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English Americans (occasionally known as Anglo-Americans, although this may have a wider linguistic meaning) are citizens of the United Statesmarker whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in Englandmarker. According to 2000 U.S census data, Americans reporting English ancestry made up an estimated 9.0% of the total U.S. population, and form the third largest European ancestry group after German Americans and Irish Americans. However, demographers regard this as an undercount as the index of inconsistency is high, and many, if not most, people from English stock have a tendency to identify simply as Americans or, if of mixed European ancestry, nominate a more recent and differentiated ethnic group. In the 1980 U.S census, over 49 million Americans claimed English ancestry, at the time around 22% of the total population and which, even today, would make them the largest ethnic group in the United States.

The overwhelming majority of the founding fathers of America were of English extraction, including Ben Franklin, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

As with most immigrant groups, the English later sought economic prosperity and began migrating in large numbers without state support, particularly in the 19th century.

Number of English Americans

Map of England highlighted in red.

Census data

1775 census

According to the United States Historical Census Data Base (USHCDB) (2002), the ethnic populations in the American Colonies of 1775 were:

1790 census

The ancestry of the 3.9 million population in 1790 has been estimated by various sources by sampling last names in the very first United States official census and assigning them a country of origin. The results indicate that people of English ancestry made up about 47.5% of the total United States population with 80.7% of the population being of European heritage.

2000 census

1790 U.S Ancestry
Based on Evaluated census figures
2000 U.S Ancestry
from the official U.S census
Ancestry group Number
(1790 estimate)
% of
Ancestry Number
(2000 count)
% of
British (Total) 2,500,000 62.5 British (Total)

36,564,465 12.9
English 1,900,000 47.5 German 42,885,162 15.2
African 750,000 19.0 African 36,419,434 12.9
Scotch-Irish 320,000 8.0 Irish 30,594,130 10.9
German 280,000 7.0 English 24,515,138 8.7
Irish 200,000 5.0 Mexican 20,640,711 7.3
Scottish 160,000 4.0 Italian 15,723,555 5.6
Welsh 120,000 3.0 French 10,846,018 3.9
Dutch 100,000 2.5 Hispanic 10,017,244 3.6
French 80,000 2.0 Polish 8,977,444 3.2
Native American 50,000 1.0 Scottish 4,890,581 1.7
Spanish 20,000 0.5 Dutch 4,542,494 1.6
Swedish or other 20,000 0.5 Norwegian 4,477,725 1.6
Total 3,929,326 100 Scotch-Irish 4,319,232 1.5
/ / / Native American 4,119,301 1.5
/ / / Swedish 3,998,310 1.4
In the 2000 census, 24.5 million Americans reported English ancestry, 8.7% of the total U.S. population. This estimate is probably a serious undercount by over 30 million given that, in the 1980 census, around 50 million citizens claimed to be of at least partial English ancestry. In 1980, 23,748,772 Americansmarker claimed wholly English ancestry and another 25,849,263 claimed English along with another ethnic ancestry. 80 million people in the 2000 census were listed under 'other ancestries' and 20 million as 'American.' Thus, the number of people who could be classified, if they so wish, as English Americans in the United States is more likely to be at least 60-80 million.

In 1860, an estimated 11 million or almost 35% of the population of the United States was wholly or primarily of English ancestry. The population has increased by almost ten times the numbers in 1860. As with any ethnicity, Americans of English descent may choose to identify themselves as just 'American ethnicity' if their ancestry has been in the United States for many generations or if, for the same reason, they are unaware of their lineage.

English expatriates

In total, there are estimated to be around 678,000 British born expatriates in the United States with the majority of these being English. Modern England is an increasingly diverse nation, and a significant minority are not indigenous English. By American definition there are around 540,000 English people of any race in the United States, 40,000 Asian English, 20,000 Black English people and approximately 10,000 people of a mixed background.


English Americans are found in large numbers throughout America, particularly in the Northeast and West. According to the 2000 US census, the 10 states with the largest populations of self reported English Americans are

The 10 states with the highest percentages of self reported English ancestry are:

English was the highest reported European ancestry in the states of Mainemarker, Vermontmarker and Utahmarker; joint highest along with German in the Carolinas.


On the left, a map showing the population density of Americans who declared English ancestry in the census. Dark blue and purple colours indicate a higher density: highest in the east and west (see also Maps of American ancestries). Center, a map showing the population of English Americans by state. On the right, a map showing the percentages of English Americans by state.


Early settlement and colonization

The red and pink areas of the map show land over which the British claimed authority in 1775

The earliest English settlers in America inhabited the Elizabethan era Anglican Colony and Dominion of Virginia and Puritan New Englandmarker, named by John Smith for the unsettled New Albion; these were two thirds of Virginia, which also originally included Bermudamarker, which became nucleus of the British West Indies. The former two have largely influenced formation of the South and the Northeast. Due to their joint-stock company charter explicitly stating that settlements from each should not approach within 100 miles of one another, subdivision resulted in the foundation of newer colonies such as the Catholic Province of Maryland and Quaker Province of Pennsylvania, expressly settled for the freedom of religion in America, as it did not exist in Anglican and Puritan England. These two have largely influenced formation of the Federal government of the United States in Washington, D.C.marker and outward from the Mid-Atlantic States, the Midwest; Maryland and Pennsylvania respectively.

There were also Dutch and Swedish immigrants, who were allowed to move in by neglect to settle fast enough the claims made by Queen Elizabeth (who had a Dutch protectorate governed by the Puritan Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, relative of Lady Jane Grey and of Anne Bradstreet, an influential Pilgrim; Protestant William III of England was Dutch as well and had a feud with his uncle & father-in-law Catholic James II of England, who had conquered the Dutch settlement for himself and added it to New England), similar to the French presence in Canada due to failures by the Tudor era English government to occupy Newfoundland following John Cabot's discovery for Henry VII of England. England itself seized upon the failure of France to seriously follow up on the claims of Francis I of France made by Giovanni da Verrazzano. England was preoccupied with the English Reformation and France was preoccupied by the French Wars of Religion. The Low Countries is where English exiles have usually gone to, for either religious or political reasons, since the Pale of Calais was English. Both the pro-Mary I of England Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible and the pro-Edward VI of England Puritan Marian exiles had English connections there. Sweden was where Church of Scotlandmarker Covenanters went to fight on behalf of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in the Thirty Years' War and this is why their settlement had connections with the Stuart Scottish settlements of the Carolinas on the Great Wagon Road and also Nova Scotiamarker in Canadamarker, sharing together the same log cabin tradition.

These Anglo-European migrations indicate why German Americans were also integrated in Americana, as the British Royal Family came from and continued to rule the Kingdom of Hanover and their toponymy is reflected in Georgia marker, as well as New Brunswickmarker, Prince Edward Islandmarker, Albertamarker and the Northwest Territoriesmarker (once known as Rupert's Land) in Canada. Despite the voyage of Cabot, English colonists knew themselves as "Americans" chronologically before "Canadians", since the latter country was founded by elements of the American population who were either politically attached to the Georgians, or were interested in the spoils of war with French Canada (before called "Quebecmarker", a description which included the Great Lakesmarker, as separate from the Mississippi River-centered French Louisianamarker), in the Second Hundred Years' War. Anglo-Spanish ties dating at least as far back as Queen Mary Tudor and her husband Philip II of Spain (if not Mary's mother, Catherine of Aragon, or John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster) influenced American sentiment and policy towards annexation of Spanish and Mexican territories, which is why Mexican Americans eventually became citizens. They were also co-monarchs of Southern Italy, from whence priests catered to the English and Irish Catholics and most Italian Americans today source their heritage there. Also, one of the famous First Families of Virginia, was Taliaferro (anglicized Toliver). Thus, statewide majority ancestries of Americans largely owe their place in America, due to the English component, save for Japanese Americans, whose country did not have significant relations with England as the others, during the time of founding the USA—although it was Italianmarker navigators who charted the early, Catholic claims for England and other preeminent colonial nations and their attempt by sailing West, was to reach places such as Japanmarker. English colonial government also resulted in, after the most significant chapter was concluded in the French and Indian War (Royal Proclamation of 1763), the first Indian Reserve (eponym of Indianamarker), model of Jeffersonian plans for Indian removal to the Wild West, originally in Oklahomamarker's Indian Territory.

English immigration after 1776

An estimated 3.5 million English emigrated to the USA after 1776[737169] English settlers provided a steady and substantial influx throughout the nineteenth century. The first wave of increasing English immigration began in the late 1820s and was sustained by unrest in the United Kingdommarker until it peaked in 1842 and declined slightly for nearly a decade. Most of these were small farmers and tenant farmers from depressed areas in rural counties in southern and western England and urban laborers who fled from the depressions and from the social and industrial changes of the late 1820s-1840s. While some English immigrants were drawn by dreams of creating model utopian societies in America, most others were attracted by the lure of new lands, textile factories, railroads, and the expansion of mining.

A number of English settlers moved to United States from Australia in 1850s (then a British political territory), when California Gold Rush boomed; these included the so-called “Sydney Ducks” (see Australian Americans).

During the last years of 1860s, annual English immigration increased to over 60,000 and continued to rise to over 75,000 per year in 1872, before experiencing a decline. The final and most sustained wave of immigration began in 1879 and lasted until the depression of 1893. During this period English annual immigration averaged more than 80,000, with peaks in 1882 and 1888. The building of America's transcontinental railroads, the settlement of the great plains, and industrialization attracted skilled and professional emigrants from England. Also, cheaper steamship fares enabled unskilled urban workers to come to America, and unskilled and semiskilled laborers, miners, and building trades workers made up the majority of these new English immigrants. While most settled in America, a number of skilled craftsmen remained itinerant, returning to England after a season or two of work. Groups o f English immigrants came to America as missionaries for the Salvation Army and to work with the activities of the Evangelical and Mormon Churches.

The depression of 1893 sharply decreased English immigration, and it stayed low for much of the twentieth century. This decline reversed itself in the decade of World War II when over 100,000 English (18 percent of all European immigrants) came from England. In this group was a large contingent of war brides who came between 1945 and 1948. In these years four women emigrated from England for every man. In the 1950s, English immigration increased to over 150,000.and rose to 170,000 in the 1960s. While differences developed, it is not surprising that English immigrants had little difficulty in assimilating to American life. The American resentment against the policies of the British government as rarely transferred to English settlers who came to America in the first decades of the nineteenth century.

Throughout American history, English immigrants and their descendants have been prominent in every level of government and in every aspect of American life. Eight of the first ten American presidents and more than that proportion of the 42 presidents, as well as the majority of sitting congressmen and congresswomen, are descended from English ancestors. The descendants of English expatriates are so numerous and so well integrated in American life that it is impossible to identify all of them. While they are the third largest ethnic nationality identified in the 1990 census, they retain such a pervasive representation at every level of national and state government that, on any list of American senators, Supreme Court judges, governors, or legislators, they would constitute a plurality if not an outright majority.

Political involvement

Colonial period

Image:Generall Historie of Virginia.jpg|"The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles", by Capt. John SmithImage:Declaration independence.jpg|John Trumbull's famous painting, Declaration of Independence. Two Red Ensigns, one British flag, and one English flag can be seen upon the wall.

As the earliest colonists of the United States, settlers from Englandmarker and their descendants often held positions of power and made or helped make laws , often because many had been involved in government back in England. In the original 13 colonies, most laws contained elements found in the English common law system.

The Founding Fathers

The lineage of most of the Founding Fathers was English. Such persons include Samuel Adams. Others signatories of the Declaration of Independence, such as Robert Morris were English born . Of the "Committee of Five" (the group delegated to draft the Declaration of Independence), John Adams of Massachusettsmarker, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvaniamarker, Thomas Jefferson of Virginiamarker, Robert Livingston of New Yorkmarker, and Roger Sherman of Connecticutmarker had English roots.

English influence in the United States

English language

The English have contributed greatly to American life. Today, English is the most commonly spoken language in the U.S, where it is estimated that one third of all native speakers of English live.

English was inherited from British colonization, and it is spoken by the vast majority of the population. It serves as the de facto official language: the language in which government business is carried out. According to the 1990 census, 94% of the U.S. population speak only English. Adding those who speak English "well" or "very well" brings this figure to 96%. Only 0.8% speak no English at all as compared with 3.6% in 1890. American English is different from British English in terms of spelling (a classic example being the dropped "u" in words such as color/colour), grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and slang usage. The differences are not usually a barrier to effective communication between an American English and a British English speaker, but there are certainly enough differences to cause occasional misunderstandings, usually surrounding slang or region dialect differences.

Some states, like Californiamarker, have amended their constitutions to make English the only official language, but in practice, this only means that official government documents must at least be in English, and does not mean that they should be exclusively available only in English. For example, the standard California Class C driver's license examination is available in 32 different languages.


Much of American culture also shows influences from English culture. For example, popular American sports such as baseball and American football have their origins in sports played in England in the 19th century.Another area of cultural influence, the American national anthem takes its melody from the 18th century English song "To Anacreon in Heaven" and lyrics written by an English American called Francis Scott Key.

Places in the United States named after those in England include New Yorkmarker (after Yorkmarker), New Hampshiremarker (after Hampshire), Manchestermarker, Bostonmarker, Southamptonmarker, Gloucestermarker and the region of New Englandmarker. In addition, some places were named after the English royal family. The name Virginia was first applied by Queen Elizabeth I (the "Virgin Queen") and Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584. , the Carolinas were named after King Charles I and Marylandmarker named so for his wife, Queen Henrietta Maria (Queen Mary).

Architecture such as the United States Capitolmarker building in Washington, D.C.marker which was first designed by English-educated American Architect William Thornton. Also, many American college campuses, such as Yalemarker, Princeton Universitymarker, and the University of Delawaremarker, have Gothic or Georgian looks.

The American legal system also has its roots in English law. For example, elements of the Magna Carta were incorporated into the United States constitution. English law prior to the revolution is still part of the law of the United States, and provides the basis for many American legal traditions and policies.After the revolution, English law was again adopted by the now independent American States.

Presidents of English Descent

A number of the Presidents of the United States have English Ancestry. The extent of English Heritage varies in the presidents with earlier presidents being predominantly of English Yankee stock. Later US Presidents ancestry can often be traced to ancestors from multiple nations in Europe, including England. The current President, Barack Obama, has English heritage originating from his Kansas born mother whose ancestry is English and Irish, while his father was a black Kenyan.

  1. George Washington, 1st President 1789-97 (great-grandfather, John Washington from Purleighmarker, Essex, Englandmarker.)
  2. John Adams, 2nd President 1797-1801 (great-great-grandfather, Henry Adams born 1583 Barton St Davidmarker, Somersetmarker, Englandmarker, immigrated to Bostonmarker, Massachusettsmarker.)
  3. Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President 1801–1809 (Maternal English ancestry from William Randolph.)
  4. James Madison, 4th President 1809-17
  5. James Monroe, 5th President 1817-25
  6. John Quincy Adams, 6th President 1825-29 (Henry Adams born 1583 Barton St Davidmarker, Somersetmarker, Englandmarker.)
  7. Zachary Taylor, 12th President 1849-50
  8. James Buchanan, 15th President 1857-61
  9. Abraham Lincoln, 16th President 1861-65 (Samuel Lincoln baptised 1622 in Hingham, Norfolk, Englandmarker, died in Hingham, Massachusettsmarker.)
  10. Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President 1869-77
  11. James A. Garfield, 20th President 1881-81
  12. Chester A. Arthur, 21st President 1881-85
  13. Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President 1885-89, 1893-97
  14. Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President 1889-93
  15. William McKinley, 25th President 1897-1901
  16. Warren G. Harding, 29th President 1921-23
  17. Franklin D. Roosevelt 32nd President 1933-45
  18. Harry S. Truman, 33rd President 1945-53
  19. Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President 1963-69
  20. Richard Nixon, 37th President 1969-74
  21. Gerald Ford, 38th President 1974-77
  22. Jimmy Carter, 39th President 1977-81
  23. George H. W. Bush, 41st President 1989-93
  24. Bill Clinton, 42nd President 1993-2001
  25. George W. Bush, 43rd President 2001-2009 (Reynold Bush from Messingmarker, Essex, Englandmarker emigrated in 1631 to Cambridge, Massachusettsmarker.)
  26. Barack Obama, 44th President 2009-Present


See List of English Americans

Image:Benjamin Franklin by Jean-Baptiste Greuze.jpg|Benjamin FranklinImage:John Quincy Adams.jpg|John Quincy AdamsImage:Jm4.gif|James MadisonFile:William Clark.jpg|William ClarkImage:Abraham Lincoln head on shoulders photo portrait.jpg|Abraham LincolnImage:Ulysses Grant 1870-1880.jpg|Ulysses S. GrantFile:Thomas Edison2.jpgThomas EdisonImage:North by Northwest movie trailer screenshot (26).jpg|Cary GrantFile:Lucy YankArmy cropped.jpg|Lucille BallFile:Official_portrait_of_Barack_Obama.jpg|Barack ObamaImage:Richardgere.jpg|Richard GereFile:Hillary Clinton official Secretary of State portrait crop.jpg|Hillary Rodham ClintonFile:JustinTimberlakeJune07 crop.jpg|Justin Timberlake

See also


  1. Reynolds Farley, 'The New Census Question about Ancestry: What Did It Tell Us?', Demography, Vol. 28, No. 3 (August 1991), pp. 414, 421.
  2. Stanley Lieberson and Lawrence Santi, 'The Use of Nativity Data to Estimate Ethnic Characteristics and Patterns', Social Science Research, Vol. 14, No. 1 (1985), pp. 44-6.
  3. Stanley Lieberson and Mary C. Waters, 'Ethnic Groups in Flux: The Changing Ethnic Responses of American Whites', Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 487, No. 79 (September 1986), pp. 82-86.
  4. Mary C. Waters, Ethnic Options: Choosing Identities in America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), p. 36.
  5. English Emigration
  6. Ethnic groups in the U.S in 1775 Census
  7. United States Federal Census
  8. Historical U.S population by race
  9. The Source: Gen
  10. U.S 1790 Census
  11. World Culture Encyclopedia
  12. Brits Abroad
  13. English Ethnicity 2005
  14. [1]
  15. The Laws of Olde England Stateside, Marcus Hampshire
  17. The Colonial Period
  18. [2] "Laban Adams belongs to the illustrious family of Henry Adams who came from Devonshire, England, about 1636 and settled in Quincy, Mass. His great great grandson, Samuel Adams, was the "Father of the Great American Revolution,"
  19. UShistory - Robert Morris
  20. Benjamin Franklin Timeline
  21. Languages Spoken in the United States.
  22. History of Baseball.
  23. American Football.
  24. Star-Spangled Banner origins
  25. Star Spangled Banner
  26. 50 States - NY.
  27. Netstate - New Hampshire.
  28. Manchester History.
  29. Boston History.
  30. Southampton, Massachusetts.
  31. In 1584 Sir Walter Raleigh sent Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe to lead an exploration of what is now the North Carolina coast, and they returned with word of a regional "king" named "Wingina." This was modified later that year by Raleigh and the Queen to "Virginia", perhaps in part noting her status as the "Virgin Queen."
  32. Introduction to Maryland
  33. Sources of United States Legal Information
  34. Magna Carta
  36. Henry Adams born 1583 Barton St David, Somerset, England
  37. Henry Adams
  38. The Ancestry of Abraham Lincoln, James Henry Lea, Robert Hutchinson, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1909, p. 4.
  39. Ancestors of Abraham Lincoln
  40. George W Bush, Essex boy

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