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European emigration

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Total population
(480,000,000 +
6.5% of the total world population
(world population of 7.4 billion).[1]
(not counting partial European descent))
Regions with significant populations
 United States 223,553,265[2]
 Brazil 98,051,646[3]
 Argentina 38,900,000[4]
 Canada 25,186,890[5]
 Australia 20,982,665[citation needed]
 Mexico 20,100,000+[6][7]
 Colombia 18,519,500[8][9]
 Venezuela 13,094,085[10][11][12]
 Cuba 10,160,399[13]
 South Africa 7,472,100[14]
 Chile 3,5M-5,128,000[15][16]
 Costa Rica 3,500,000[6]
 New Zealand 3,381,076[17]
 Uruguay 3,151,095[18]
 Puerto Rico 3,064,862[19]
 Guatemala 2,490,000[20]
 Dominican Republic 2,000,000+[12]
 Peru 1,4M - 4,4M+[12][21]
 Bolivia 2,000,000+[12]
 Ecuador 1,400,000+[22]
 Paraguay 1,300,000+[6]
 Nicaragua 1,000,000+[12]
Languages of Europe (mostly English, Spanish, minoritily Portuguese and French)
P christianity.svg Majority Christianity
(mostly Catholic and Protestant, some Orthodox)
Irreligion  · Other Religions
Related ethnic groups

European emigration or European diaspora consists of the people and their descendants who have emigrated from Europe.[23]

From 1815 to 1932, 60 million people left Europe (with many returning home), primarily to "areas of European settlement" in the Americas (especially to the United States, Canada, Brazil, the Southern Cone such as Argentina, and Uruguay[23]), Australia,[24] New Zealand and Siberia.[25] These populations also multiplied rapidly in their new habitat; much more so than the populations of Africa and Asia. As a result, on the eve of World War I, 38% of the world’s total population was of European ancestry.[25]


Scale of Emigration 1500-1800

The discovery of the Americas in 1492 stimulated a steady stream of voluntary migration from Europe. About 200,000 Spaniards settled in their American colonies prior to 1600, a small settlement compared to the 3 to 4 million Amerindians who lived in Spanish territory in the Americas but then it grew the number of Spanish immigrants in addition to other European population of Romance language (French and Italian).

Number of European Emigrants 1500 - 1783
Country of Origin Number Dates
Spain 437,000 1500-1650
Portugal 100,000 1500-1700
Britain 400,000 1607-1700
Britain (Totals) 322,000 1700-1780
     Scotland, Ireland 190,000-250,000
France 51,000 1608-1760
Germany (Southwestern, Totals) 100,000 1683-1783
     Switzerland, Alsace Lorraine
Totals 1,410,000 1500-1783
Source: "To Make America"[23]

However, the development of the mining economy in the 18th century raised the wages and employment opportunities in the Portuguese colony and the emigration grew: in the 18th century alone, about 600,000 Portuguese settled in Brazil, a mass emigration given that Portugal had a population of only 2 million people. In North America the immigration was dominated by British, Irish and other Northern Europeans.[26]

Roughly one and a half million Europeans settled in the New World between 1500 and 1800 (see table). However, very small compared to emigration in the nineteenth and twentieth century, nevertheless the size movement in early modern populations is substantial. During the 1500's Spain and Portugal sent a steady flow of government and church officials, members of the lesser nobility, people from the working classes and their families averaging roughly three-thousand people per year from a population of around eight million. A total of around 437,000 left Spain in the 150-year period from 1500 to 1650 to Central, South America and the Caribbean Islands, while only 100,000 Portuguese settled mainly in Brazil, the emigration remained very small in the first two centuries between 1500 and 1700.[23]

Post-independence emigration

Mass European emigration to the Americas happened in the 19th and 20th centuries. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars until 1920, some 60 million Europeans (and 10 million Asians) emigrated. Of these, 71% went to North America, 21% to Latin America (mainly Argentina and Brazil) and 7% to Australia. About 11 million of these people went to Latin America, of whom 38% were Italians, 28% were Spaniards and 11% were Portuguese.[27]

Between 1821 and 1880, 9.5 million Europeans settled in the United States, mainly Germans and Irish. Other waves included British and Scandinavian people. Despite the large number of immigrants arriving, people born outside of the United States formed a relatively small number of U.S. population: in 1910, foreigners were 14.7% of the country's population. Nothing similar to what happened in Argentina, which was the American country where immigrants had a larger impact in the ethnic composition. By 1914, 30% of Argentina's population was foreign-born, with 12% of its population born in Italy, the largest immigrant group. Next was Canada: by 1881, 14% of Canada's population was foreign-born, and the proportion increased to 22% in 1921. In Brazil the proportion of immigrants in the national population was much smaller, and immigrants tended to be concentrated in the central and Southern parts of the country. The proportion of foreigners in Brazil peaked in 1920, with just 7%, mostly Italians, Portuguese, and Spaniards.[26] In 1901–1920 immigration was responsible for only 7 percent of Brazilian population growth but in the years of high immigration, 1891–1900, the share was as high as 30 percent (higher than Argentina's 26% in the 1880s).[28]

The countries in the Americas that received a major wave of European immigrants from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s were: the United States (32.6 million), Argentina (6.5 million), Canada (5.1 million), Brazil (4.4 million), Cuba (1.4 million), Uruguay (713,000).[29] Other countries received a more modest immigration flow (accounting for less than 10% of total European emigration to Latin America) were: Mexico (270,000), Colombia (126,000), Chile (90,000), Puerto Rico (62,000), Peru (30,000), and Paraguay (21,000).[29][28]

Immigration arrivals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

Destination Years Arrivals Ref(s)
United States United States 1821–1932 32,244,000 [30]
Argentina Argentina 1856–1932 6,405,000 [30]
Canada Canada 1831–1932 5,206,000 [30]
Brazil Brazil 1821–1932 4,431,000 [30]
Australia Australia 1821–1932 2,913,000 [30]
Cuba Cuba 1901–1931 857,000 [30]
South Africa South Africa 1881–1932 852,000 [30]
Uruguay Uruguay 1836–1932 713,000 [30]
New Zealand New Zealand 1821–1932 594,000 [30]
Mexico Mexico 1911–1931 226,000 [30]

By region

"Areas of European settlement". Censuses, articles quoted in description..)

Nations and regions outside of Europe with significant populations of European ancestry:[31]


(South Africans of European descent): 4,586,838 (8.9% of South Africa's population) [32] (Spaniards who settled the Canary Islands, Canary Islanders.


Siberia: (Russians)[33]

The Middle East Small communities of European, white American and white Australian expatriates in the Persian Gulf countries like Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE; and in Aramco compounds in Saudi Arabia. Historically before 1970, small ethnic European (esp. Greek and Italian) enclaves were found in Egypt (Greeks in Egypt, Italian Egyptians) and Syria (Greeks in Syria).


Total European population in the Americas—approximately 446,394,000

Europeans in Northern America Northern America –-- Total European population approximately 249,300,000 (European Canadian) – Canada 2011 Census reported 61% of the population, or 20,000,000 people, mostly divided into Anglophone (18 million) and Francophone (10 million).[34] (European American) – 72.4% of the population, or 223,800,000

Europeans in Latin America and the Caribbean

Middle America (including Central America and the Caribbean) and South America (see Latin Americans of European descent) -- Total European population approximately 197,094,000 Argentina: 79% of the population or 38,900,000, may include an unknown percentage of mestizos and mulattos.[35] Other sources[36] put 86.4% of the population. Falkland Islanders mainly European of British descent—total population 3,140.


Main article: Europeans in Oceania

Oceania - Total population of Europeans in Oceania is approximately 23,185,000 or approximately 22,818,000 excluding Hawaii. (European Australians and New Zealanders)

Contemporary European diasporas

Further information: List of diasporas

Potential emigrants

According to a 2010 Gallup study, an estimated 80 million adults in the European Union would prefer to emigrate if given free choice. About half of these would migrate to another country within the EU. The remaining 40 million have a desired destination outside of the EU, about 14 million would migrate to North America (USA or Canada), and 9 million to Australia or New Zealand.[37]

See also


  1. ^ Current World Population 2016 worldometers
  2. ^ "Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010 Census Briefs". US Census Bureau. March 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "Tabelas de resultados Branca Preta Amarela Parda Indígena Sem declaração" (PDF). 8 November 2011. Retrieved 2014-07-11. 
  4. ^ "South America : Argentina : People and society". The World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "National Household Survey (NHS) Profile, 2011". Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Lizcano Fernández, Francisco (2005). "Composición Étnica de las Tres Áreas Culturales del Continente Americano al Comienzo del Siglo XXI" [Ethnic Composition of the Three Cultural Areas of the American Continent at the Beginning of the 21st Century] (PDF) (in Spanish). UAEM. p. 218. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 September 2008. 
  7. ^ "Mexico: People; Ethnic groups". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 26 November 2007. 
  8. ^ Bushnell, David (2010). Rex A. Hudson, ed. Colombia: A Country Study (PDF). U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-8444-9502-6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 June 2011. 
  9. ^ Schwartzman, Simon (27 January 2008). "Étnia, condiciones de vida y discriminación" [Ethnicity, living conditions and discrimination] (PDF). (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  10. ^ "Resultado Basico del XIV Censo Nacional de Población y Vivienda 2011" [Basic Results of the XIV National Population and Housing Census 2011] (PDF) (in Spanish). Caracas: National Institute of Statistics of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. 9 August 2012. p. 14. Retrieved 1 March 2017. 
  11. ^ "Demográficos: Censos de Población y Vivienda: Población Proyectada al 2016 - Base Censo 2011" [Demographics: Population and Housing Censuses: Population Projected to 2016 - Census Base 2011] (in Spanish). National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 1 March 2017: adaption of the 42.2% white people from the census with current estimates 
  12. ^ a b c d e "Ethnic groups". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Retrieved 14 September 2013. 
  13. ^ "Tabla II.4 Población por sexo y zona de residencia según grupos de edades y color de la piel" [Table II.4 Population by sex and area of residence according to age groups and skin colour] (PDF). National Office of Statistics and Information, Republic of Cuba (in Spanish). 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "South Africa: Statistical release P0302: Mid-year population estimates 2009: Embargoed until: 27 July 2009" (PDF). Statistics South Africa. 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2015. 
  15. ^ "Chile". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 15 September 2012. Chile's ethnic makeup is largely a product of Spanish colonization. About three-fourths of Chileans are mestizo, a mixture of European and Amerindian ancestries. One fifth of Chileans are of white European (mainly Spanish) descent. 
  16. ^ Medina Lois, Ernesto; Ana María Kaempffer R. "Elementos de Salud Pública: 5.2.6. Estructura racial" [Elements of Public Health: 5.2.6. Racial structure] (in Spanish). Universidad de Chile. Archived from the original on 16 September 2009. Retrieved 26 October 2009. 
  17. ^ "QuickStats About Culture and Identity: Ethnic groups in New Zealand 2006". Statistics New Zealand. Archived from the original on 11 October 2011. 
  18. ^ Cabella, Wanda; Mathías Nathan; Mariana Tenenbaum (December 2013). Juan José Calvo, ed. "Atlas sociodemográfico y de la desigualdad del Uruguay, Fascículo 2: La población afro-uruguaya en el Censo 2011: Ancestry" [Atlas of socio-demographics and inequality in Uruguay, Part 2: The Afro-Uruguayan population in the 2011 Census] (PDF) (in Spanish). Uruguay National Institute of Statistics. ISBN 978-9974-32-625-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 February 2014. 
  19. ^ 2010 Census Data. "2010 Census Data". Archived from the original on 2011-01-02. Retrieved 2011-10-30. 
  20. ^ INE- Caracterización estadística República de Guatemala 2012 Retrieved, 2015/04/17.
  21. ^ The Socioeconomic Advantages of Mestizos in Urban Peru. pp. 4-5.
  22. ^ Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censo del Ecuador INEC.
  23. ^ a b c d "To Make America": European Emigration in the Early Modern Period edited by Ida Altman, James P. P. Horn (Page: 3 onwards)
  24. ^ De Lazzari, Chiara; Bruno Mascitelli (2016). "Migrant "Assimilation" in Australia: The Adult Migrant English Program from 1947 to 1971". In Bruno Mascitelli; Sonia Mycak; Gerardo Papalia. The European Diaspora in Australia: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 203. ISBN 978-1-4438-9419-7. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  25. ^ a b "European Migration and Imperialism". Archived from the original on 22 November 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2013. The population of Europe entered its third and decisive stage in the early eighteenth century. Birthrates declined, but death rates also declined as the standard of living and advances in medical science provided for longer life spans. The population of Europe including Russia more than doubled from 188 million in 1800 to 432 million in 1900. From 1815 through 1932, sixty million people left Europe, primarily to "areas of European settlement," in North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and Siberia. These populations also multiplied rapidly in their new habitat; much more so than the populations of Africa and Asia. As a result, on the eve of World War I (1914), 38 percent of the world’s total population was of European ancestry. This growth in population provided further impetus for European expansion, and became the driving force behind emigration. Rising populations put pressure on land, and land hunger and led to "land hunger." Millions of people went abroad in search of work or economic opportunity. The Irish, who left for America during the great Potato famine, were an extreme but not unique example. Ultimately, one third of all European migrants came from the British Isles between 1840 and 1920. Italians also migrated in large numbers because of poor economic conditions in their home country. German migration also was steady until industrial conditions in Germany improved when the wave of migration slowed. Less than one half of all migrants went to the United States, although it absorbed the largest number of European migrants. Others went to Asiatic Russia, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. 
  26. ^ a b Boris Fautos – Fazer a América: a imigração em massa para a América Latina."
  27. ^ Marília D. Klaumann Cánovas (2004). "A GRANDE IMIGRAÇÃO EUROPÉIA PARA O BRASIL E O IMIGRANTE ESPANHOL NO CENÁRIO DA CAFEICULTURA PAULISTA: ASPECTOS DE UMA (IN)VISIBILIDADE" [The great European immigration to Brazil and immigrants within the Spanish scenario of the Paulista coffee plantations: one of the issues (in) visibility] (PDF) (in Portuguese). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 October 2009. 
  28. ^ a b Blanca Sánchez-Alonso (2005). "European Immigration into Latin America, 1870-1930" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 October 2008. 
  29. ^ a b Baily, Samuel L.; Míguez, Eduardo José, eds. (2003). Mass Migration to Modern Latin America. Wilmington, Delaware: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-8420-2831-8. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Samuel L. Baily; Eduardo José Míguez (2003). Mass Migration to Modern Latin America. Rowman & Littlefield. p. xiv. ISBN 978-0-8420-2831-8. Retrieved 20 December 2015. 
  31. ^ Ethnic groups by country. Statistics (where available) from CIA Factbook.
  32. ^ "Census 2011 Census in brief, Report No. 03-01-41" (PDF). Statistics South Africa. 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  33. ^ Hill, Fiona (23 February 2004). "Russia — Coming In From the Cold?". The Globalist. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. 
  34. ^ "Population Groups (28) and Sex (3) for the Population of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006 Census - 20% Sample Data". Statistics Canada. Archived from the original on 4 December 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  35. ^ Argentina: People: Ethnic Groups. World Factbook of CIA
  36. ^ Ben Cahoon. "Argentina". Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  37. ^ Neli Esipova, Julie Ray, and Rajesh Srinivasan, The World’s Potential Migrants, Gallup, 2010.[1], p. 8.