Waves of Immigration-The American Melting Pot
European Americans are largely descended from colonial American stock supplemented by two sizable waves of immigration from Europe. Approximately 53 percent of European Americans today are of colonial ancestry, and 47 percent are descended from European, Canadian, or Mexican (or any Latin American) immigrants who have come to the U.S. since 1790 (and post-independence Mexico supplied Mexican-American immigration since 1890). Today, each of the three different branches of immigrants are most common in different parts of the country.
Founding Fathers, the Committee of Five were Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Sherman and Livingston of primarily English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh descent.
Colonial stock, which mostly consists of people of English, Scottish or Scots-Irish descent, may be found throughout the country but is especially dominant in the South. Some people of colonial stock, especially in the Mid-Atlantic states, are also of Dutch, German and Flemish descent. The vast majority of these are Protestants. The Pennsylvania Dutch (German American) population gave the state of Pennsylvania a high German cultural character. French descent, which can also be found throughout the country, is most concentrated in Louisiana, while Spanish descent is dominant in the Southwest and Florida. These are primarily Roman Catholic and were assimilated with the Louisiana Purchase and the aftermath of the Mexican-American War and Adams–Onís Treaty, respectively.
The first large wave of European migration
The first large wave of European migration after the Revolutionary War came from Northern and Central-Western Europe between about 1820 and 1890. Most of these immigrants were from Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Britain, and with large numbers of Irish and German Catholics immigrating, Roman Catholicism became an important minority religion. Polish Americans usually used to come as German or Austrian citizens, since Poland lost its independence in the period between 1772–1795. Descendants of the first wave are dominant in the Midwest and West, although German descent is extremely common in Pennsylvania, and Irish descent is also common in urban centers in the Northeast. The Irish and Germans held onto their ethnic identity throughout the 19th and early half of the 20th centuries, as well of other European ethnic groups. Most people of Polish origin live in the Northeast and the Midwest.
The second wave of European Americans arrived from the mid-1890s to the 1920s, mainly from Southern, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Ireland. This wave included Irish, Italians, Greeks, Hungarians, Portuguese, Ukrainians, Russians, Poles and other Slavs. With large numbers of immigrants from Spain, Mexico, Spanish Caribbean, and South and Central America, White Hispanics have increased to 8% of the US population, and Texas, California, New York, and Florida are important centers for them.