American-Hungarian or Hungarian-American? The socio-demographic characteristics of the modern day Hungarian settlers of America

Having exposed the fundamental goals as well as behind-the-scenes secrets of the information-gathering methods of this sociological research, titled “American-Hungarian or Hungarian-American,” nothing else is left but to share the survey results.

Accordingly, the following five entries will present the results and their details. The first – i.e., this – writing presents a general description of the survey respondents (the sample), as well as the respondents’ socio-demographic characteristics, because without these it would be difficult to interpret or analyze the answers provided to any of the questions.

Additional analysis in the works

The subsequent writing – consisting of two parts – will be a relatively simple disclosure of the results, which will reveal answers elicited by each question in a summarized format. Also here, beyond the results of the total sample, we will examine the results in accordance with respondents’ birth place (inside or outside the USA), and the language in which each person completed the online questionnaire (Hungarian or English).

Afterwards, we will attempt to answer one of the fundamental questions of the survey with the help of a statistical method. We seek to identify which of the answers provided to the survey’s questions defines or authenticates the respondents’ professed identity. More specifically, we wish to find out what answers influence and/or explain the four possible identity choices (exclusively Hungarian, Hungarian residing in America, American of Hungarian origins, or exclusively American). Also in this writing, we will attempt to ascertain the factors influencing the choice of homeland.

Afterwards we will prepare a cluster analysis. Perhaps this writing will contain the most information new to every respondent and reader, and here there will be also a chance for us to then identify ourselves, our American-Hungarian acquaintances and friends. This is the analysis, after all, with whose help we succeeded in separating seven American-Hungarian groups, members of each group answering identically (and therefore probably acting and thinking identically), and we were able to define each group pictorially. With the help of this – hopefully not only will we identify ourselves with one of the groups, but we can also marvel at the very important and yet so far only conjectured differences in views, preferences, and every-day American-Hungarian habits, easily disregarded on busy work days, as well as the variances in these among the groups.

Subsequent to this, other analyses will be prepared according to various viewpoints. We are planning to compare the results with the “should I leave / should I stay” survey taken among the English-Hungarians, since when composing the questionnaire, we strove to have some of the questions correspond to the conditions there. Hopefully, this unique comparison will provide interesting and even surprising results. Beside this, we are planning numerous other specific assessments, but these will take place foreseeably in 2016. Until then let’s just concentrate on the main theme of this writing: that is, let’s introduce those who completed the questionnaires.

Socio-demographic data

As we have mentioned previously, out of the 2,200 respondents, approximately 1,800 answered the socio-demographic questions. Therefore, we can provide detailed background information only as to this sample of 1,800.

Where possible, we will refer to and compare with the corresponding American-Hungarian demographic data of the 2000 census, paraphrased previously. This perhaps may help place in context the survey’s representative nature, albeit the truth is that the 2000 census cannot be said to be necessarily representative as far as the American-Hungarians are concerned, especially since the data is already 15-years old. (It is important to mention also that, given the characteristics of an online survey, the respondents answering the questionnaire after all are not representative of the entire Hungarian population residing in the United States.) Nevertheless, in comparison with the census, the variance of our sample from this sole existing American-Hungarian raw data will be clearly noticeable.

The ratio of women

Women were the majority in our survey (61%), nor did this ratio change significantly in any of the breakouts (language or place of birth). In the census data the sex/gender ratio was a bit more balanced. There, of those identifying themselves as Hungarian – at whatever level or for whatever reason – 51% were female.


The average age of the respondents was 44. Looking at the entire sample’s age distribution, and comparing it with the census data (see graph below), it can be said that a significantly older age group made up the sample, which is not surprising, since the census also included children.

Age distribution total

However, from the cumulative age graph below it can also be easily discerned that the sample is far from comprised exclusively of “older persons”; in fact middle aged persons dominate, since 20% are 34, 40% are 41, 60% are 48, and 80% are below the age of 60.

The average age, the age distribution (and of course the results) will be interesting when we compare this sample with the average age of the “should I leave / should I stay” (Menjek/Maradjak) survey sample, because the English-Hungarian respondents were significantly younger than the American-Hungarians, but more about this in a later writing.

Percentage of respondents by age

Present place of abode

Answers arrived from all the states of the United States except three. Most of the respondents reside in California (407). The second most answers arrived from Florida (157), and the third most from Texas (130). The USA map below clearly indicates the distribution of the respondents’ numbers per state; moreover the thermograph also clearly indicates that the respondents’ overwhelming majority resides mostly in the two coastal, as well as the southern states.

current location total

The place of abode of those completing the Hungarian and the English-language questionnaires varies only slightly. Whereas the states of Ohio and California dominated for the English-language respondents, for the Hungarian-language ones California, Florida and New York were the place of abode for most of those respondents. The census did not contain information relating to the place of abode; thus, unfortunately we are unable to compare the sample to the census.

It is important to mention that the data appearing on the map does not reflect the actual territorial distribution of American-Hungarians, and in fact they do not necessarily correspond to the traditional and historically developed great Hungarian diaspora-centers. An eloquent example of this is the State of New Jersey, from which only 90 questionnaires arrived, despite of its 100-plus year-old past, relatively high population density, and a line-up of a number of active organizations.

In any event, a number of things influenced the sample’s territorial distribution, but taking into account the data gathering experience, the factor influencing it most was the local organizations’ or their representatives’ activity as well as inactivity. Where we were able to find either a forum where we succeeded in locating an enthusiastic supporter of the survey, a so-called opinion leader, or a Hungarian capable of influencing the local community, in that state the completed questionnaires’ number also rose. All this is evident and in fact an unsurprising part of the data gathering method.

The localities’ characteristics

The respondents’ place of abode is quite varied. 25% of the respondents reside in big cities, 21% in medium-sized cities, and those residing in a small town or rural township comprise altogether 21% of the sample. Compared to the rest of the respondents, most of them in fact reside in suburbs (31%), and this is especially characteristic of those completing the questionnaire in the English language, as well as of those born in the USA (40%). Interestingly, an almost mirror image of this data is the fact that the Hungarian-language and not-born-in-the-USA respondents on the other hand mostly reside in big or medium-sized cities (51-53%).

where you live


The questionnaire – albeit in various contexts and with a different method – inquired twice about the respondent’s USA citizenship.

The question focusing on this in the socio-demographic part did not seek information about immigration status in the USA (such as type of visa, green card, USA citizenship), but instead inquired simply about citizenship(s).
An important sidebar is that we left out the answers relating to other citizenships (such as Romanian or Canadian) from the analysis of the socio-demographic question. Here we analyzed only the answers given as Hungarian-, American-, or dual citizenship (i.e. those who checked both), which is illustrated in the graph below.

your citizenship

Regarding the full sample, the ratio of Hungarian and American citizens is almost identical (49% vs. 56%), with 27% reporting to be a dual citizen, which seems low, and perhaps it is explainable only when we glance at the results of subsequent breakouts. Thus, it is clear that the main reason for the low (15% and 9%) partial ratio of dual citizens, as projected onto the full sample, is the dual citizenship ratio of the English-language and USA-born respondents. In fact, in the breakout by the two languages and places of birth, this ratio differs statistically significantly from each other (9% vs. 35% and 15% vs. 35%).

Looking at the result from a different angle, we can also discern that the citizenship of the Hungarian-language respondents and those immigrating to the USA is much more balanced and colorful.


With respect to education, the sample seems, at first glance, to be overly represented at high educational levels, although it is difficult to judge this precisely due to the differences in the educational system of the two countries – especially prior to the regime change. In any event, it is significant that one-quarter of the respondents possesses a post-graduate degree, and the number of those without a high school education is very low. Less than one percent completed only eighth grade elementary school, and those with a junior-higheducation make up only 20% of the sample. These data presumably also reflect the (distorting) effect of the sample taking method, in favor of those with a higher education.

On the other side of the coin though, the survey provides an excellent insight into the characteristics, thinking and habits of Hungarians with a higher education residing in America.


Housing or home ownersip relationship

The majority of the respondents (42%) owns real estate encumbered by mortgage, whereas more than one-third rents his/her current place of abode. Every fifth of those questioned, however, is the owner of real estate free and clear, and this is more frequent among the English-language and USA-born respondents. This contrasts with the renters, which is a larger group among the Hungarian-language and non-USA-born (foreign) respondents.

status of house

The number of bedrooms

To understand better the possible motivation behind some of the answers of the survey participants, we wanted to obtain some minimal insight into their financial situation. This, however, is a very sensitive area, and therefore we decided to inquire only about the number of their bedrooms, and we would infer the respondents’ financial situation only from this – as well as the home/housing ownership status delineated above.

number of bedrooms

The average number of bedrooms in the full sample is 2.5. More than one-third of the respondents (36%) resides in a one- or two-bedroom-, likewise about one-third (34%) resides in a three-bedroom-, and again almost one-third resides in a four- or more bedroom home. There was not much difference in the breakout by language or birth place, with the exception of Hungarian respondents, among whom the one-bedroom residence is much more frequent.

Family status

The family status shows quite a homogeneous picture. Of those surveyed 72% live in a common-law or marital relationship, although the single ratio of the English-language and USA-born respondents is about 20%. This is almost double that of the Hungarian-language and non-USA-born (foreign) respondents.

merital status

In comparison with the family status data of the census, it can be said that the survey sample predominantly reflects the answers of those who live in a common-law or marital relationship (see two graphs relating to this below).

Marital status compare ALL

If we compare the family status of all respondents describing themselves as Hungarian or of Hungarian origin in the census with the family status of all the respondents of the survey, the most important difference is the higher ratio of the married and other categories (e.g., children) in favor of the census. This may be also due to the difference in the method previously mentioned. If we narrow down the comparison to those born in Hungary, then the greatest difference is discernible in the ratio of widows/widowers (16% vs. 2%) and the married ones (62% vs. 77%).

Marital status compare HU

 Partner’s citizenship and education

We gathered only minimal information about the partners; however, this data will play an important role in the analysis of some questions (e.g. language spoken in the family). Those participants who were also willing to answer these two questions asked at the end of the questionnaire, underscored the overrepresentation of the sample, because their spouses also possess a significantly higher education (see diagram below).

Regarding education, there was insignificant difference in the various breakouts. Concerning citizenship, as expected, among those born in the USA, the spouse of every ninth respondent is a US citizen, whereas among the Hungarians “only,” it is every seventh. Dual citizenship, however, is typical almost exclusively to the Hungarian respondents.

sposue highest degree

The absolute majority of spouses (76%) are American citizens, 32% Hungarian citizens, and only 12% have dual citizenship.

This concludes the presentation of the respondents’ socio-demographic characteristics. Let us summarize the most important points to make following along easier.

• Women formed a majority (61%) of the sample, as did those living with a spouse or life partner (72%).
• The average age of respondents was 44, and 27% of respondents had dual citizenship, though this figure was higher among those who completed the survey in Hungarian.
• The great majority of respondents live in the coastal and/or southern states: most responses came from California, Florida and Texas.
• A plurality (31%) live in suburbs, a plurality (42%) as mortgaged homeowners, in residences with an average of 2.5 bedrooms.
• A strong majority of survey respondents have completed higher education; indeed, a quarter of them have completed postgraduate degrees.
• The great majority of respondents’ spouses are American citizens and have completed higher education.

In the light of these results, the main questions raised in the following section become duly explicable. Indeed, these characteristics will enable the photographically vivid description of the cluster analysis to be presented later. It will therefore be worthwhile to take another look, from time to time, at these responses when analyzing the responses to the main questions of this research.

To read further, please click here.

A huge THANK YOU goes to the following individuals for their generous help translating this and the remaining parts. We really appreciate their support!

  • Mária Jánossy
  • Viktoria Johnson
  • Péter Czipott





Az email címet nem tesszük közzé. A kötelező mezőket * karakterrel jelöljük.

A következő HTML tag-ek és tulajdonságok használata engedélyezett: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>