The Most Unusual Ancestry in Every State

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Montana
> Most unusual ancestry: Norwegian
> Concentration in Montana of residents with Norwegian ancestry: 6.6 times higher than share of U.S. population
> Share of Montana residents identifying as having Norwegian ancestry: 9.05% (Total: 94,243)
> Share of US pop. identifying as having Norwegian ancestry: 1.36% (total: 4,403,008)
> Share of all US residents identifying as having Norwegian ancestry living in Montana: 2.14%

The first major wave of Norwegian immigration to the United States took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, largely for economic reasons as immigrants from the Nordic countries seeking homesteads and farmland settled throughout the Upper Midwest. Some 9.1% of Montana residents, or 94,243 people, identify as Norwegian, more than four times the 2.1% national figure.

Towns with the largest Norwegian populations in Montana include Scobey, Plentywood, and Glasgow.

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Nebraska
> Most unusual ancestry: Czech
> Concentration in Nebraska of residents with Czech ancestry: 10.5 times higher than share of U.S. population
> Share of Nebraska residents identifying as having Czech ancestry: 4.51% (Total: 85,869)
> Share of US pop. identifying as having Czech ancestry: 0.43% (total: 1,382,835)
> Share of all US residents identifying as having Czech ancestry living in Nebraska: 6.21%

The share of Nebraska residents identifying as having Czech ancestry is 4.5%, or 85,869 people, compared with the overall percentage of the American population claiming Czech ancestry of 0.43%.

Czechs have been in Nebraska for at least since the mid-19th century. About 50,000 Czech immigrants fled what was the Austrian-Hungarian Empire to come to Nebraska between 1856 and the start of WWI, and by 1910 first and second generation Czechs made up about 14% of Nebraska’s foreign-born population. At the time, Nebraska had more first- and second-generation Czechs per capita than any other U.S. state.

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Nevada
> Most unusual ancestry: Basque
> Concentration in Nevada of residents with Basque ancestry: 8.7 times higher than share of U.S. population
> Share of Nevada residents identifying as having Basque ancestry: 0.17% (Total: 4,852)
> Share of US pop. identifying as having Basque ancestry: 0.02% (total: 61,264)
> Share of all US residents identifying as having Basque ancestry living in Nevada: 7.92%

Nevada is another state where Basque Americans comprise the largest share of the population relative to their share nationwide. Basque Americans hail from Basque Country — a region that covers parts of northern Spain and southwestern France where the Basque language is primarily spoken. The first major wave of Basque immigrants to the United States came during the California gold rush in 1848. Many Basques found employment as sheepherders in northern Nevada, and today the state is home to one of the largest Basque American populations in the country.

Some 0.17% of Nevada ACS respondents identify as Basque, nearly 10 times the 0.02% national share.

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New Hampshire
> Most unusual ancestry: French Canadian
> Concentration in New Hampshire of residents with French Canadian ancestry: 13.9 times higher than share of U.S. population
> Share of New Hampshire residents identifying as having French Canadian ancestry: 9.05% (Total: 121,596)
> Share of US pop. identifying as having French Canadian ancestry: 0.65% (total: 2,095,503)
> Share of all US residents identifying as having French Canadian ancestry living in New Hampshire: 5.80%

French Canadians are an ethnic group that descends from the French colonists who settled in eastern Canada around the 17th century. Large-scale immigration to the United States began in the 19th century, as groups of French Canadians found employment in textile mills and logging operations throughout New England. Today, some 9.05% of New Hampshire residents, or 121,596 people, identify as French Canadian, more than 13 times the 0.65% national share.

Some 2.4% of New Hampshire residents today speak French, the fifth largest share of any state.

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New Jersey
> Most unusual ancestry: Egyptian
> Concentration in New Jersey of residents with Egyptian ancestry: 5.6 times higher than share of U.S. population
> Share of New Jersey residents identifying as having Egyptian ancestry: 0.44% (Total: 39,393)
> Share of US pop. identifying as having Egyptian ancestry: 0.08% (total: 254,257)
> Share of all US residents identifying as having Egyptian ancestry living in New Jersey: 15.49%

A majority of Egyptian Americans emigrated to the United States in the last 60 years as laws such as the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and the Immigration Act of 1990 eased immigration quotas and requirements for underrepresented populations. Still, the Egyptian diaspora in America is one of the smallest national origin groups.

Approximately 254,257 Americans identify as Egyptian, just 0.08% of the U.S. population. Of that group, 15.49% live in New Jersey, more than in any state other than California. Egyptians comprise 0.44% of New Jersey’s population, or 39,393 people, almost six times the national share.

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