Norwegian Descendants in the United States

 St Olaf College Norwegian Descendants

The St. Olaf College, a coeducational, residential, four-year, private liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota, was funded in 1874 by a group of Norwegian American immigrant pastors and farmers. (Photo: St. Olaf College)

Norwegian immigrants settled in the United States primarily in the second half of the 1800s and the early decades of the twentieth century, and there are still many who describe themselves as Norwegians. This despite the fact that fewer and fewer Norwegian Americans speak Norwegian, that there no longer is any Norwegian language newspaper in the United States, and the fact that ethnic Norwegians who immigrated to the United States not only have got children with other Norwegians. There are more than 4.6 million Norwegian Americans, and they predominantly live in the Upper Midwest.

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Norwegian Descendants in the U.S and Canada

The map shows the percentage of the total population in Canada and the U.S. that descends from Norwegian immigrants. 

At the 2010 U.S. Census there was recorded 4.6 million with Norwegian roots in America. The vast majority of Norwegian Americans are descendants of immigrants who came between 1860 and 1920 and who settled in the Midwest. In the last two generations, there has been considerable changes so that only five out of ten Norwegian Americans are living in the Midwest, but it is estimated that nearly nine out of ten Norwegian Americans have ties to the region (i.e. that they or one or both parents were born there), but the lack of opportunities and lack of jobs has led to that many have moved south, west or east.

Ethnic Norwegians and their successors represent 1.5 percent of the total U.S. population.About four percent of the population in the United States is of Scandinavian descent, but this number is much higher in the Upper Midwest – particularly in Michigan, Eastern Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, and Northern Iowa, where Scandinavians make up about 25 percent of the population.


Total population

Norwegian Americans
Up from 13,000 in 1850
1.5% of the U.S. population

Regions and states with significant populations

 Midwest 2,273,683
 West 1,552,462
 South 545,699
 Northeast 266,881
 Minnesota 868,361
 Wisconsin 466,469
 California 412,177
 Washington 410,818
 North Dakota 199,154
 Iowa 173,640
 Illinois 171,745
 Oregon 164,676
 Texas 129,081
 Arizona 124,618
 Colorado 119,164
 Florida 117,444
 South Dakota 113,543
 New York 92,796
 Montana 90,425


Text modified by: Thor Lanesskog, ThorNews

Source: Wikpdedia

Illustrating map by: Wikimedia Commons



Categories: Culture, History

9 replies

  1. Oh shoot, I didn’t realize the Western Viking newspaper out of Seattle had shut down. That’s a shame.

  2. Western Viking and Norway Times merged and are now the Norwegian American Weekly which does have one page of Norwegian.

  3. I believe the figures from St. Olaf is distorted as they really do not look into Norwegian immigrants into the New York area. What defines a Norwegian-American ?? What percent Norwegian blood?? If one checks the immigration records into New York in detail, many more of Norwegian heritage than above records show. There were more than 50,000 Norwgians in Bay Ridge alone, and when they intermarried etc etc, the numbers of Norwegian-Americans could easily exceed 500,000 in the state, not 92,000 as record above indicate!

  4. Please add me to the mailing list

  5. jeg er norsk amerikaner, min oldefar heter Martin Iversen var fra Bergen, min oldemore heter
    Hedvig Andresson, var from Oslo….. jeg er veldig veldig stolt å være norsk amerikaner. Jeg
    prøver å snakker norsk….. min forlovet er fra Norge nå…… Jeg elsker Norway! Jeg bor I NY….

  6. Greetings! I’m a third generation descendent of Norwegian immigrants who came to the US in the 1880s. My Norwegian family name is Bogen. My mother was 3/4 Norwegian and 1/4 Swedish. My father’s family is descended from Scottish roots. Mange takk!

  7. My mother was a Tande, her mother’s maiden name was Lien.

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