American-Hungarian or Hungarian-American? The seven tribes of modern day Hungarians resettling in the U.S.

In previous parts of the report we have already reviewed the objectives of the American-Hungarian or Hungarian-American survey, as well as methodology and detailed results to learn which factors influence respondents’ choice for home country and national identity. This time around, we will analyze the survey results from a different angle.

In this report we are trying to uncover whether there are participants whose responses are similar and hence view different aspects of their lives in the U.S. comparably. If so, then we shall see how many there are and how comparable or different they are from participants in other groups. We will introduce these groups or clusters by describing what they do, what they think of their lives in the U.S., who they consider themselves to be. We will learn who these groups are, where they are from, where they live, etc. Essentially, we will try to prepare a portrayal of them.

Let us see these clusters, but before then, let us have a quick review of the methodology that led us to the seven groups we identified. We will be referring to them as seven groups or tribes going forward. The fact that we identified seven clusters allows us to call them tribes, in the spirit of the seven tribes of Magyars who first conquered the Carpathian Basin in the ninth century CE. We have discovered seven tribes of modern-day resettlers that we have bestowed with apt proper names.


For this analysis we employed a common statistical method called cluster analysis. There is more information about clustering under this link, but to keep it simple, we just mention that this is the method that tells whether data points within a vast data set can be grouped based on one or multiple variables.

During the clustering we took into account the answers respondents gave to questions aimed at home country, satisfaction and language proficiency. Based on these responses, 7 groups or clusters emerged. Afterwards, we examined the demographics of these segments. We conducted the analysis in this manner because we believed the similarities and differences were more likely to lie in attitudes than in demographics. As a result, we were able to prepare an excellent portrayal of all seven groups. Each and every tribe received a name based on this as well.

The name and profile picture was a subjective choice and focused on the most distinctive features of the tribes. We understand that these resulting mini-profiles are not necessarily representative, but they will be easier to differentiate and identify with. (And last, to make it easier to contrast, we have only used male names, as the gender breakdown within groups did not vary significantly.)

The seven tribes and their percentage distribution are easily derived from the illustration below.

magyar-amerikai_fejek_nagyLet us see what is characteristic of these tribes of resettlers.

The Lonely Puli tribe

The Lonely Puli tribe represents 7.5% of American-Hungarians, of which the majority (88%) are immigrants and are primarily (84%) from Hungary. (The Puli is a specifically Hungarian breed of sheepdog.) They left – on average – 15 years ago, about 4 years later than the average of the full sample. When resettling, they didn’t have anyone to count on for help at the beginning: they could only rely on themselves. They have a myriad of reasons for coming. Many were driven by curiosity, but in contrast to other tribes, their main driver for resettling was marriage to an American citizen. For most, it was not a conscious decision to seek something in the U.S. or to leave Hungary for a pivotal reason.maganyos-pulik

Members of this tribe had the highest numbers of those arriving with a tourist visa (54%). They are also the boldest as well, as they have the highest rates of members – still – staying in the U.S. illegally. There are quite a few though, who by now have obtained a Green Card. Members of the Lonely Puli tribe, in contrast to other tribes, are the least satisfied with every aspect of their life, especially their social life. They are the ones who compared with others speak English the least, and potentially because of this, admittedly are less likely to make friends in the U.S. So much so, that again compared to others, they are also the ones less likely to establish close relationships with other Hungarians living in the U.S. Based on the data, they come across as a slightly isolated group of Hungarians, who are a bit disappointed with their lives in the U.S.

This is also underscored by their disinterest in U.S. news, and they barely travel outside the U.S. If they do travel, they prefer to go to Hungary. They are in touch daily or weekly with their relatives and friends in Hungary, yet are not a part of any American-Hungarian community. If they are, it is more likely to be on online forum. Compared to other groups, they are the ones who are more likely to be ashamed of their Hungarian heritage and perceive it as a disadvantage.

If they have children, their children speak Hungarian at an intermediate level (5.2) and are least likely to read (3.9) and write (3.7) in Hungarian. Interestingly, their command of the English language is not that of a native speaker either. In fact, within the full sample, their children’s knowledge of English is the “weakest”, while still pretty good (7.0-7.2). At home, both languages are spoken equally, which could be due to an American spouse.

Based on the description above, it might not be surprising that compared to the other groups, this group has the highest number of Hungarians who plan to move home soon – within a year. Not a coincidence either that they are more likely to call Hungary home (3.9) and they have the second largest percentage (11%) of those who consider themselves solely Hungarian. However, given the factors above, the majority (70%) consider themselves as Hungarians living in the U.S.

magyar-amerikai_maganyos-pulik_nagyWhen the Lonely Puli tribe describes the U.S., like the other groups, they use mostly positive descriptors, but in contrast to other groups, this is where most negative adjectives show up about the new home country. What is most interesting with this group is that Hungary is not necessarily a positive place, in some case it is even more negative than the U.S. With this group, it cannot be said that it is about holding onto a positive image of Hungary from the past.

When asked what the U.S. had to offer, again in contrast with other groups, the most representative answers were around financial difficulties, limited possibilities, little work and low quality of life. For what Hungary had to offer, there is no uniform opinion, either positive or negative.

Major socio-demographic factors

Average age of the tribe is 46 years, 65% are women, most (58%) are married, though this is one of the groups that has a fairly high percentage of widowers. In terms of education they tend to have a high school diploma. The majority live in big cities – of around 1.8M residents – and tend to rent a 1 or 2 bedroom house, unless they live at someone else’s house.

The Proud Uncles

The Proud Uncles make up 16.6% of the total sample, which makes them the 3rd largest American-Hungarian tribe. They have the highest proportion of members already born in the U.S. (92%). Of those who are immigrants, they immigrated on average 43 years ago and not necessarily directly from Hungary but from other countries. A lot of them have an “other” reason for coming to the U.S. There are a lot of political refugees and those who came to unite with family. 99% of them hold a U.S. citizenship.



The majority have not visited Hungary in the past 5 years, probably because they do not have any relatives or anybody to keep in touch with. Maybe because of this or because they are fairly satisfied with their lives in the U.S. and their American friends, they have no plans at all to relocate to Hungary. They do not follow.

Hungarian news, and only every 5th member belongs to a Hungarian community. They are more likely to be members of online American-Hungarian panels. The members of this group are the most likely to be proud of their Hungarian heritage and they consider it to be the biggest advantage as well.

Of course they speak English exceedingly well, and that is what is spoken in the household almost exclusively (8.0). Their children speak practically no Hungarian (1.2-1.5). Maybe unsurprisingly, they consider the U.S. their home country exclusively. The large majority considers themselves American of Hungarian origin. They consider Hungarian food, folk music and dance, as well as folk dress very important, but other aspects less so.

magyar-amerikai_büszke-uncles_nagyFor them, not surprisingly, since they never lived there, Hungary has not had a lot to offer to them. Despite this, when asked to characterize Hungary, they describe the country in superlatives. They are gushing about Hungary, without mentioning any negatives. It is important to note, that this is not put in contrast with the U.S. as they characterize the U.S. with mostly positive adjectives as well, but for some reason Hungary is in an even more positive light.

Major socio-demographic factors

Average age is 55 years, 60% female, high school diploma and a high rate of widowers. They tend to live in 4-bedroom (or sometimes larger) houses, a big portion of which are mortgaged. They primarily live in smaller cities or suburbs, with an average of 0.5M residents.

The Young Storks

The Young Storks tribe represents about 10% of American-Hungarians in the sample, of which the majority (82%) are immigrants, primarily (81%) coming from Hungary. Just like members of the Lonely Puli tribe, they immigrated about 15 years ago. In contrast with the Lonely Puli tribe, this tribe has much more deliberate resettlers. Many of them came to pursue a career, work opportunity, or to (continue to) study. Pursuing studies was the most likely. Almost half (already?) hold U.S. citizenship.


The tribe is fairly active in local Hungarian communities. Besides online panels, they often visit Hungarian cultural centers, Hungarian schools, scout organizations and Hungarian religious communities. They visit Hungary remarkably often. It is not uncommon for them to visit multiple times a year, though they also travel to other countries as well. They do not follow news much from either country, most likely due to time constraints or lack of interest. When immigrating they have been helped by other nationalities already living in the U.S. They prefer socializing with other Hungarians living in the U.S. and other immigrants as well as Americans.

They are fairly proud (7.0) of their Hungarian heritage, they consider it most normal (7.2), though they also consider it to be the biggest political challenge (compared to other groups). In general, they are satisfied with their lives, though one might conclude from the data that they have not yet achieved all that they set out to do. They do not complain about anything, but are not satisfied with everything either. Members of this tribe do not rule out a move back to Hungary but they are not necessarily planning it either. They tend to keep in touch weekly with those in Hungary. They consider aspects of Hungarian life important, and think especially highly of Hungarian poetry, literature and film.

Both Hungarian and English are spoken at home; their English knowledge is very good (8.0), as is their kids’ (7.9-8.4). Their youngest child’s Hungarian is intermediate compared to that of other groups (4.4-5.9). 72% consider themselves as Hungarian living in the U.S. As for their home country, they tend to be undecided, though leaning toward Hungary.

magyar-amerikai_fiatal-gólyák_nagyInterestingly, apart from work opportunities, they do not associate life in the U.S. with many positives. Hungary gave them neutral things or work opportunities. When describing the countries, it is a similar set up. The U.S. is mostly positive peppered with the occasional negative, while Hungary gets neutral descriptors.

Major socio-demographic factors

Their most important socio-economic factor is that this is the group with the youngest average age of 43 years, with a fairly high percentage of males. The relatively high percentage of members with high school diplomas and singles (31%) is probably due to their age and ongoing studies for a lot of them. Two-thirds rent an apartment with 1 or 2 bedrooms in mostly mid- to large cities, with an average of 1.2M residents.

All in all, the data lets us conclude that while this group has a fairly limited experience as immigrants, they are determined and though they haven’t quite found what they were looking for in the U.S., it is only a matter of time.

The Onlooking Dreamers

The Onlooking Dreamers only make up 5% of respondents, therefore making up the smallest group. Their members were predominantly born in the U.S. (89%). Those who were not born in the U.S. tended to arrive in 1966, making them the earliest arrivals to the U.S. The majority came right after the 1956 revolution, mostly through the help of the special Green Card program enacted by Congress. Their journey may have taken them multiple years and through multiple countries before arriving in the U.S.


A large majority (94%) are U.S. citizens. In this they resemble the Proud Uncles, but in a lot of other factors they do not. In fact, in a lot of ways they are the exact opposite. Compared to other clusters, they tend to be much more dissatisfied with a lot of aspects of their lives. Apart from a few members who get together in Hungarian retirement clubs, they tend to not participate in Hungarian communities. Possibly for political reasons, being of Hungarian heritage does not help their lives. They are not particularly proud of being Hungarian (5.3).

They do not travel abroad and the majority has not visited Hungary either in the past 5 years. Most likely they do not have relatives in Hungary (anymore?) and hence they do not have anyone to keep in touch with there. They do not plan on relocating to Hungary at all. They also do not care about Hungarian news. Like the Proud Uncles, they speak English exceedingly well, and it is almost exclusively the language spoken at home. Their children also do not speak Hungarian (1.2-1.7). Correspondingly, they call the U.S. their home country (7.6). A large majority (89%) defines themselves as American of Hungarian origin. They also consider Hungarian food, folk music and dance, folk dress as very important, other Hungarian aspects less so.


magyar-amerikai_szemlélo-dreamerek_nagyThey describe the U.S. with mostly neutral or ordinary positive adjectives, while almost raving about Hungary. This is the group that uses the most positive descriptors about Hungary. When reading their responses to the open ended question about what Hungary offered them, the large majority of the members of this group claimed to have never lived there. It seems members of this group are describing a dream world instead of Hungary.

Major socio-demographic factors

Their average age is 48 years, 66% are female, a quarter have learned a trade, and the share of widows and widowers, divorcees and singles is quite high. On average, they live in a 3-bedroom house or condo, and carry a mortgage. The majority live in small cities with 0.5M residents, or the suburbs.

(A Kukorica Jancsik) The Johnny Grain-o’-Corns

The tribe of Johnny Grain-o’-Corns (named for the hero of Sándor Petőfi’s great mock-folk epic poem, John the Valiant) represents 13% of American-Hungarian participants, and they almost all are immigrants (98%) and arrived from Hungary (86%). Of all tribes, they are the latest arrivals, having arrived to the U.S. “merely” 11 years ago on average. Their reasons for immigrating are very varied, but two factors dominate. They either came to the U.S. to further their careers or for some “other” reason, which – reading though the responses – actually means accompanying their Hungarian spouse to the U.S. Their immigration status is the most varied of all the groups; you are bound to find any legal designation. This is the group, however, that has the smallest share of U.S. citizens (38%), which might be explained by the relatively short time spent in the U.S.


This group has relatively close ties to Hungary and being Hungarian. They participate in virtually all kinds of American-Hungarian events. They are not overly active in them, but they participate in more kinds of communities than members of other groups. They visit Hungary quite frequently. In contrast with other groups, this group consumes Hungarian news daily, while not really interested in the U.S. news. They regularly stay in touch with Hungarians in Hungary. Many of them plan to move back to Hungary in a few years, many for retirement, but there are also some who want to move back home within a year.

Two thirds of this group have a Hungarian spouse. Maybe this, or the fact that they have spent a relatively short time in the U.S., is the reason why only Hungarian is spoken within the home. No wonder that their kids’ Hungarian knowledge by far outperforms within the whole sample (speaking 7.9, reading 5.8 and writing 5.5). Their own knowledge of English is good, but not among the best. They make American friends less frequently.

Though not as much as the Proud Uncles group, they are fairly satisfied with most aspects of their lives. Maybe their social lives, current work and education levels are areas that they are least satisfied with. Besides folk music, dress and dance, they consider everything that is Hungarian important.

When describing the countries, they tend to prefer the U.S. through more positive adjectives, while Hungary gets neutral or negative descriptors. The U.S. gave them a new language, new culture and security, but some attribute a lack of work options to the U.S. In terms of their Hungarian heritage, they show a very mixed and balanced picture.

Given the above findings it might not be surprising that this is the group that has the highest percentage of respondents who call themselves solely Hungarian (11%), and 81% say they are Hungarians living in the U.S. They are much more likely to call Hungary their home country (3.4).


Major socio-demographic factors

Average age is 46 years, almost half are male, every other member has learned a trade, every third member has only a high school diploma, and almost half have a college degree. They tend almost exclusively (86%) to be married or have a domestic partner. On average, they rent a 2-3-bedroom condo or own one while paying a mortgage. The majority live in mid- or large sized cities with 1.8M residents.

The Hungarians without Borders

Hungarians without Borders make up the largest tribe in the survey (25.5%). 90% of them are immigrants. Although there are more members who came from Hungary, this tribe has a bigger share than the others of those who came from ethnically Hungarian territories outside of Hungary. They arrived on average 20 years ago. Their reasons for coming are very mixed as well. There are two reasons that stand out: getting a post-graduate degree and building a career. 70% of them are U.S. citizens and 19% have a Green Card.


Hungarians without Borders participate most in the American-Hungarian communities and are potentially the most active as well. They not only favor virtual communities but they regularly join local communities too. This is the group that travels to Hungary most frequently. They (still?) follow Hungarian news, but they follow U.S. news with greater regularity. They keep in touch with Hungarians from back home daily and weekly. They may not be the group that wants to move back the soonest, but they show highest intent. Timing for the move varies: most of them are thinking retirement age.

Hungarians without Borders are most likely to make friends with other Hungarians living in the U.S. but their social lives are not limited to only include Hungarians. They are friendly with other nationalities and very frequently make friends with Americans. Their being Hungarian is a very normal thing, and among the immigrants they are most likely to consider it an advantage. They are also very proud of being Hungarian. Among American-Hungarians, they are the most satisfied group. They are even more satisfied than the Proud Uncles in all aspects, which is very uncommon.

They speak Hungarian at home relatively often (3.2). One of the possible reasons being that 45% are married to a Hungarian. Youngest kids of Hungarians without Borders also know Hungarian well (4.8-7.5). When it comes to knowledge of English, they are very different from Johnny Grain-o’-Corns, as they speak English at a very high level. They consider everything that is Hungarian important, without fail. They are also the group who most like Hungarian pop music.

They describe the U.S. in a very positive way. Hungary is associated with more neutral descriptors. They will not say anything bad about it, but also will not praise it. For what either country had to offer them, the responses are mixed. They have received both good and bad from both countries.

6% consider themselves Hungarian and only Hungarian. 71% say they are Hungarians living in the U.S. But when it comes to home country, they consider both counties equally as their home country (4.6).

magyar-amerikai_határtalan-magyarok_nagyMajor socio-demographic factors

Average age is 46 years old, 61% are female. One-third have a postgraduate degree, while half have a college degree. The majority (80%) are married. On average, they live in a 3-4-bedroom house that may be mortgaged. They live in places that have on average 1.5M residents.

(Hufnágel Pistikék) The Stevie Hufnagels

Before introducing this last group, it is important to note that during the clustering process we were able to identify the first six groups based on similar responses. However, among the remaining sample this homogeneity, i.e. the statistically validated similarity of responses did not necessarily hold true. We made the assumption that the methodology we used gathered all those respondents into this group, who did not belong to any of the aforementioned groups. Therefore, what they have in common is not fitting into any of the earlier clusters, while also not completely resembling each other. In light of this, this last group will be harder to characterize.



The tribe of Stevie Hufnagels (named for an unseen character in an ultra-popular Hungarian animated TV series, for whom the main female character pines until realizing that he’s a shiftless sort) comprises 23% of the total sample. 80% of them were not born in the United States, and three-quarters came directly from Hungary for various reasons. Some came to the U.S. for a postgraduate degree; some for marriage to an American citizen and others came for their careers, or simply curiosity. On average, they have lived in the U.S. for 25 years and 78% hold U.S. citizenship.

While not very often, they do still visit Hungary from time to time, though they tend to travel to other countries more frequently. They glance at Hungarian news weekly or monthly, but follow the U.S. news daily. They keep in touch with their Hungarian relatives on a monthly or quarterly basis and only a small portion plan to ever relocate to Hungary and even they are not sure when that would happen. A minority participates in Hungarian communities, but what is representative is that 48% do not belong to any kind of American-Hungarian communities at all.

Hungarian things do not seem important to them (anymore?), Hungarian pop music, folk dress and folk dance the least of all. This group has been helped the most by the Americans they met when resettling. Maybe because of this or because of the time that has passed, they tend to primarily socialize with Americans. They also make friends with other Hungarians, but not as often as the Hungarians without Borders. They are not necessarily apathetic toward their Hungarian heritage, but compared to all the other groups they are the most indifferent toward it. Their satisfaction with various aspects of life is high, but interestingly not as high as among Hungarians without Borders. They resemble the Proud Uncles more.

The Hungarian language ability of their youngest child is mediocre (4.3), but their writing (2.9) and reading (3.2) is lacking. They rate their own knowledge of both Hungarian and English equally high. At home, mostly English is spoken (7.0). In light of all this, it is not surprising that 58% consider themselves Americans with Hungarian heritage, though 40% say they are Hungarians living in the U.S. As their home country, they tended to choose the United States (6.5).

magyar-amerikai_hufnágel-pistikék_nagyMajor socio-demographic factors

Average age is 49 years old, 63% are female. They predominantly have a college or postgraduate degree. The majority (81%) are married. On average, they own a 4-bedroom house, of which a fair portion has already been paid off. They primarily live in suburbs or larger cities with residents of 1.3M.



haza-identitás_nagyAs a summary, we prepared the chart (above), in which we placed the 7 tribes, where the vertical axis signifies national self-identity, while the horizontal shows the self-identified home country . Based on the answers to the national identity and home country questions, this might be a better way to illustrate the differences among the clusters on these two dimensions.


Finally, we placed the tribes in another chart to demonstrate that there is a correlation between the year of arrival in the U.S. (or time spent) and the choice of home country, even if we know that two of the groups have a significant number of respondents who were born in the U.S. From the chart above a trend emerges, which shows that the number of years spent in the U.S. is in linear correlation with tribes and respondents choosing the U.S. as their home county.

Though this methodology was not able to identify everyone, and of course the analysis – though based on data – was supplemented by overreaching descriptors and conclusions, this cluster analysis shows a fairly true picture of the American-Hungarians. Reading through it, hopefully everyone will find themselves, his or her acquaintances and relatives.

We will continue with other analyses in the near future and 2016 as well. Until then, it will be worthwhile to follow the survey’s Facebook page by clicking 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
  • Viktória Johnson
  • Péter Czipott





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