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6.5% of the total world population
(world population of 7.4 billion).
(not counting partial European descent))
|Regions with significant populations|
|Languages of Europe (mostly English, Spanish, minoritily Portuguese and French)|
| Majority Christianity
(mostly Catholic and Protestant, some Orthodox)
Irreligion · Other Religions
|Related ethnic groups|
European emigration can be defined as subsequent emigration waves from the European continent to other continents. The origins of the various European diasporas can be traced to the people, who left the European nation states or stateless ethnic communities on the European continent. It must be noted that the use of the term "diaspora" in reference to people of European national or ethnic origins is controversial, because the concept itself is contested and debated.
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), 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, 38% of the world’s total population was of European ancestry.
More contemporary, European emigration can also refer to emigration from one European country to another, especially in the context of the internal mobility in the European Union (intra-EU mobility) or mobility within the Eurasian Union.
European continent has been a central part of the complex migration system, which included swaths of North Africa, Middle East and Asia Minor well before the Modern Era. Yet, only the population growth of late Middle Ages allowed for more population movements, inside and outside of the continent. 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.
Roughly one and a half million Europeans settled in the New World between 1500 and 1800 (see table). However, it was very small compared to emigration in the nineteenth and twentieth century, nevertheless the size movement in early modern populations is substantial.
During the 1500s 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.
|Number of European Emigrants 1500 - 1783|
|Country of Origin||Number||Dates|
|Great Britain (Totals)||322,000||1700-1780|
|Germany (Southwestern, Totals)||100,000||1683-1783|
|Switzerland, Alsace Lorraine|
Source: "To Make America"
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, French and other Northern Europeans. From 1650 to 1800 almost 800,000 million Spaniards emigrated to the New World especially by the Bourbon Dynasty in the 18th century. Emigration to New France laid at the origins of modern Canada with important early emigration of colonists from Northern France.
Mass European emigration to the Americas and Australia took place in the 19th and 20th centuries. That was the effect of dramatic demographic transition in 19th century Europe, subsequent wars and political changes on the continent. 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.
Between 1821 and 1890 9.55 million Europeans settled in the United States, mainly Germans, Irish, English, Scandinavians and Scots. 18 million more arrived from 1890 to 1914 including 2.5 million from Canada. 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 or 13.5 million. Not all stayed and many of the immigrants in the previous decades died. The huge number of immigrants to Argentina which had a much smaller population had a much greater impact on 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 at 2 million foreign born; however, the influx of 4 million European immigrants from 1880-1920 altered the racial composition of the country. 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).
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 (5.0 million), Cuba (1.4 million), Uruguay (713,000). 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).
|European Emigrants 1800 - 1960|
|Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa||9.0%|
Source: "World Civilizations: Volume II: Since 1500"
Nations and regions outside of Europe with significant populations of European ancestry: It is important to note,however, that these statistics rely on identification with a European ethnic group in censuses, and as such are subjective (especially in the case of mixed origins).
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
Total European population—approximately 249,300,000
European American – 72.4% of the population, or 223,800,000
Total European population—approximate estimate of ~200,000,000
Argentina: 79% of the population or 38,900,000, may include an unknown percentage of mestizos and mulattos. Other sources put 86.4% of the population. Falkland Islanders mainly European of British descent—total population 3,140.
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.
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.
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