European diaspora

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European diaspora
Total population
480,000,000 +
7% of the total world population
Americas - approximately 446,394,000
Oceania - 23,185,000
Regions with significant populations
White people ancestry worldwide
 United States 223,553,265[1]
 Brazil 91,051,646[2]
 Argentina 38,900,000[3]
 Canada 25,186,890[4]
 Australia 20,982,665[citation needed]
 Mexico 20,100,000+[5][6]
 Colombia 17,519,500[7][8]


 Cuba 7,160,399[12]
 South Africa 4,472,100[13]
 Chile 3,5M-5,128,000[14][15]
 Costa Rica 3,500,000[5]
 New Zealand 3,381,076[16]
 Puerto Rico 3,064,862[17]
 Uruguay 2,851,095[18]
 Dominican Republic 2,000,000+[11]
 Bolivia 2,000,000+[11]
 Peru 1,4M-4,4M+[11][19]
 Ecuador 1,400,000+[20]
 Paraguay 1,300,000+[5]
 Nicaragua 1,000,000+[11]
Languages of Europe
P christianity.svg Majority (Christianity, mostly Catholic and Protestant· Atheism  · other
Star of David.svg Jewish · Star and Crescent.svg Muslim · Dharma Wheel.svg Buddhist · Om symbol.svg Hinduism
Related ethnic groups

The European diaspora consists of European people and their descendants who emigrated from Europe. The diaspora is concentrated in countries such as the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Australia, Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, South Africa, Chile, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and Uruguay as well as smaller populations around the globe.

Emigration from Europe began on a large scale during the European colonial empires of the 18th to 19th centuries and continues to the present day. This concerns especially the Spanish Empire in the 16th to 17th centuries (expansion of the Hispanosphere), the British Empire in the 17th to 19th centuries (expansion of the Anglosphere), the Portuguese Empire and the Russian Empire in the 19th century (expansion to Central Asia and the Russian Far East).

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, Argentina and Brazil), Australia, New Zealand and Siberia.[21] 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 One, 38% of the world’s total population was of European ancestry.[21]

In Asia, European-derived populations (specifically Russians) predominate in Northern Asia, which is part of the Russian Federation. Africa has no countries with European-derived majorities, but there are significant minorities in South Africa, Namibia and some regions of other countries like Madagascar, Botswana and Morocco.

The countries in the Americas that received a major wave of European immigrants from 1871 to 1960 were: the United States (27 million), Argentina (6.5 million), Brazil (4.5 million), Canada (4 million), Venezuela (more than 1 million),[22] Cuba (610,000), Uruguay (600,000); other countries received a more modest immigration flow (accounting for less than 10% of total European emigration to Latin America) were: Chile (183,000),[23] and Peru (150,000),[24][25][26][27]

Early emigration[edit]

Colonial period[edit]

Further information: History of colonialism and Greater Europe

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. In Brazil the European emigration remained very small in the first two centuries of colonization: between 1500 and 1700, only 100,000 Portuguese settled there. 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.[36]

Post-independence emigration[edit]

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.[37]

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.[36] 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).[38]

Immigration arrivals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries[edit]

Destination Years Arrivals Reference
United States United States 1821–1932 32,244,000 [39]
Argentina Argentina 1856–1932 6,405,000 [39]
Canada Canada 1831–1932 5,206,000 [39]
Brazil Brazil 1821–1932 4,431,000 [39]
Australia Australia 1821–1932 2,913,000 [39]
Cuba Cuba 1901–1931 857,000 [39]
South Africa South Africa 1881–1932 852,000 [39]
Chile Chile 1882–1932 726,000* *Incomplete series[39]
Uruguay Uruguay 1836–1932 713,000 [39]
New Zealand New Zealand 1821–1932 594,000 [39]
Mexico Mexico 1911–1931 226,000 [39]


By populations[edit]

Country Percentage of the local population Population in
(thousands & millions)
Year Ref
Uruguay Uruguay 90.7 2.8 2011 Census [18]
Australia Australia 90 20 2006 Census [40] [41]
Argentina Argentina 85 to 97 34.6 to 38.9 (Estimates) Francisco Lizcano Fernandez and Ethnic Groups Worldwide: A Ready Reference Handbook, provide an estimate of 85% for people of Europeans origin in Argentina and The CIA World Factbook estimates. [5][42][43]
Canada Canada 76.7 25.1 2011 Census [4]
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico 75.8 3.1 2010 Census [44]
New Zealand New Zealand 74.0 2.9 2013 Census [45]
United States United States 72.4 223.5 2010 Census [1]
Cuba Cuba 64.1 7.2 2012 Census [46]
Costa Rica Costa Rica 40 1.7 or 3.8 2011 Latinobarometro survey, Lizcano [5][47]
Brazil Brazil 47.7 91.0 2010 Census [48]
Venezuela Venezuela 42.2 11.9 2011 Census [49]
Colombia Colombia 37.0 17 Library of Congress Country Studies
& Colombia a country study, 2010
Bermuda Bermuda 31.0 19,938 2010 Census [53]
Chile Chile 20 or 30 3.5 or 5.1 & E.Medina-and-A.M.Kaempffer [14][15]
Paraguay Paraguay 20.0 1.3 Lizcano [5]
Nicaragua Nicaragua 17.0 1 CIA World Factbook [54]
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic 13.6 or 16 2.0 Fuente: Encuesta Latin American Public Opinion Project,
LAPOP, (2006 survey) & CIA World Factbook
Mexico Mexico 20 or 40 25.1 or 35.8 or 45 CIA World Factbook & Lizcano [5][6]
Bolivia Bolivia 15.0 2.0 CIA World Factbook [57]
El Salvador El Salvador 12.7  ?? 2007 Census [58]
South Africa South Africa 8.9 4.5 2011 Census [59]
Ecuador Ecuador 6.1 1.3 2010 Census [60]
Peru Peru 4.9 or 15 1.4 or 4.5 (2006 self-identification survey)
Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática
& Central Agency of Intelligence of the U.S.A

The number above refer to those who self-described as white in the census. Exclude those who self describe as mixed race with European descent such as mestizo and mulatto.

By region[edit]

Nations and regions outside of Europe with significant populations of European ancestry:[62]

Map of percentage of people with European ancestry, showing the European diaspora. (The map is based on data from this article: European diaspora, censuses and articles quoted in the file description.)


Main article: White African

About 0-1 percent of the populations in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, usually are in the professional business elites. Not limited to Europeans, the "white" population includes Arab peoples: Lebanese and Syrians.[68]


Further information: Western imperialism in Asia

Today, the official percentage of Filipinos with Spanish ancestry is unknown. The Philippine Statistics Department does not account for the racial background or ancestry of an individual. The official population of all types of mestizos (Asian, American, Hispanic, etc.) that reside inside and outside of the Philippines remains unknown. Although a study provided by Stanford University[87] claimed that around 3.6% of the population have White or Caucasian ancestries from both Spanish and American colonization, it only genotyped 28 individuals from the Philippines, a sample size far too small to draw conclusions on a population of over 90 million people.

In addition there are different estimates of this mixed descent, either by the parent side. It is estimated with a proximity of 17,000,000 to 36,550,197 (15-39% of the Philippine population) people of Hispanic descent. But none of these estimates are supported by genetic studies.[88]

    •  Indonesia (Indo people) - 14,000 people, mostly of mixed Indonesian and Dutch descent.[89]
    •  Cambodia - approximately 16,000 people or 0.1% of the total population are Cambodian Eurasians, mainly of French ancestry from former French settlers.[90]
    •  Pakistan (Anglo-Indian) (Anglo-Pakistani) - approximately 11,000 people or 0.005% of the total population are the descendents of former British settlers who intermarried with local populations.[91]
    •  East Timor - approximately 1,100 people or 0.08% of the total population are Portuguese, descended from former Portuguese settlers.[92]
    •  Laos - an unknown number of Eurasians with French ancestry who are the descendents of former French settlers reside in Laos.
    •  Christmas Island - approximately 13% of the total population are white, with a further 2% Eurasian, both are British Australian.[93]
    •  Cocos (Keeling) Islands - 28.5% or one third of the total population are White, mostly British Australian.[94]

Small communities of European and American expatriates live in East Asia, such as China, Japan, Korea and Thailand.

Small communities of European and American 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[edit]

Europeans in Latin America and the Caribbean[edit]

  • Middle America (including Central America and the Caribbean) and South America (see White Latin American) -- Total European population approximately 197,094,000
    •  Argentina - 97% of the population or 38,913,000, may include an unknown percentage of mestizos and mulattos.[98] Other sources[99] put 86.4% of the population as white, with a higher number of mestizos.
    •  Bahamas (European Bahamian) - 12% of the population or 39,600, the majority are African or other races.[100]
    •  Barbados (White Barbadian) - 4% of the population or 11,238, it's thought to be the highest of all British West Indies islands.[101]
    •  Bermuda - 34.1% of the population or 23,064, with a black or part-white/black majority.[102]
    •  Bolivia - 15% of the population or 1,636,000, the country except for Paraguay have the lowest white populations of South America.[103]
    •  Brazil (White Brazilian) - 49.7% of the population or 93,000,000. Another 42.6% are pardos of mixed White, African and/or Amerindian descent (showed by genetic research to be of predominant European ancestry). Afro-Brazilians by genetical research showed to be of about 37.1% European ancestry (the majority inherited by colonial or Imperial times and of Portuguese origin). Some people of claimed Asian and Indigenous origin can also have European descent.[104]
    •  Chile - 20% of population (4,500,000),[14] or 30% of the population (5,128,000) is from European descent;[15] Francisco Lizcano estimates whites Chilean in a cultural base (not ethnic) at 52.7% (9,100,000).[5]
    •  Colombia - 86% of the population are (white Colombian) or part white (mestizo or mulatto).[7][8]
    •  Costa Rica - up to 90% white and/or mestizo (European and Amerindian descent), or 3,827,000.[105]
    •  Cuba - 64.1% of the population or 7,160,399[12]
    •  Dominican Republic - 16% of the population or 1,655,959 is white and an additional 73% are mulatto or 7,555,311. In total, 89% of the Dominican population is either fully or partially of European ancestry.[106]
    •  Ecuador - 6% of the population or 940,000, while 72% are mestizos.[107]
    •  El Salvador - 9% of the population or 720,000, but the remainder 90% have some European ancestry.[108]
    •  French Guiana - 12% of the population or 26,000, but the French government insists all citizens of France regardless of race are "French".[109]
    •  Guatemala 18% of the population or 2,490,000 people.
    •  Haiti - 4% of the population in Haiti are white and mulatto (both African and European ancestry) and 1% European, or 97,000. White Haitians are chiefly of French, Italian, or German origin not including Middle Eastern & North American whites. This figure excludes the percentage of Haitians with less than noticeable European admixture.
    •  Jamaica - Approximately 2% of the population or 40,000 people are White, mainly British, American, and Portuguese (This number increases to 60,000 people and 3% of the total population when Arabs and Lebanese are included). However, the vast majority of the population in Jamaica have some degree of European Ancestry.[110]
    •  Martinique - 2% of the population or 8,000, with another 3% mulatto descent.[111]
    •  Mexico[112] (White Mexican) - About 18% of the population European or about 20,160,000, and an additional 72% of mixed European and Amerindian descent[113][114][115]
    •  Nicaragua - 17% of the population or 1,000,000 people, and 70% mestizo.[116]
    •  Panama 14.0% of the population is White of European origin or 352,000 people, 58.1% mestizo, 7% mulatto, 6.7% Amerindian, 5.5% Asian, and 7.1% other (2000 Census).
    •  Puerto Rico 75.8% of the population or 3,620,897 self identify as having European ancestry. 12.4% is of black or African-American ancestry and 8.5% are of other ancestry, including American Indian. 3.3% identify as mixed.[117]
    •  Peru (European Peruvian) - 15% of the population or 3,425,000, about 40% mestizo or partial European descent.[118]
    •  Trinidad and Tobago - 1.7% of European descent or 24,600, mainly British, Spanish, French, German, and Portuguese, with a number of Scandinavian descent, although 30-40% have East Indian or 5% are Lebanese/Syrian Arab backgrounds.[119]
    •  Venezuela (white Venezuelan) - 42,2% of the population or 11,490,018, about 49,9% are part white (mestizo or partial European descent.) making it 92,1% of the population white and/or mestizo (European and Amerindian descent) or 25,076,755.[120]
    •  Uruguay - 88% of the population or 3,074,000, the rest have various levels of European descent.[121]
    •  Saint Barthélemy—90% or 7,940; Saint Martin (Statistics not available).[122]
    •  Falkland Islands, 100% European of British descent—total population 3,140.

The Virgin Islands divided between U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands, each have a small European minority.


Main article: Europeans in Oceania
  • Oceania -- Total population of Europeans in Oceania is approximately 23,185,000 or approximately 22,818,000 excluding Hawaii.
    •  Australia (European Australian) - 93.2% of the population or 20,299,000 people. People of aboriginal extraction number about 548,400, of which approximately 60,000 can speak Australian languages or Kriol.[123]
    •  New Zealand (New Zealand European) - 59.1% of the population or 2,361,000, plus some Māori of mixed white-European descent.
    •  New Caledonia (Caldoche) - 44.6% of the population or about 112,050; the territory is under French rule.
    •  French Polynesia - 10% of the population (mostly French with some white Americans) or 26,700, and 6 to 8% are Euronesian (part white-Polynesian).[124]
    •  Hawaii - Europeans are 27.1% of the population (2008 survey) or 367,000 (called Haoles), although 65% of all Hawaiians have white-European descent.
    •  Guam - 10% of the population have Spanish and white American descent (2000 Census) or about 17,800 people. Guam has a history of Spanish settlement before 1900, now a U.S. territory.[125]
    •  Norfolk Island, about 50% British-Polynesian from Pitcairn Island (1,070 people) and 50% white-British descent mainly via Australia (1,070 people).

Contemporary European diasporas[edit]

Further information: List of diasporas

Potential emigrants[edit]

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.[126]

See also[edit]


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  9. ^ Resultado Basico del XIV Censo Nacional de Población y Vivienda 2011 Venezuela 2011 Census, (p. 14).
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