Karoline Kühl


language, Danish immigrants


The destination of most participants in the mass emigration from Denmark around the turn of the twentieth century was North America. In total about 400,000 to 450,000 Danes immigrated to the United States between 1820 and 2000, the majority between 1880 and 1920 (Grøngaard Jeppesen 2005, 265ff., 323). Danish immigration to the United States was, generally speaking, a story of socioeconomic success due to rapid assimilation based on both sociodemographic factors and attitudes. Between 1870 and 1940, when most Danish immigrants settled in the United States, the group included, to a larger degree than most other European groups, young, unmarried men, 55– 65 percent of the total (Hvidt 1971, 188f.). This led to a high degree of exogamy (marriage outside the ethnic group) und thus intermingling with other (mostly European) ethnic groups (Grøngaard Jeppesen 2005, 282ff.). Although earlier Danish immigrants in particular formed tightknit communities—Chicago was the home to some major Danish communities before 1930, for example (cf. Nielsen 1993)—the general picture of the Danish immigration to the US was one of social and geographic mobility. Danish immigrants and in particular their descendants moved on in search of opportunities, leading to above-average socioeconomic success (Grøngaard Jeppesen 2005, 179).