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  • German Americans are Americans who are of German descent. They comprise about 50 million people, making them the largest self-reported ancestry group ahead of Irish Americans, African Americans and English Americans, although English Americans more than likely form the largest ancestry group in the U.S. due to Americans primarily of English ancestry identifying as simply American or with an ancestry group more recent in their family. 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.

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