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  • German Americans are Americans who were either born in Germany or are of German ancestry. They comprise about 50 million people, making them the second largest ancestry group behind English Americans or, if of mixed European ancestry, identify with a more recent and differentiated ethnic group. ahead of Irish Americans, African Americans. They comprise about ¹⁄₃ of the German diaspora in the world. None of the German states had American colonies. In the 1670s the first significant groups of German immigrants arrived in the British colonies, settling primarily in New York and Pennsylvania. Immigration continued in very large numbers during the 19th century, with eight million arrivals from Germany. They were pulled by the attractions of land and religious freedom, and pushed out of Europe by shortages of land and religious or political oppression. Many arrived seeking religious or political freedom, others for economic opportunities greater than those in Europe, and others for the chance to start fresh in the New World. The arrivals before 1850 were mostly farmers who sought out the most productive land, where their intensive farming techniques would pay off.

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