarriage became common.

After the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1948, 35,000 Czechoslovakians fled to the United States and an additional 10,000 or so arrived after the failed 1968 Revolution. These groups contained many professionals who often stayed apart from the established Czech communities in the United States. The Czech presence still reflects considerable internal diversity (rural/urban, early/later immigrants).


Bicha, Karel D. (1980). "Community of Cooperation? The Case of the Czech-Americans." In Studies in Ethnicity: The East European Experience in America, edited by C. A. Ward, P. Shashko, and D. E. Pienkos, 93-102. Boulder: East European Monographs.

Jerabek, Esther (1976). Czechs and Slovaks in North America: A Bibliography. New York: Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences in America.

Skrabanek, R. L. (1985). Were Czechs. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.

DANES. In 1980, 428,619 Americans claimed Danish ancestry and another 1,089,654 claimed Danish and other ancestry. Most Danes immigrated to the United States in the last half of the nineteenth century. Mormon missionaries were active in Denmark after 1850, and a sizable contingent of Danes settled in farm communities in Utah and southern Idaho. The descendants of these Danish Mormons account today for about 9 percent of Danes in the United States. Most immigrants settled in the Midwest, primarily in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. There is also a sizable Danish ancestry population in California, mostly the product of migration west following initial settlement elsewhere. Danes assimilated more quickly than other Scandinavian peoples, in part because of their relatively few numbers and wide dispersal, which encouraged marriage to non-Danes and a more rapid loss of the Danish language and adoption of English. Today, a sense of Danish ethnicity survives through the Dansk Samvirke (the Association of Danes Abroad), tours to Denmark, and Danish customs as part of the Christmas celebration.


Hale, Frederick, ed. (1984). Danes in North America. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Mackintosh, Jette (1988). "'Little Denmark' on the Prairie: A Study of the Towns of Elk Horn and Kimballton in Iowa." Journal of American Ethnic History 7:46-68.

Nielsen, George R. (1981). The Danish Americans. Boston: Twayne.

DUTCH. In 1980, 1,404,794 Americans claimed Dutch ancestry and another 4,899,705 claimed Dutch and other ethnic ancestry. In the United States, Frisians, who form a distinct ethnic group in the Netherlands and West Germany are classified as Dutch. After Henry Hudson "discovered" the Hudson River during his exploration of 1610-1611, the Dutch established the colony of New Netherland in the Hudson and Delaware river valleys and the city of New Amsterdam on lower Manhattan Island. Following the loss of the colony to the English in 1664, some Dutch settlers removed to adjacent areas in what are now New York State and New Jersey. Many people of Dutch ancestry still live in these areas, although their numbers have been swelled by later Dutch Immigrants who worked in the factories in northern New Jersey. Most Dutch immigrants (80 percent) were Protestants, with the densest concentration being Dutch Calvinists who continue to be a major political-economic-social force in a four-hundred-square-mile region of southwestern Michigan. The major concentration of Dutch Roman Catholics is found across Lake Michigan in eastern Wisconsin. Other Dutch settlements were started and continue to flourish in Bozeman, Montana, and northwestern Washington State. The most Recent Dutch immigrants are mostly native Indonesians who fled to the Netherlands from their country in the 1960s, with some subsequently immigrating to the United States. The large number of negative phrases with the word Dutch such as Dutch treat or Dutch courage can be attributed to the anti-Dutch sentiments of the early English colonists.


Bratt, James D. (1984). Dutch Calvinism in Modern America: A History of a Conservative Subculture. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans.

Swierenga, Robert P., ed. (1985). The Dutch in America: Immigration, Settlement, and Cultural Change, New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.

Van Hinte, Jacob (1985). Netherlanders in America: A Study of Emigration and Settlement in the 19th and 20th Centuries in the United States of America. Robert P. Swierenga, general editor. Adriaan de Wit, chief translator. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House.

ENGLISH. In 1980, 23,748,772 Americans claimed English ancestry and another 25,849,263 claimed English along with other ethnic ancestry. These figures include those claiming Cornish ancestry but not those of Manx ancestry, who numbered 50,000 in 1970. Americans of English ancestry are sometimes referred to as White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) and those in New England, as Yankees. The English were the primary colonizers of what became the United States and were the major shapers of the American economy, Political system, society, and culture. Although American society is now a blending of beliefs and practices from dozens of Cultures, the most fundamental features of American life, such as the use of the English language and the legal system, reflect English traditions. People of English ancestry are settled across the entire United States with major concentrations in Maine, the Appalachian and Ozark regions, and the Mormon region of Utah and southern Idaho. The few areas with relatively low percentages of English-Americans are New York City, areas of Southwest Texas with large Mexican-American populations, and those sections of Nevada and the Dakotas with large American Indian reservations.

See also Appalachians , Mormons , Ozarks , Shakers


Ewart, Shirley (1987). Cornish Mining Families of Grass Valley, California. New York: AMS Press.

ESTONIANS. Because emigrants from Estonia arriving before 1922 were usually listed as Russians, the number of Estonians who came to the United States and the number of current Estonian-Americans are unknown. Estimates place their number at about 200,000, with over half in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions, 19 percent on the West Coast, and 15 percent in the Great Lakes area. The Homeland is currently the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Estonian language is related to Finnish, and Estonian culture has been strongly influenced by Scandinavian traditions. Most Estonian-Americans are descendants of people who arrived between 1890 and World War I. An influx of about 15,000 Estonians after World War II has both increased the population and stimulated a rebirth of Estonian ethnic identity. The Estonians today are unified by strong nationalistic and anticommunist sentiments and active local, regional, national, and international ethnic associations. At the same time, a high intermarriage rate and a middle-class life-style are drawing many people in the younger generations into mainstream society.


Parming, Tönu, and Imre Lipping (1979). Aspects of Cultural Life. Estonian Heritage in America Series. New York: Estonian Learned Society in America.

Walko, Ann M. (1988). Rejecting the Second-Generation Hypothesis: Maintaining Estonian Ethnicity in Lakewood, New Jersey. New York: AMS Press.

FINNS. In 1980, 267,902 Americans claimed Finnish ancestry and another 347,970 claimed Finnish and other ethnic ancestry. Finnish immigration took place mainly from the 1860s on, with most settling and continuing to live in Northern Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. In 1980, 38 percent of Finnish-Americans lived in this area. The original lure for many Finnish men was work in mining and the sawmills and on the railroads, although many eventually established small farms. Up to about 1920, Finnish identity remained strong and was maintained by the interlocking ties of churches, temperance groups, labor unions, and political parties. The membership and influence of these groups, however, waned after 1920, leading to rapid assimilation.


Finnish Americana: A Journal of Finnish American History and Culture. New York Mills, Minnesota. Kivitso, Peter (1984). Immigrant Socialists in the United States: The Case of Finns and the Left. London, Ontario, and Toronto: Associated Universities Press.

FRENCH. In 1980, 3,504,542 Americans claimed French ancestry and another 10,168,192 claimed French and other ethnic ancestry. The general category of Americans of French ancestry includes people of French, French-Canadian, Acadian (Cajun), and Creole ancestry. It can also be stretched to include Bretons, Alsatians, and French Basques, although these groups are not French-speaking nor do they identify themselves as French; they are simply from areas that are today located in France. The two largest groups are the French-Canadians and those of direct French ancestry; the former outnumber the latter by a ratio of five to two. People who emigrated directly from France often came alone or in small groups and were rapidly assimilated into the general population through both intermarriage and wide dispersal, with a significant number settling in California. Those from the other French cultural traditions have tended to maintain their traditional culture for longer periods of time.

La Salle claimed what is now Louisiana for France in 1682, and Louisiana has since been known as the "French" region of the United States. The French influence in Louisiana is seen in the continued use of French in some areas, adherence to Roman Catholicism, French-style architecture and cuisine, and so on. This region was first settled by French-Canadians, who traveled down the Mississippi River and settled New Orleans, and then by Acadians, who fled from eastern Canada and numbered over 1,000 in Louisiana by 1800. Some of the Acadians eventually returned to Canada, but most remained in Louisiana and are today called Cajuns. They reside mostly in a region centered around Lafayette. These groups were added to by French arriving directly from France and French Creoles, Whites, and Blacks from French Caribbean colonies, most important, Saint Dominique (Haiti). In their travels south, the French Canadians also founded other French settlements including a number in Missouri.

The Northeast is the second major area of French settlement in the United States, with people of French-Canadian ancestry found in large numbers in the northern sections of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. The first French-Canadian settlers were mostly farmers, loggers, and traders. After 1860 they began moving farther south and found factory work in the leather goods, jewelry, cutlery, and brick industries that flourished in New England. They fought hard to maintain their French-Canadian heritage through inmarriage, residential isolation in distinctively French Neighborhoods, use of the French language, and Roman Catholic parochial schools. But with the demise by the mid-twentieth century of the industries in which they worked, isolation from mainstream society became more difficult and assimilation increased.

See also Acadians , Cajuns , Black Creoles of Louisiana , French Canadians , Haitians


Brault, Gerard J. (1986). The French-Canadian Heritage in New England. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England.

Breton, Raymond, and Pierre Savard, eds. (1982). The Quebec and Acadian Diaspora in North America. Toronto: Multi-cultural History Society of Ontario.

Carroll, R. (1987). Cultural Misunderstanding: The French-American Experience. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Domínguez, Virginia R. (1986). White by Definition: Social Classification in Creole Louisiana. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.

GERMANS. In 1980, 17,943,485 Americans claimed German ancestry and another 31,280,661 claimed German and other ethnic ancestry. Next to the English, the Germans are the largest ethnic population group in the United States. German immigration began in the 1600s, was especially heavy during the early and mid-nineteenth century, peaking in the 1890s. Because relatively few Germans have arrived since then, most of them in the United States today are third-or fourth-generation Germans. Germans settled in rural areas, small cities, and urban centers. Today, areas with heavy German populations include Pennsylvania, southeastern Wisconsin, south-central Texas, and the Midwest. During the twentieth century, there has been a movement from rural areas to cities, with most recent arrivals also settling in cities.

Despite their large numbers and long settlement history, Germans are among the most assimilated of all European ethnic groups, and German neighborhoods, publications, associations, architecture, meeting halls, and so on have mostly disappeared. A number of factors account for this assimilation. First, German immigrants never formed a homogeneous linguistic, religious, or cultural group. Second, the early peaking of immigration in the 1890s means that few first- or second-generation Germans live in the United States. And, third, for some Germans, German ethnicity was a means to economic and political ends and, thus, became less important when German identity was not helpful such as during and after World Wars I and II.

A distinct group who have maintained their ethnic identity are the German-Russians (Russian-Germans, Germans from Russia). German-Russians are German-speaking Peoples whose ancestors settled in the Volga and Black Sea Regions of Russia in the 1700s. In the late 1800s, many of the Germans in Russia left in order to find political and religious freedom elsewhere. By the 1920s, at least 300,000 had settled in the United States. Those from the Volga region settled in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska where many were involved in sugar beet agriculture and processing. Many of those from north of the Black Sea became wheat farmers in the Dakotas. Today, there are over a million German-Russians in the United States. Their long tradition of independence, residential localizations, and desire to stay separate from other Germans has enabled them to maintain their distinct ethnic identity.

See also Amish , Austrians , Hutterites , Mennonites , Pennsylvania Dutch, Sorbs , Swiss


America and the Germans: An Assessment of a Three-Hundred-Year History. (1986). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Arends, S. F. (1989). The Central Dakota Germans: Their History, Language, and Culture. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Miller, Randall M., ed. (1984). Germans in America: Retrospect and Prospect. Philadelphia: German Society of Pennsylvania.

Prewitt, Terry J. (1988). German-American Settlement in an Oklahoma Town: Ecological, Ethnic and Cultural Change. New York: AMS Press.

Rippley, LaVern J. (1976). The German-Americans. Boston: Twayne.

Sallet, Richard (1974). Russian-German Settlements in the United States. Translated by LaVern J. Rippley and Armand Bauer. Fargo: North Dakota Institute of Regional Studies.

GREEKS. In 1980, 615,882 Americans claimed Greek ancestry and another 343,974 claimed Greek and other Ethnic ancestry. The nearly two-to-one ratio of full to partial Greek ancestry indicates that Greek-Americans continue to stress their Greek cultural identity. The first Greek Immigrants arrived in Florida in 1768, although the current Greek-American population is composed mostly of the descendants of emigrants from Greece who arrived in the United States between 1880 and 1920. Greek-Americans were and remain a largely urban group and at 93 percent, have the highest urban-suburban settlement rate of any European-American group. Major concentrations of Greek-Americans live today in and around New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Tarpon Springs, Florida, with sizable populations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Houston. In some locations the Greek population is associated with a particular economic specialization such as sponge fishing in Tarpon Springs and restaurant ownership in New England. Although Greektowns were never as prevalent as other ethnic enclaves, Greek identity was and is maintained through male socialization at coffeehouses, the Greek Orthodox religion and church, a strict division of labor with men working outside and women in the home, the continued use of the Greek language, marriage within the group, and Economic cooperation among Greek-American businesspeople.


Georgakais, D. (1987). "The Greeks in America." Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 14:131-143.

Kiriazis, James W. (1989). Children of the Colossus: The Rhodian Greek Immigrants in the United States. New York: AMS Press.

Patterson, George J., Jr. (1988). The Unassimilated Greeks of Denver. New York: AMS Press.

Psomiades, Harry J., and Alice Scourby (1982). The Greek American Community in Transition. New York: Pella Publishing.

Scourby, Alice (1984). The Greek Americans. Boston: Twayne.

HUNGARIANS. In 1980, 727,223 Americans claimed Hungarian and another 1,049,679 claimed Hungarian and other ethnic ancestry. Hungarians, also called Magyars, are ethnic Hungarians. The label "Hungarian" also sometimes includes people of Romanian, Slovak, Polish, Ukrainian, German, or Jewish ancestry who lived in what was the large territory that was Hungary prior to World War I. Ethnic Hungarians who came to the United States mostly between 1880 and World War I also displayed religious variation, with about 60 percent being Roman Catholic and the others Protestant, Greek Christian, and Eastern Orthodox. The Immigrants, many of whom were single men, settled in regions offering the opportunity of heavy industrial work such as mining and steel production. Thus, the majority settled in four states—New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Since 1950 there has been a gradual dispersal of Hungarians, especially to California and the South. The revolution against communist rule in Hungary in 1956 led the U.S. Government to allow 35,000 Hungarians to immigrate since then. Better educated than Hungarians already settled in the United States, they tended to assimilate quickly into the American economy. Hungarians never established distinct neighborhoods comparable to those of other European Immigrants. Rather, a strong sense of Hungarian identity resulted from the putting aside of religious and regional differences for economic solidarity and the formation of insurance associations, churches, and Magyar-language newspapers. Hungarian identity was further strengthened by Hungarian government programs designed to prevent assimilation in the United States and to encourage a return to Hungary. World War I was the effective end of this strong sense of Hungarian ethnicity in the United States, as Austro-Hungary was the enemy. After the war, ties to Hungary (now substantially reduced in size) weakened, and by the Second World War, English had essentially replaced or existed alongside Magyar in Hungarian associations, churches, newspapers, and schools. Although the post-1956 arrivals have remained concerned about Hungary and have been strongly anticommunist, their presence has not produced a rebirth of Hungarian ethnicity.


Vardy, Steven B. (1985). The Hungarian-Americans. Boston: Twayne.

Weinberg, Daniel E. (1977). "Ethnic Identity in Industrial Cleveland: The Hungarians, 1900-1920." Ohio History 86:171-186.

IRISH. In 1980, 10,337,353 Americans claimed Irish ancestry and another 29,828,349 claimed Irish and other ethnic ancestry. Included in these figures are 17,000 people who claimed Scots-Irish identity (Northern Irish, Ulster Scots) who are mostly descended from Irish Protestants who settled in North America in the 1700s. This is probably a gross undercount as over half of the Irish in the United States are Protestants, and most of these are likely descended from the 1700s immigrants. Most people of Scots-Irish ancestry live in the rural South, Appalachia, and the Ozarks. Any unique Scots-Irish identity has now been lost, and they are generally lumped and lump themselves with other Americans of either Irish or English ancestry.

People thought of as ethnic Irish in the United States today are the descendants of the Roman Catholic Irish who arrived mainly between 1830 and World War I. Many of these immigrants were poor and fled to the United States to escape famine in Ireland. They formed distinctively Irish neighborhoods in eastern and midwestern cities, often centered around the parish church and large, stable families dominated by the wife/mother. It was in reference to these urban Catholic Irish that the negative stereotype of the drunken, violent Irishman developed. Involvement in the Roman Catholic church through social assistance programs, parochial schools, colleges and universities, and local and national Religious leaders and involvement in local politics brought the Irish into the mainstream of American society. These involvements also benefited the Irish community and have given them much influence in American life.

The Irish are now dispersed across the United States in a pattern typical of the general American population. They were and remain a strongly urban-suburban group, however, with major concentrations in the Mid-Atlantic states, New England, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Despite their settlement across the nation, Irish cultural identity and influence on American society remains strong.


Akenson, Donald H. (1985). Being Bad: Historians, Evidence, and the Irish in North America. Port Credit, Ontario: P. D. Meany.

Cahill, Kevin M., ed. (1984). The Irish American Revival Port Washington, N.Y.: Associated Faculty Press.

Clark, Dennis (1986). Hibernia America: The Irish and Regional Cultures. Westport, Conn.: Westview Press.

Greeley, Andrew M. (1982). The Irish Americans. New York: Harper and Row.

McCaffrey, Lawrence J., Ellen Skerrett, Michael F. Funchion, and Charles Fanning (1987). The Irish in Chicago. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Miller, Kerby A. (1985). Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America. New York: Oxford University Press.

ITALIANS. In 1980, 6,883,320 Americans claimed Italian ethnic ancestry and another 5,300,372 claimed Italian and other ethnic ancestry. Italian immigration to the United States can be divided into two periods. Prior to 1880, most immigrants were from northern Italy (Tuscany, Lombardy, Piedmont) and represented only a minority of those coming to the New World, with most settling in Brazil and Argentina. Most of the men were skilled craftsmen (masons and stone-cutters), and the families lived in small communities often composed of people from the same town in Italy. The second period, beginning in 1880 and continuing to World War I, was a time of major Italian immigration to and settlement in the United States. After 1880 most Italian immigrants were poor men or families from the southern provinces and Sicily. In competition for low-level factory jobs with Eastern European immigrants, the Italians tended to settle in cities where the Eastern Europeans were less numerous. Thus, Italian communities formed in Portland, Maine; Rochester, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Newark, New Jersey; New Castle, Pennsylvania; Staten Island, New York; Chicago, Illinois; and New York City. Other Italian communities formed in midwestern cities, and a few farming communities formed in central California, Louisiana, Illinois, and Arkansas. But the Italian immigrants were mostly an urban group, with at least 85 percent settling in cities.

Italy became a unified nation only in 1870; thus Italian immigrants generally felt only a weak identity with Italy and lacked an overarching cultural tradition typical of other Immigrant groups. This led to two unique developments in the United States. First, strong ties were maintained with the town from which emigration took place, and a weaker sense of Italian identity prevailed. Second, within the first two Generations of settlement, a syncretic Italian-American culture developed in the United States. Key features of the new cultural identity were an Americanized dialect of Italian that replaced the regional languages and dialects, a distinctly Italian tradition within the Irish-dominated American Roman Catholic church featuring a more "emotional-celebratory" set of practices, involvement in local politics, and the formation of associations, banks, and labor unions that served the Italian community. At the same time, the large patriarchal families were giving way to small families, with intermarriage to non-Italian Roman Catholics increasing in frequency.

Assimilation has progressed rapidly since World War II, and the Italians are now a middle-class, urban-suburban group. Although much of the population has shifted to suburbs, distinct Italian neighborhoods remain in many cities, including Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Newark, and Providence. At the same time, the Italian-American cultural identity is maintained through extended family ties, the church, unique food preferences and practices, and a general sense of respect for the family and its oldest members.


Alba, Richard D. (1985). Italian Americans. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Belfiglio, C. V. (1983). Italian Experience in Texas. Austin: Eakin Press.

Cinel, Dino (1982). From Italy to San Francisco: The Immigrant Experience. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

di Leonardo, Micaela (1984). The Varieties of Ethnic Experience: Kinship, Class, and Gender among California Italian-Americans. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Martinelli, Phyllis C. (1987). Ethnicity in the Sunbelt: Italian-American Migrants in Scottsdale, Arizona. New York: AMS Press.

Mormino, Gary R. (1986). Immigrants on the Hill: Italian-Americans in St. Louis, 1882-1982. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Nelli, Humbert S. (1983). From Immigrants to Ethnics: The Italian Americans. New York: Oxford University Press.

Schoener, Allon (1987). The Italian Americans. New York: Macmillan.

Tomasi, Lydio F., ed. (1985). Italian Americans: New Perspectives in Italian Immigration and Ethnicity. New York: Center for Migration Studies.

Tricarico, Donald (1984). The Italians of Greenwich Village. New York: Center for Migration Studies.

LATVIANS. In 1980, 55,563 Americans claimed Latvian ancestry and another 36,578 claimed Latvian and other Ethnic ancestry. Latvians are people who trace their ethnic identity to the territory that is now the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic. Latvian is an Indo-European language closely related only to Lithuanian. Latvians came to the United States in two major migrations. The first group, composed mainly of peasants and artisans looking for better opportunities, emigrated from Russia between 1905 and World War I. They were mostly Lutherans or Baptists and initially took unskilled work in the Northeast and in communities in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Some returned to Latvia after the Russian Revolution, and the descendants of those who remained in the United States are now largely assimilated into American Society. The second group contained about 40,000 emigrants who arrived after World War II, with many classified as displaced persons seeking refuge from war-ravaged Europe and Soviet rule. Because of their more recent arrival and strong Latvian nationalistic feelings, they have resisted assimilation and make up the majority of Latvian-Americans today. About 50 percent still speak Latvian and 85 percent are Members of Latvian ethnic organizations. Latvian culture is a mix of native, Slavic, Scandinavian, and German elements that have been combined over the centuries into a unique Latvian cultural tradition. To outsiders, Latvian culture is most notable for its rich collection of folk songs ( dainas ), unique art and design motifs, and native peasant dress.


Karklis, Maruta, Liga Streips, and Laimonis Streips, comps. (1974). The Latvians in America, 1640-1973: A Chronology and Fact Book. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceania Publications.

LITHUANIANS. In 1980, 339,438 Americans claimed Lithuanian ethnic ancestry and another 403,338 claimed Lithuanian and other ancestry. The majority of Americans of Lithuanian ancestry are descendants of immigrants who settled in the United States between 1880 and World War I. They came mainly from the eastern sections of the territory that is now the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic. Most were Roman Catholics, and they often settled near Polish communities in industrial cities and towns in the Northeast and Midwest where the men worked in the mines and factories. Beginning about 1890, Lithuanians began to distance themselves from the Poles and distinct Lithuanian communities formed around their own parishes, kin and friendship networks, local and national associations, and the Lithuanian-language press. From about 1900 on, their Economic role began changing, as Lithuanians were often involved in labor unions, strikes, and other efforts to improve working conditions. Since then, the Lithuanians have assimilated into American society, though distinct Lithuanian Ethnic enclaves, such as the Marquette Park area of Chicago, still exist. New arrivals after World War I and World War II brought strong nationalistic and anticommunist sentiments with them. Even in this group, however, a distinct Lithuanian cultural identity is disappearing.


Baskauskas, Liucija (1983). An Urban Enclave: Lithuanian Refugees in Los Angeles. New York: AMS Press.

Gedmintas, Aleksandras (1988). An Interesting Bit of Identity: The Dynamics of Ethnic Identity in a Lithuanian-American Community. New York: AMS Press.

Jonitis, Peter P. (1983). The Acculturation of the Lithuanians of Chester, Pennsylvania. New York: AMS Press.

NORWEGIANS. In 1980, 1,260,997 Americans claimed Norwegian ancestry and another 2,192,842 claimed Norwegian and other ethnic ancestry. Starting in 1840, Norwegians began forming church-based farming communities in western Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota, regions that provided the settlers with affordable farmland. A migration of younger people from the Midwest farther west led to the formation of a Norwegian community in Washington. Today, over 20 percent of Norwegian-Americans live in Minnesota, mostly in and around Minneapolis. Beginning in 1853, the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church (the Norwegian Synod) became the focal point for the continuation of Norwegian culture in the New World. In 1962, the church merged with the German and Dutch churches to form the American Lutheran church, though Norwegian identity continues in rural Norwegian communities in the Midwest. Although most Americans of Norwegian ancestry are assimilated into American society, Norwegian ethnic identity is notably strong, because of a combination of factors including the rural church-based communities, Norwegian colleges, ethnic organizations, and Norwegian social and business networks in some Midwest cities.


Gjerde, Jon (1985). From Peasants to Farmers: The Migration from Balestrand, Norway, to the Upper Middle West. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lovoll, Odd S. (1984). The Promise of America: A History of the Norwegian-American People. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press in cooperation with the Norwegian-American Historical Association.

Strickon, Arnold, and R. A. Ibarra (1983). "The Changing Dynamics of Ethnicity: Norwegians and Tobacco in Wisconsin." Ethnic and Racial Studies 6:174-197.

PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH. This general label refers to the Amish, Mennonites, Moravians, Dunkers, Schwenkfelders, and others who settled mostly in Pennsylvania. These peoples, fleeing religious persecution, were either German or Swiss (all were German speakers), not Dutch. The reference to "Dutch" is a modern-day confusion resulting from the word Deutsch meaning "German." Thus, the Pennsylvania Dutch are actually Pennsylvania Germans and are sometimes correctly labeled as such. Most Pennsylvania Dutch are today found in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

See also Amish , Mennonites


Reimensnyder, Barbara L. (1988). Powwowing in Union County: A Study of Pennsylvania German Folk Medicine in Context. New York: AMS Press.

Swank, Scott (1983). Art of the Pennsylvania Germans. New York: W. W. Norton.

POLES. In 1980, 3,805,740 Americans claimed Polish ancestry and another 4,422,297 claimed Polish and other Ethnic ancestry. The Poles are one of the largest and, in some ways, the least assimilated of the European-American groups. Poles in the United States are mostly ethnic Poles whose ancestors spoke Polish, German, and Russian. Distinct ethnic minorities in Poland, including the Carpatho-Rusyns, Kashubians, Górali, Mazurians, Silesians, and Galicians are also represented in the United States, and they have tended to remain somewhat separate from the ethnic Polish majority. The majority of Poles have arrived since 1850. The first large group of settlers was composed of German-speaking Poles who settled in cities already inhabited by Germans. Later arrivals, though from non-German sections of Poland, settled near those already in the United States. This migration pattern led to the formation of major Polish communities in cities with large German communities such as Buffalo, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York, and Cleveland. Other major Polish communities formed in Pittsburgh, Detroit, Philadelphia, and the Connecticut River valley in New England. Poles have remained an urban group, with 80 percent still living in urban areas. Small rural communities based on farming formed in south-central Texas, the northern Midwest, Missouri, and Nebraska.

Polish men generally found relatively low-level physical work such as mining, steel-working, meat-packing, automobile manufacturing, and factory labor. From 1865 through World War II the Poles remained a relatively homogeneous group, with their lives centered around the Roman Catholic parish and parochial schools, extended family ties, associations, multiple-family housing, Polish neighborhoods and stores, the Polish press, and Polish beliefs and customs at holidays and life-cycle celebrations. A religious schism developed around the turn of the century, leading to the formation of the independent Polish National Catholic Church of America, which now has about 300,000 members. Since the end of World War II, Poles have been assimilating more rapidly into American society, fueled primarily by upward social mobility from a working-class to a middle-class life-style. Today, the majority of Poles work in white-collar and skilled occupations. Still, Polish assimilation has been slower than among other groups, with intermarriage mostly with other Eastern European Catholics, a slower loss of the Polish Language, the continued existence of Polish neighborhoods in large cities, and ties often maintained with relatives in Poland. A reaction to the negative stereotype of Poles and the Solidarity movement in Poland have also contributed to a strong sense of Polish identity in recent years.


Bodnar, John, Roger Simon, and Michael P. Weber (1982). Lives of Their Own: Blacks, Italians, and Poles in Pittsburgh, 1900-1960. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Obidinski, Eugene, and Helen Stankiewicz Zand (1987). Polish Folkways in America: Community and Family. Polish Studies Series 5. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America.

Mocha, Franck, ed. (1978). Poles in America. Stevens Point, Wis.: Worzalla Publishing.

Polish-American Studies: A Journal of Polish-American History and Culture. Binghamton, N.Y.: Polish American Historical Association.

PORTUGUESE. In 1980, 616,362 Americans claimed Portuguese ancestry and another 407,989 claimed Portuguese and other ethnic ancestry. Americans of Portuguese Descent came either from Portugal or from the Portuguese Azores and Madeira islands. Portuguese immigration patterns are different from most other European-American groups in that a large percentage arrived in recent years (about 39 percent since 1959) and a large number (29 percent) settled in California. The Portuguese are essentially bicoastal with major concentrations in Hawaii (descendants of Azorean whalers and Madeiran sugar plantation workers), farming communities in central California, and fishing and industrial communities in southern New England and the northern Mid-Atlantic states. The early arrivals were mostly Azoreans and Madeirans who settled and formed Communities populated by immigrants from the same islands. With life centered around the patriarchal family and family financial obligations, the traditional culture has survived to some extent even among the third and fourth generations. The more recent arrivals have resisted integration into these Communities and have instead directed their efforts at maintaining Political and economic ties with Portugal, activities of less interest to the descendants of the earlier settlers.


Cabrai, Stephen L. (1988). Tradition and Transformation: Portuguese Feasting in New Bedford. New York: AMS Press.

Gilbert, Dorothy A. (1987). Recent Portuguese Immigrants to Fall River, Massachusetts. New York: AMS Press.

Pap, Leo (1981). The Portuguese-Americans. Boston: Twayne.

ROMANIANS. (Roumanians, Rumanians). In 1980, 141,675 Americans claimed Romanian ancestry and another 173,583 claimed Romanian and other ethnic ancestry. Most Romanians who arrived in the United States before 1895 were Jewish. Romanian immigrants since 1895 include Jews and non-Jews, with both groups included in the above figures. Romanians settled mainly in industrial cities such as Cleveland, East Chicago, Gary, and Detroit where men worked in the steel and auto industries. Although the Romanian church, clubs, and press were active for some years, the descendants of these immigrants are now largely assimilated into American society. More recent arrivals have lived apart from these communities and have focused their attention on anticommunist activities and Romanian-U.S. relations. The community has recently coalesced around the overthrow of the communist leadership of Romania in 1989-1990.


Bobango, Gerald J. (1978). "The Union and League of Romanian Societies: An 'Assimilating Force.'" East European Quarterly 12:85-92.

Roceris, Alexandra (1982). Language Maintenance within an American Community: The Case of Romanian. Grass Lake and Jackson, Mich: Romanian-American Heritage Center.

RUSSIANS. In 1980, 1,379,585 Americans claimed Russian ancestry and another 1,401,847 claimed Russian and other ancestry. The category "Russian" generally includes people who emigrated from what was the Russian Empire and is now the Soviet Union. This includes a number of culturally distinct groups including ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, Georgians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians, Belorussians (Byelorussians, White Russians), Galicians, Russian Jews, Doukhobors, Old Believers, Molokans, Carpatho-Rusyns, and Cossacks. Stretched to its limits, Russians can also include peoples from non-European regions of the Soviet Union such as the Azerbaijani, Kalmyk, and Turkestani who do not consider themselves Russian. In short, "Russians" is more correctly viewed as a territorial-political label than an ethnic one, except when applied specifically to ethnic Russians.

Russians immigrated to the United States in five stages. The first group was composed of traders who settled in Alaska to trade for furs with the local American Indian groups. When Russia sold Alaska to the United States in 1867, they either returned home or migrated to California. From the 1880s to World War I, Russians settled in industrial cities in the East and Midwest. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, a large influx of mostly middle-class, anticommunist Russians also settled in large cities. After World War II, Russian displaced persons and refugees made their way to the United States, often with stays in other countries first. Finally, a small number of Russians have immigrated to the United States since the 1950s. In the past, participation in the Eastern Orthodox church was a major factor in maintaining Russian ethnic identity. Red scares in the twentieth century (1919-1920, 1950s) led to sometimes hostile relations Between Russian-Americans and mainstream society. But the cold war and the resultant interest in Russian life have Somewhat lessened hostility toward Russian-Americans. Today, the Russians do not form a viable, cohesive ethnic entity in the United States, partly because of internal variations and partly because of the relatively few Russians who have arrived in the past forty years.

See also Byelorussians, Carpatho-Rusyns , Doukhobors , Estonians , Jews , Latvians , Lithuanians , Molokans, Old Believers , Ukrainians


Gerber, Stanford N. (1983). Russkoya Celo: The Ethnography of a Russian-American Community. New York: AMS Press.

Townsend, Joan B. (1975). "Mercantilism and Societal Change: An Ethnohistoric Examination of Some Essential Variables." Ethnohistory 22:21-32.

SCOTS. In 1980, 1,172,904 Americans claimed Scottish ancestry and another 8,875,912 claimed Scottish and other ethnic ancestry. The distinction between Lowland and Highland Scots, though still important in Scotland, has not been of concern for some years in the United States. Because of their early settlement beginning in the late 1600s, high Intermarriage rate, and dispersal across the entire United States, Scots are largely assimilated into American society and no longer display the degree of ethnic identity found in non-English-speaking ethnic groups of later arrival.


Chalker, Fussell M. (1976). "Highland Scots in the Georgia Lowlands." Georgia Historical Quarterly 60:35-42.

MacDonell, M. (1982). The Emigrant Experience: Songs of Highland Emigrants in North America. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

SERBS. In 1980, 49,621 Americans reported Serbian Ethnic ancestry and another 51,320 reported Serbian and other ancestry. These figures are probably a gross undercount, as many people of Serbian background often identified themselves as Yugoslavians. A more realistic estimate of Americans of Serbian ancestry is 200,000. Serbia is one of the Regions of the modern nation of Yugoslavia. The other major regions are Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Macedonia, and Croatia. Most immigrants of Serbian background came from the Bosnia, Montenegro, Croatia, and Vojvodina regions, primarily between 1903 and 1909. While Serbs and Croats came from different villages in Europe, they tended to settle near one another in the United States, mainly in the iron and steel-producing cities of Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Cleveland and the western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio Regions, which provided men with employment opportunities. Since World War II, about 50,000 Serbs, many of them displaced persons, have settled in the United States. Better Educated and more urban than the earlier generation of Immigrants, they have tended to remain separate from the already established Serbian communities. Although many Serbs have assimilated into mainstream life, the opportunity for maintaining a strong Serbian identity is readily available for those who so choose. A strong, politically conservative Serbianism ethos still exists in the United States, ties are maintained with the homeland, Serbian social organizations at all levels are highly organized, and Serbian music, epic poetry, and traditions provide a unifying bond.


Brkich, Lazar (1980). "Serbian Fraternal, Social, and Cultural Organizations in America." In Studies in Ethnicity: The East European Experience in America, edited by C. A. Ward, P. Shashko, and D. E. Pienkos, 103-114. Boulder: East European Monographs.

Padgett, Deborah (1988). Settlers and Sojourners: A Study of Serbian Adaptation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. New York: AMS Press.

SLOVAKS. In 1980, 361,384 Americans reported Slovak ethnic ancestry and another 415,422 reported Slovak and other ancestry. These figures are almost certainly undercounts, as Slovaks who reported Czechoslovakian ancestry were classified as Czechs. Slovaks are people from the Slovakia region, which is today part of the modern nation of Czechoslovakia. The major Slovak immigration to the United States began in the 1870s, with the Slovaks settling in the anthracite mining region of eastern Pennsylvania and the coal mining and steel areas of western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. By the 1920s, the Slovaks had settled in the towns and cities where they continue to live today, with the only major population shift being a movement by the post-World War II generation to the suburbs. The Slovaks display a high degree of geographical persistence, with only 3 percent living in California, the lowest percentage of any European ethnic group. The pre-World War II ethnic culture was centered on family-based communities, wage labor in what was often the only factory or mine in the town, the Roman Catholic church, local clubs, and home ownership. Cohesion was reinforced by a general disinterest in education and the settlement of people from the same Slovak villages near one another in the United States. Today, a strong sense of Slovak identity remains, focused on the church, Slovak cuisine, and holiday rituals, although intermarriage has increased, family visits have replaced the two-generation domestic unit, and Slovak is spoken by only a few.


Stolarik, Mark M. (1985). Growing up on the South Side: Three Generations of Slovaks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1880-1976, Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell University.

Stolarik, Mark M. (1988). Immigration and Urbanization: The Slovak Experience. New York: AMS Press.

SLOVENES (Slovenians). In 1980, 63,587 Americans claimed Slovenian ancestry and another 62,876 claimed Slovenian and other ethnic ancestry. Slovenes are people from Slovenia, the northwestern section of the modern nation of Yugoslavia. The major arrival of Slovenes took place before World War I with major population centers forming in the mining areas of Colorado, northern Minnesota, and Western Pennsylvania and in the industrial cities of Cleveland and Chicago. Slovene cultural identity was maintained through the Roman Catholic church, fraternal insurance societies, singing societies, and the Slovene press. Assimilation has been slowed by the arrival of a second large wave of Immigrants in the 1950s, who are much concerned about and involved in political developments in Yugoslavia.


Prisland, Marie (1968). From Slovenia to America. Chicago: Slovenian Women's Union of America.

Susel, Rudolph M. (1983). "The Perpetuation and Transformation of Ethnic Identity among Slovene Immigrants in America and the American-Born Generations: Continuity and Change." In The Dynamics of East European Ethnicity outside of Eastern Europe, edited by Irene P. Winner and Rudolph M. Susel, 109-132. Cambridge, Mass.: Schenkman.

Voynick, S. M. (1984). Leadville: A Miner's Epic. Missoula, Mont.: Mountain Press.

SORBS. (Wends). The Sorbs are a distinct cultural group in Germany. The Sorbian territory is located in the Lusatia region in the southeastern corner of what was the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). Sorbian is a West Slavic language, with Lower and Upper dialects spoken in northern and southern Sorbia, respectively. The number of Sorbs in North America is unknown, as they have usually been counted as German. Most are descendants of Sorbs who emigrated in the last half of the nineteenth century and settled in Texas near already existing German communities in present-day Lee County. Smaller communities also formed in Nebraska and Canada, although the Texas ones were the largest and most distinctly Sorbian. In recent years, some Sorbs have moved to cities in Texas, including Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. Initially close to the Germans through intermarriage, nearby residence, and language (most Sorbs also spoke German), self-identification as Americans began with World War I, in part as an effort to distance themselves from Germany. The traditional culture centered on distinct religious customs and holiday and life-cycle celebrations, although assimilation has increased rapidly in recent years.

SPANIARDS. Spaniards should be differentiated from Latinos who are people of Latin American ancestry. Because Spanish immigrants either were not counted at all or were at times lumped with Latinos, it is impossible to say how many Spaniards have immigrated to and settled in the United States—one estimate suggests about 250,000. Major population centers are in New York City, southern California, Louisiana, and Florida. The American Southwest has had an Especially strong Spanish influence, dating to Coronado's expedition of 1540, though Mexican (which is also partly Spanish) and American Indian influences are also important in the region. For the most part, Spanish immigrants and their descendants have rapidly assimilated into American Society and no strong sense of Spanish identity or culture has ever emerged. This is in part because they were few in number compared to other immigrant groups also arriving in the early twentieth century and in part because regional cultural identities (such as Galician, Catalonian) were more important in Spain than any sense of a national culture. In the United States these regional identities have been manifested in Regional associations.


Brophy, Don, and Edythe Westenhauer, eds. (1978). The Story of Catholics in America. New York: Paulist Press.

Williams, James C. (1978). "Cultural Tension: The Origins of American Santa Barbara." Southern California Quarterly 60:349-377.

SWEDES. In 1980, 1,288,341 Americans claimed Swedish ancestry and another 3,057,051 claimed Swedish and other ethnic ancestry. Swedes began immigrating to the United States in sizable numbers after 1840, settling mostly in the Midwest, where they often formed communities based on kin ties, or in areas where work similar to that in Sweden (such as metalworking, iron mining) was available. Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas were areas of heavy settlement, with smaller communities forming in New England and New York where specialized work was available. Chicago and Minneapolis were the major centers for urban Swedes, with ties maintained with the Norwegian and German communities. Although Swedes resisted Intermarriage (except with Norwegians), they nonetheless rapidly assimilated into American society. They learned English quickly (most Swedes were literate), desired U.S. citizenship, valued public education, and were upwardly mobile, moving from the cities to the suburbs. The 1970s saw a revival of interest in Swedish identity, reflected in public celebrations of Swedish holidays, Scandinavian study programs at colleges, and the economic success of Swedish retail outlets.


Kastrup, Allan (1975). The Swedish Heritage in America. St. Paul, Minn.: The Swedish Council of America.

Moe, M. L., ed. (1983). Saga from the Hills: A History of the Swedes of Jamestown, New York. Jamestown, N.Y.: Fenton Historical Society.

Wheeler, Wayne (1983). An Analysis of Social Change in a Swedish-Immigrant Community. New York: AMS Press.

SWISS. In 1980, 235,355 Americans claimed Swiss ancestry and another 746,188 claimed Swiss and other ancestry. Switzerland is a pluralistic country populated by four linguistic-cultural groups: French speakers in the West, German speakers in the center and North, Romansch speakers in the East, and Italian speakers in the South. Nearly 90 percent of Swiss settlers in the United States prior to 1900 were German speakers (German-speaking Swiss are also the most Numerous group in Switzerland), although some had lived in other European countries prior to their migration to the New World, which may have blurred their sense of Swiss identity. The concentrations of Swiss in the United States today represent four distinct cultural traditions. The largest concentration of Swiss is the Old Order Amish and Mennonites in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Kansas. A second large concentration is the Swiss Mormons in northern Utah whose ancestors converted to Mormonism in the 1880s. A third group is the Italian Swiss in northern and central California whose ancestors settled in the San Francisco area. Last is the best-known Swiss concentration centered in and around Madison, Wisconsin, known as "the Swiss capital of the United States" and a major tourist attraction. The first Swiss settlement was formed in 1845 by immigrants who at first made their living from dairy farming and cheese making, two occupations associated also with other Swiss settlements.

See also Amish , Mennonites , Mormons


Kuhn, W. Ernst (1976). "Recent Swiss Immigration into Nebraska: An Empirical Study." Swiss American Historical Society Newsletter 12:12-20.

Lewis, Brian A. (1973). "Swiss-German in Wisconsin: The Impact of English." American Speech 48:211-228.

UKRAINIANS. In 1980, 381,084 Americans claimed Ukrainian ethnic ancestry and another 348,972 claimed Ukrainian and other ancestry. The relatively low percentage of Ukrainians claiming mixed ethnic ancestry indicates that the Ukrainians continue to exist as a distinct cultural group in the United States. Among the Ukrainian immigrants who arrived between 1880 and World War I, 85 to 95 percent were classified as Carpatho-Rusyns (Ruthenians), and few saw themselves as ethnically Ukrainian. After the end of World War I and the establishment of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, descendants of this first wave of immigrants who were from Galicia have often preferred to define themselves as Ukrainian. The more than 100,000 Ukrainians who came to the United States after World War I were mainly from the center of the Ukraine, and their presence has strengthened Ukrainian identity. Fifty percent of Ukrainians lived in either New York State or Pennsylvania in 1980, with the New York City area being the major population and cultural center, Especially with many immigrants since World War II settling there. The Ukrainians continue to exist as a distinct cultural group within American society, although many are, at the same time, active participants in the national economic System. Ukrainian schools, social clubs, associations, churches (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox), resorts, and publications all provide the opportunity for a full life within the Ukrainian community. A shared sense of identity is further maintained through continued use of the Ukrainian Language, a high rate of endogamous marriage, and strong and active membership in fraternal organizations. External forces also play a role in maintaining group identity, especially involvement in political movements to establish a free Ukrainian nation and continued estrangement from the Polish- and Russian-American communities.

See also Ukrainians (Canada)


Stachin, Matthew (1976). "Ukrainian Religious, Social and Political Organization in the U.S. Prior to World War II." Ukrainian Quarterly 32:385-392.

WELSH. In 1980, 308,363 Americans claimed Welsh ancestry and another 1,356,235 claimed Welsh and other Ethnic ancestry. Although the Welsh began arriving in North America in the late 1600s, the major migrations were in the mid- and late-1800s. Those who came first were largely farmers who sought to escape assimilation into English society by forming Welsh-speaking communities in North America. Those who came after 1880 were largely miners who settled in the coal-mining areas of northeast Pennsylvania, eventually moving from coal mining into work in the steel and related industries. Sizable populations of Welsh-Americans still live in this region, although most people of Welsh ancestry are assimilated into American society, as indicated by the high Intermarriage rate and migration of many Welsh to the West Coast.


Ashton, Elwyn T. (1984). The Welsh in the United States. Shoreham, England: Elwyn T. Ashton.

Ellis, David M. (1973). "The Assimilation of the Welsh in Central New York State." Welsh Historical Review 6:424-447.

Thomas, R. D. (1983). Hanes Cymry America: A History of the Welsh in America. Translated by Phillips G. Davies. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America. (Originally published, 1872.)

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