Austrian Americans (German: Österreichamerikaner, pronounced [ˈøːstɐʁaɪ̯çʔameʁiˌkaːnɐ]) are Americans of Austrian descent. According to the 2000 U.S. census, there were 735,128 Americans of full or partial Austrian descent, accounting for 0.3% of the population. The states with the largest Austrian American populations were New York (93,083), California (84,959), Pennsylvania (58,002) (most of them in the Lehigh Valley), Florida (54,214), New Jersey (45,154), and Ohio (27,017). This may be an undercount, as many German Americans, Czech Americans, Polish Americans, Slovak Americans, and Ukrainian Americans, and other Americans with Central European ancestry can trace their roots from the Habsburg territories of Austria, the Austrian Empire, or Cisleithania in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, regions which were major sources of immigrants to the United States before World War I, and whose inhabitants often assimilated into larger immigrant and ethnic communities throughout the United States. Before World War I, many Austrians were often categorized as German people, largely because of their shared cultural-linguistic and ethnic origin and Austria being one of many historical German states of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.
|Regions with significant populations|
|New York, California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey|
|German (especially Austrian German), American English|
|Roman Catholic, Protestant; Jewish and other minorities|
|Related ethnic groups|
Before World War I, Austrian migration to United States was difficult to determine, as until 1918, it was only part of a multicultural empire. However, after the initial wave of settlers, Austrian immigration was low during the first half of the 19th century. During this period, fewer than 1,000 Austrians emigrated to the United States.
The Austrians who settled in Illinois and Iowa received religious education thanks to a shipment of 100 to 200 Catholic priests from Germany and Austria by The Leopoldine Stiftung, an Austrian foundation that funded those priests for the newly emigrated and the Native Americans, and they monitored their religious education. Most of the emigrants were Tyroleans in search of land and people who fled the oppressive Metternich regime. The political refugees were mostly anticlerical and against slavery. They were liberals and adapted quickly to their new country.
The immigration of Austrians increased during the second half of 19th century, reaching 275,000 by 1900. Many Austrians worked in the United States as miners, servants, and common laborers. Many Austrians settled in New York City, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. Since 1880, when a mass emigration started from all over Europe, Austrians also emigrated massively to the United States, looking for new agricultural land on which to work because as the Austrian Empire was undergoing industrialization, fields were being replaced by cities. However, the same was happening in the western United States. Many of the immigrants came from Burgenland. From 1901 to 1910 alone, Austrians were one of the ten most significant immigrant groups in the United States, with more than 2.1 million Austrians. Scholarly research on this topic is growing, in the Journal of Austrian-American History and elsewhere.
Most of these newly immigrated Austrians were cosmopolitan and were left-wing. They found employment in Chicago stockyards and Pennsylvania cement and steel factories. Many of them, more than 35 percent, returned to Austria with the savings that they had made by their employment.
Since the First World War and until the end of the Great Depression, Austrian immigration was low, until it slowed to a trickle during the years of the Depression. From 1919 to 1924, fewer than 20,000 Austrians arrived in the United States, most of them from Burgenland. Also, laws restricting immigration to the US, imposed by the Austrian government, limited Austrian emigration further, reducing it to only 1,413 persons per year.
However, in the late 1930s, a new Austrian wave of immigrants began arriving in the United States. Most of them were Jews fleeing the Nazi persecution which started with the Annexation of Austria in 1938. In 1941, some 29,000 Jewish Austrians had emigrated to the United States. Most of them were doctors, lawyers, architects and artists (such as composers, writers, and stage and film directors).
Much later, between 1945 and 1960, some 40,000 Austrians entered the United States. Since the 1960s, however, Austrian immigration has been negligible, mostly because Austria is now a developed nation, where poverty and political oppression are scarce. According to the 1990 U.S. census, 948,558 people claimed be of Austrian descent (only 0.4 percent of the total population). In the 19th century, a total of 4.2 million Austrians had immigrated to the United States.
Austrian immigrants adapted quickly to American society because the Austrian Empire had also been a melting pot of many cultures and languages. On the other hand, despite the rejection that Austrians feel toward the behavior of the Germans, regarded by Austrians as less tolerant and cosmopolitan, they have suffered the same damages and discrimination that German immigrants have faced in United States. They were considered by Americans to be the same because of their language and both world wars. Most Austrian Americans speak American English and German (the official language of Austria).
Most Austrians are Roman Catholic. The Austrian contribution in the 19th century in evangelizing Native Americans is remarkable. However, in the 19th century, Austrians also had to work with Irish Catholic priests, who spoke English, to baptize the Natives and convert them to Catholicism. Thus, the Leopoldine Society sent money and priests to North America and led to the creation of over 400 churches on the East Coast, in the Midwest, and in the "Indian Country," farther west. It was especially prominent in cities such as in Cincinnati and St. Louis. The Benedictines and Franciscans also built thousands of congregations.
However, the expansion of Catholicism conducted by Austrian priests caused a rejection of American society, as it could alter the religious balance in the country. Therefore, for a long time, Austrians once again had to struggle to adapt to American life. The 20th century reduced the religiosity of the average Austrian American, as other Americans.
Austrian settlements in the United States
U.S. communities with highest percentages of Austrian Americans
- Waterville, Wisconsin 12.10%
- Coplay, Pennsylvania 10.60%
- Durand, Wisconsin 9.20%
- Rock Creek, Wisconsin and Northampton, Pennsylvania 5.20%
- Allen Township, Pennsylvania 4.50%
- Drammen, Wisconsin 4.40%
- Palenville, New York 4.30%
- Great Neck Plaza, New York, Upper Nazareth Township, Pennsylvania and Schuylkill Township, Pennsylvania (Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania) 4.20%
- Noble Township, Indiana (LaPorte County, Indiana) 4.10%
- Highland Beach, Florida and Mondovi, Wisconsin 4.00%
- North Catasauqua, Pennsylvania 3.90%
- Russell Gardens, New York 3.80%
- Washington Township, Kansas (Crawford County, Kansas) 3.70%
- Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania, Arma, Kansas and Tuscarawas, Ohio 3.60%
- Hewlett Harbor, New York, East Union Township, Pennsylvania and Indian Hills, Colorado 3.30%
- Ellis, Kansas and Harbor Isle, New York 3.20%
- Brunswick, Wisconsin, Nazareth, Pennsylvania, Shelby Township, Indiana (Shelby County, Indiana) and Columbia, California 3.10%
- Kensington, New York, Stamford, Vermont and Jericho, New York 3.00%
- Sherry, Wisconsin, Beaver Meadows, Pennsylvania, Sheridan Township, Kansas (Crawford County, Kansas) and Butler Township, Pennsylvania (Luzerne County, Pennsylvania) 2.90%
- Berlin Township, Ohio (Knox County, Ohio), North Union Township, Pennsylvania (Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania), Frontenac, Kansas and Tipton, Pennsylvania 2.70%
- Lower Milford Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, Catasauqua, Pennsylvania, Great Neck Estates, New York, Lake Success, New York, Barataria, Louisiana, Upper Milford Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, Spring Brook, Wisconsin, Roslyn, New York and Roslyn Estates, New York 2.60%
- Black Creek Township, Pennsylvania and Morganville, New Jersey 2.50%
- Atlantic Beach, New York, Moore Township, Pennsylvania, Warwick Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio (Tuscarawas County, Ohio) and Woodbury, New York 2.40%
- South Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania, Tangerine, Florida, Green Township, Indiana (Madison County, Indiana), Hanover Township, Pennsylvania (Lehigh County, Pennsylvania), Jacksonport, Wisconsin and Plainview, New York 2.30%
- Shamokin Township, Pennsylvania, Old Bethpage, New York, Wesley Hills, New York, Bushkill Township, Pennsylvania, Cleveland Township, Pennsylvania and Atwood, Kansas 2.20%
- East Hills, New York, Salisbury Township, Pennsylvania (Lehigh County, Pennsylvania), Newark Valley, New York, Shippen Township, Pennsylvania (Cameron County, Pennsylvania), East Allen Township, Pennsylvania, Kingston, Washington, Palm Beach, Florida, Baiting Hollow, New York, Bridgeport, New York, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, North Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania, Dunn, Wisconsin, Millburn Township, New Jersey, Atwood, Kansas, Canaan Township, Ohio (Madison County, Ohio), Pomona, New York, Macungie, Pennsylvania, Madison Lake, Minnesota, Nockamixon Township, Pennsylvania and Sunol, California 2.10%
- Waterloo Township, Michigan, Columbus, Kansas and Monroe Township, New Jersey (Middlesex County, New Jersey) 2.00%
U.S. communities with the most residents born in Austria
- Hillside Lake, New York 1.4%
- Redway, California 1.3%
- Black Diamond, Florida 1.2%
- Smallwood, New York 1.2%
- Highland Beach, Florida 1.2%
- Cordova, Maryland 1.2%
- Keystone, Colorado 1.2%
- North Lynbrook, New York 1.1%
- Cedar Glen Lakes, New Jersey 1.1%
- Center City, Minnesota 1.1%
- Scotts Corners, New York 1.0%
- Killington, Vermont 1.0%
- Lexington, New York 1.0%
- Tuxedo Park, New York 1.0%
- Woody Allen – actor, director, screenwriter, comedian, author, playwright, musician, of Jewish descent
- Gabrielle Anwar – actress
- Godfrey Edward Arnold – medical doctor and researcher
- Maria Altmann – art collector
- Adele Astaire – dancer, actress, sister of Fred
- Fred Astaire – dancer, actor
- Sean Astin – actor
- Peter L. Berger – sociologist
- Gustav Bergmann – philosopher
- Edward Bernays – Austrian-American pioneer in public relations, referred to in his obituary as "the father of public relations".
- Bibi Besch – actress
- Bruno Bettelheim – child psychologist, psychoanalyst and concentration camp survivor
- Bela Borsodi – photographer
- Ricardo Cortez – silent film actor, of Austrian Jewish descent
- Stanley Cortez – cinematographer
- Robert von Dassanowsky – academic, writer and film producer
- Eric de Kolb — painter and designer
- Felix de Weldon – sculptor, best known for the Marine Corps War Memorial
- Carl Djerassi – chemist, novelist, and playwright
- Daniel DeWeldon – actor, son of Felix de Weldon
- Henry Ellenbogen – US Congressman from Pennsylvania
- Felix Frankfurter – US Supreme Court Justice
- Teri Garr – actress, comedian, dancer and voice artist
- Kurt Gödel – logician, mathematician, philosopher
- Friedrich von Hayek – Austrian-born economist and philosopher
- Alex Hafner – actor
- Audrey Hepburn – actor, both of her parents British subjects of Austrian descent
- Fred F. Herzog – the only Jewish judge in Austria between the world wars, he fled to America and became Dean of two different law schools.
- Raul Hillberg – political scientist and historian, who is widely considered to be one of the world's preeminent scholars of the Holocaust
- Hans Holzer – paranormal researcher and author
- Heinz von Foerster – scientist combining physics and philosophy, originator of Second-order cybernetics
- Eric Kandel – neuroscientist
- David Karfunkle – painter, muralist
- Kurt Kasznar – Austrian born American actor
- Hans Kelsen – jurist
- Greta Kempton – artist
- Joseph Keppler – cartoonist, best known for the illustrated magazine Puck
- John Kerry – politician, former Senator from Massachusetts, US presidential candidate of 2004 (D), former US Secretary of State
- Corey Kluber – Major League Baseball Pitcher, 2014 Cy Young Pitcher
- Erich Wolfgang Korngold – composer
- Hedy Lamarr – actress, from an Austrian Jewish family
- Elissa Landi – actress
- Karl Landsteiner – biologist and physician, best known for having distinguished the main blood groups
- Fritz Lang – director
- Erich Leinsdorf – conductor
- Peter Lorre – actor
- Ernst Mahler – chemist and industrialist
- Samantha Mathis – actress, daughter of Bibi Besch
- Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises – economist, philosopher, author and classical liberal
- Arthur Murray – dancer, entrepreneur
- Richard Neutra – architect
- Frederick Burr Opper – cartoonist
- Emily Osment – actress, sister of Haley Joel
- Haley Joel Osment – actor, brother of Emily
- Wolfgang Pauli – physicist
- Natalie Portman – actress, born to a Jewish family, some of whom came from Austria
- Otto Preminger – director
- Wolfgang Puck – celebrity chef, restaurateur
- Wilhelm Reich – psychiatrist
- Leah Remini – actress, mother has Austrian Jewish descent
- Don Rickles – actor and comedian, of Jewish descent
- Martin Roscheisen – entrepreneur
- Bobby Schayer – musician
- Fritzi Scheff – actress
- Joseph Schildkraut – actor
- Arnold Schoenberg – composer, of Jewish descent
- Kurt von Schuschnigg – Austrofascist politician and Austrian federal Chancellor 1936-1938 and professor of political sciences at St. Louis University 1948-1967
- Alfred Schütz - philosopher/sociologist
- Arnold Schwarzenegger – actor and 38th Governor of California
- Katherine Schwarzenegger – author, daughter of Arnold, sister of Patrick
- Patrick Schwarzenegger – actor, son of Arnold, brother of Katherine
- Lilia Skala – actress
- Walter Slezak – actor
- Michael Smerconish – CNN journalist
- Mose Solomon – "Rabbi of Swat", Major League Baseball player, of Jewish descent
- Nita Strauss - rock guitarist
- Erich von Stroheim – director
- Josef von Sternberg – director
- Eliot Teltscher – top-10 tennis player
- Georg Ludwig von Trapp – headed the Austrian singing family portrayed in The Sound of Music. His exploits at sea in World War I earned him numerous decorations, including elevation to the Austrian nobility
- Agathe von Trapp – eldest daughter of Baron Georg von Trapp and Agathe Whitehead von Trapp, The von Trapp Family from The Sound of Music
- Maria F. von Trapp – the second-oldest daughter of Baron Georg von Trapp and Agathe Whitehead von Trapp, The von Trapp Family from The Sound of Music
- Werner von Trapp – second-oldest son of Georg Ritter von Trapp and Agathe Whitehead von Trapp, The von Trapp Family from The Sound of Music
- Ken Uston – blackjack player, strategist, and author
- Markus Wagner - business angel and founder of i5invest.com
- Tessa Gräfin von Walderdorff – American socialite, writer, and actress who is a member of the Austrian noble family Walderdorff
- Joseph Warkany – pediatrician
- Paul Watzlawick – psychologist, communications theorist, and philosopher
- Victor Frederick Weisskopf – physicist of Jewish descent. During World War II, he worked at Los Alamos on the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb, and later campaigned against the proliferation of nuclear weapons; medal received in 1979
- Billy Wilder – director, of Jewish descent
- Ernst Florian Winter – diplomat
- Matthew Winter – journalist
- Shelley Winters – actress, of Jewish descent
- Joe Zawinul – jazz pianist
- Fred Zinnemann – director
- (US Census Bureau)
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- "Fritz Austerlitz, the Austrian American who went to Hollywood and emerged as Fred Astaire."
- Archived 2006-07-28 at the Wayback Machine "Bibi Besch was an Austrian actress."
- "Though his professional name was suggestive of a Latin Lover type, actor Ricardo Cortez was actually an Austrian Jew, born Jacob Krantz. He arrived in Hollywood in 1922, at a time when the Rudolph Valentino craze was at its height."
- regarding an Austrian decoration: "I have focused on Austrian studies most of my academic life. As an Austrian-American, it makes me especially proud."
- "Born and educated in Vienna. Immigrated to the United States and served in the 33rd Congressional District (Pittsburgh, PA)."
- Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood By Teri Garr, Henriette Mantel
- Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature Vol 2, Volume 2
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- "Austrian-American legal philosopher, teacher, jurist, and writer on international law ..."
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2004-11-09. Retrieved 2006-05-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "sat for Austrian native Greta Kempton five times in 1947 ..."
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-01-22. Retrieved 2008-01-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "Joseph Keppler was born in Vienna, Austria, on 1st February, 1838."
- "A study of the life and work of Austrian composer Korngold ..."
- "Austrian born film star, Hedy Lamarr, of the 1930 and 40s was also a gifted electrical engineer." "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-02-28. Retrieved 2006-04-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "Hedy Lamarr had been an American citizen since 1953."
- "Elissa Landi Austrian/Italian leading lady."
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-04-24. Retrieved 2006-05-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "Austrian-American modernist architect Richard Neutra."
- Wolfgang Pauli: "… in 1946 he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Following World War II he returned to Zurich."
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-09-12. Retrieved 2006-08-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "The Austrian-born Puck began ..."; WolfgangPuck.com (2005); retrieved 2006-08-31
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- "Arnold Schwarzenegger, "The Austrian Oak", was a bodybuilding prodigy who won the ..." "Arnold was the embodiment of the American (a naturalized citizen since 1983) dream ..."
- "Galvanizing, stern-featured Viennese character actress with extensive Broadway experience ..."
- "That's Erika Slezak, daughter of the famous Austrian-American actor Walter Slezak ..."
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- "Growing up in Vienna in a well-to-do Jewish family ..." "One of the most brilliant Jewish scientists to be driven from Germany by Nazi persecution ..."
- "Wilder, Austrian-born, but in the US since 1934, directed his last film in 1981."