The German American ethnic group consists of Americans who have full or partial German ancestry. With an estimated size of approximately 46 million in 2014, German Americans are the largest of the groups reported by the US Census Bureau in its American Community Survey. The group accounts for about 1⁄3 of the total ethnic German population in the world, none of the German states had American colonies. In the 1670s the first significant groups of German immigrants arrived in the British colonies, settling primarily in New York, immigration continued in very large numbers during the 19th century, with eight million arrivals from Germany. Between 1820 and 1870 over seven and a half million German immigrants came to the United States — more than doubling the population of the country. By 2010, their population grew to 49.8 million immigrants, there is a German belt that extends all the way across the United States, from eastern Pennsylvania to the Oregon coast. The state of Pennsylvania has 3.5 million people of German ancestry and they were pulled by the attractions of land and religious freedom, and pushed out of Europe by shortages of land and religious or political oppression. Many arrived seeking religious or political freedom, others for economic opportunities greater than those in Europe, the arrivals before 1850 were mostly farmers who sought out the most productive land, where their intensive farming techniques would pay off. After 1840, many came to cities, where Germania—German-speaking districts—soon emerged, German Americans established the first kindergartens in the United States, introduced the Christmas tree tradition, and introduced popular foods such as hot dogs and hamburgers to America. The great majority of people with some German ancestry have become Americanized and hardly can be distinguished, traditional Oktoberfest celebrations and the German-American Day are popular festivities. There are major events in cities with German heritage including Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, San Antonio. The Germans included many quite distinct subgroups with differing religious and cultural values and they generally opposed womens suffrage but this was used as argument in favor of suffrage when German Americans became pariahs during World War I. The first English settlers arrived at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607 and he was followed in 1608 by five glassmakers and three carpenters or house builders. The first permanent German settlement in what became the United States was Germantown, Pennsylvania, large numbers of Germans migrated from the 1680s to 1760s, with Pennsylvania the favored destination. They migrated to America for a variety of reasons, often immigrants paid for their passage by selling their labor for a period of years as indentured servants. Large sections of Pennsylvania and upstate New York attracted Germans, most were Lutheran or German Reformed, many belonged to small religious sects such as the Moravians and Mennonites. German Catholics did not arrive in number until after the War of 1812, in 1709, Protestant Germans from the Pfalz or Palatine region of Germany escaped conditions of hardship, traveling first to Rotterdam and then to London. Anne, Queen of Great Britain, helped them get to her colonies in America, the trip was long and difficult to survive because of the poor quality of food and water aboard ships and the infectious disease typhus
John Jacob Astor, in an oil painting by Gilbert Stuart, 1794, was the first of the Astor family dynasty and the first millionaire in the United States, making his fortune in the fur trade and New York City real estate.
Carl Schurz was the first German born US Senator (Missouri, 1868) and later US Secretary of the Interior
German population density in the United States, 1872
"From the Old to the New World" shows German emigrants boarding a steamer in Hamburg, to New York. Harper's Weekly, (New York) November 7, 1874