German Emigration to the United States of America in the 19th century - some information and numbers

Genuine economic distress in the homelands was the main reason for the German emigration in the 19th and 20th century. The United States were by a large margin the most important immigration country on this occasion. Between 1821 and 1980 some seven million Germans migrated to the United States. With that the Germans provided the largest immigration group in the United States among all other countries in the world.

The German emigration was not a gradual process, but run in waves. German agricultural regions or states with bad economic conditions and/or poor social structures (e.g. large groups of landless families) saw heavy overseas emigration. Normally the immigration rates from the industrial areas like the Rhineland were among the lowest in Germany.

The following map shows the total numbers of emigrants (per district of origin) who migrated to the United States in 1871.