English Americans, also referred to as Anglo-Americans, are Americans whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England, a constituent country of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In the 2014 American Community Survey, English Americans are (7.6%) of the total population.
However, demographers regard this as a serious undercount, as the index of inconsistency is high, and many, if not most, people from English stock have a tendency (since the introduction of a new "American" category (See Old Stock Americans) in the 2000 census) to identify as simply Americans or if of mixed European ancestry, identify with a more recent and differentiated ethnic group. In the 1980 United States Census, over 49 million (49,598,035) Americans claimed English ancestry, at the time around 26.34% of the total population and largest reported group which, even today, would make them the largest ethnic group in the United States. Eight out of the ten most common surnames in the United States are of English origin or having possible mixed British Isles heritage, the other two being of Spanish origin. Scotch-Irish Americans are for the most part descendants of Lowland Scots and Northern English (specifically: County Durham, Cumberland, Northumberland and Westmorland) settlers who colonized Ireland during the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th century.
In 1982, an opinion poll showed respondents a card listing a number of ethnic groups and asked, "Thinking both of what they have contributed to this country and have gotten from this country, for each one tell me whether you think, on balance, they've been a good or a bad thing for this country." The English were the top ethnic group, with 66% saying they were a good thing for the United States, followed by the Irish at 62%.
The overwhelming majority of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America were of English extraction, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.
English immigrants in the 19th century, as with other groups, sought economic prosperity. They began migrating in large numbers without state support.
Americans of English heritage are often seen, and identify, as simply "American" due to the many historic cultural ties between England and the U.S. and their influence on the country's population. Relative to ethnic groups of other European origins, this may be due to the early establishment of English settlements; as well as to non-English groups having emigrated in order to establish significant communities.
In the succeeding years since the founding of the United States of America, English-Americans have been less likely to proclaim their heritage in the face of the upsurge of cultural and ethnic pride by African-Americans, Irish-Americans, Scottish-Americans, Italian-Americans or other ethnic groups. While there may be many reasons for this, after centuries of intermarriage and internal geographic mobility, many are unable to determine a specific English origin. For these reasons, no other part of the pluralist American society is so difficult to describe as a separate entity as the English. English immigrants were and are often seen as an invisible ethnic group, due to the length of time their ancestors may have been in the United States, as the majority of the founding colonists were English people.
Old Stock Americans (Also known as Old Pioneer Stock) are an ethnic group descended from the original settlers of the Thirteen Colonies who immigrated between the 17th and 18th centuries. Up until the late 20th century, Old Stock Americans dominated American culture and politics. Thousands of Germans and Irish immigrated to the United States during the 19th century and were met with strong opposition from the majority Protestant Old Stock, who were anti-immigration and anti-Catholic. The famous Know Nothing Party. was dominated by Old Stock Americans who believed Catholic immigrants were a threat to traditional American republican values and were loyal to the Papacy. Many Old Stock Americans supported Prohibition in the early 20th century.
Old Stock Americans were major proponents of Eugenics in the United States, believing they were apart of a genetically superior "Nordic race". Many Old Stock believed in racial suicide, as thousands of European immigrants were coming in droves to the United States and they feared they would be out-bred.