Many Germans immigrated to America because of civil unrest in their country, a lack of jobs or terrible hardships. In the 19th century, millions of German immigrants came to America and began working in labor-intensive industries.
People of German ethnicity or descent made up the largest cultural group in the United States in 2000. According to the census from that year, slightly more than 15 percent of the country's population, approximately 46.5 million people, claimed German descent. When many of these people's ancestors came to the United States, they came from German-speaking nations in Western Europe. Germany as a country did not exist until 1871.