People, Races, Ethnicity in the U.S. Hungarian Americans Part 1

About the HungarianAmericans in the U.S. including where they are from, why they left, how many there are, famous Hungarian-Americans and more.


Where They Came From: The overwhelming majority of Hungarian immigrants have been peasants from the rural areas of Hungary. After W.W. I, professionals and white-collar workers from the cities, particularly Budapest, also emigrated to the U.S., but their numbers were not significant.

Why They Left: A small percentage of Hungarian immigrants left for political reasons, most of them in the years immediately following the abortive revolutions of 1848 and 1956, but the vast majority were economically motivated.

Hungary was a nation where 80% of the population lived in the countryside. A privileged few owned a grossly disproportionate share of the land. What was allocated to the peasants was continually subdivided as it passed from generation to generation, and by 1900 it was estimated that less than 5% of the nation's farmers had enough acreage to support themselves decently. Hungary was primarily a wheat-producing nation, which exported its surplus to other countries of Europe. By the end of the 19th century, reduction in transportation costs enabled overseas wheat growers to drive Hungary out of the European market. Unable to export wheat, the large estates and the peasants who worked them suffered. Since industrialization was too slow and too sporadic to employ even the few who were willing to leave the farm for the factory, emigration became an increasingly attractive solution.

Where They Settled: Initially, the urban centers of New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, and Michigan attracted about 80% of all Hungarian immigrants. More than 15% settled in New York City, which became the world's third-largest "Hungarian" city as a result.

In 1970, the same six states accounted for more than two thirds of all Hungarian Americans, with California increasing its share from just over 1% in 1920 to nearly 10%, and Florida gaining a sizable number as well.

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