A European American (Euro-American) is a person who resides in the United States and is either from Europe or is the descendant of European immigrants or founding colonists.
Overall, as the largest group, European Americans have the lowest poverty rate and the second highest educational attainment levels, median household income, and median personal income of any racial demographic in the nation.
In 1977, it was proposed that the term "European American" replace "white" as a racial label in the U.S. Census.
The term European American is more narrow than White American in terms of their official usage. The term is different from Caucasian American, White American, and Anglo American., though "European Americans" is sometimes used as a synonym for White Americans. According to the Texas Association of Museums, "European American," White American, Caucasian American or Anglo are terms that vary in their preference depending on the individual and their descent., Anglo is a term commonly used in the southwestern United States, because of that term combines a number of distinct ethnicities under a single rubric with origins in England. The term also has a more specific reference than either White American or Caucasian American since both of these terms include a larger group of people than is acknowledged in Europe. Also, whereas White American and Caucasian American carry somewhat ambiguous definitions, depending on the speaker, European American has a more specific definition and scope. However, there are many immigrants from the European continent who are not classified under the White racial grouping. A substantial or "visible" proportion of the populations of the Germany, Ireland, UK, and many other European countries are racially Black, Asian, and of numerous other ethnic backgrounds that have all migrated there in recent decades. These people often immigrate to the United States and are European American despite not being White. According to sociologist Rosanne Skirble, the term European American has increased somewhat in use, but White American, Caucasian American, and Anglo continue to be equally preferred depending on the descent of the given individual(s) or group to which the term refers.
The term was coined by some to emphasize the European cultural and geographical ancestral origins of Americans in the same way that is done for African Americans
and Asian Americans
rather than not emphasize ancestry. A European American identity is still notable because 90% of the respondents classified as white on the U.S. Census knew their European ancestry. Historically, the concept of an American was conceived in the U.S. as a person of mixed European ancestries to the exclusion of African Americans and Native Americans. As a linguistic
concern, the term is often meant to discourage a dichotomous
view of the racial
landscape between the normative white category and everyone else. Margo Adair suggests that the recognition of specific European American ancestries allows certain Americans to become aware that they come from a variety of different cultures.
European Americans are largely descended from colonial American stock supplemented with two big waves of immigration from Europe. Today, each of the three different branches of immigrants are most common in different parts of the country. Colonial stock, which is of mostly English
, and Welsh
descent, may be found throughout the country but is especially dominant in the South
. Some people of colonial stock are also descendants of German and Dutch immigrants. The vast majority of these are Protestants
descent, which can also be found throughout the country, is most concentrated in Louisiana
, while Spanish
descent is dominant in the Southwest
. These are primarily Roman Catholic
and were assimilated with the Louisiana Purchase
and the aftermath of the Mexican-American War
, respectively. The first wave of European migration came from Northern and Western Europe between about 1820 and 1890. Most of these were from Ireland
, and Scandinavia
, and with large numbers of Irish and German Catholics immigrating, Roman Catholicism became an important minority religion. Their descendants are dominant in the Midwest
, although German descent is extremely common in Pennsylvania, and Irish descent is also common in urban centers in the Northeast. The second wave of European Americans arrived from 1880 to the 1920s, mainly from Southern and Eastern Europe. This wave included Italians
primarily from Southern Italy, Greeks
, and Eastern European Jews
. Their descendants are dominant in the Northeast
European American cultural lineage can be traced back to Europe and is institutionalized in the form of its government and civic education. The Solutrean hypothesis
suggested that Europeans may have been among the first in the Americas. More recent research has argued this not to be the case and that the founding Native American population came from Siberia through Beringia. An article in the American Journal of Human Genetics states "Here we show, by using 86 complete mitochondrial genomes, that all Native American haplogroups, including haplogroup X, were part of a single founding population, thereby refuting multiple-migration models. Since European Americans have assimilated into American culture, most European Americans now generally express their individual ethnic ties sporadically and symbolically and do not consider their specific ethnic origins to be essential to their identity; however, European American ethnic expression has been revived since the 1960s. Southern Europeans, specifically Italians and Greeks, have maintained high levels of ethnic identity. In the 1960s, Mexican Americans and African Americans started exploring their cultural traditions as the ideal of cultural pluralism took hold. European Americans followed suit by exploring their individual cultural origins and having less shame of expressing their unique cultural heritage.