European Immigrants in the United States

Elijah Alperin & Jeanne Batalova
Date of Publication: 
August, 2018
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Department of Homeland Security, and the World Bank, this report provides information on the European population in the U.S., focusing on its size, major countries of origin, geographic distribution in the U.S., and socioeconomic characteristics. Eastern Europeans constituted 44 percent of the entire European-born population.  In 2016, the top five countries of origin were the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine.  The report features an interactive map allowing one to track population changes by country over time. In the 2012-16 period, 45 percent of European immigrants lived in one of four states:  New York (15 percent), California (14 percent), and Florida and Illinois (8 percent each). European immigrants are much more likely to be proficient in English than the general foreign-born population, but with significant variations depending on countries of origin, e.g. eastern Europeans lag behind other Europeans in this respect. The European population is significantly older than the general foreign-born and U.S.-born population but also better educated (42 percent had a bachelor’s degree or better compared to 32 percent of the U.S.-born population). Using the term “diaspora” to describe the population of people of either European birth or ancestry, the report finds that 41 percent of the 323 million people living in the U.S. are European. The four largest “diaspora groups” are Germany (14.0 percent), Ireland (11.6 percent), United Kingdom (9.8 percent), and Italy (5.2 percent). (American Immigration Policy Portal)

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Alperin, E. & Batalova, J. (2018). European Immigrants in the United States. Migration Information Source. Retrieved from