Famous Swedish Americans

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Famous Swedish Americans


The Swedish in America

Census 2000 Famous Swedish-
Internet Links of Interest


Census 2000

The 2000 United States Census lists 4,339,357 persons of Swedish ancestry, as well as 507,035 persons listed as Scandinavian. Two out of every five Swedish-Americans lived in the Midwest in the 1990 Census.

States with the largest Swedish-American populations include:

1. Minnesota- 486,507
2. California- 459,897
3. Illinois- 303,044
4. Washington- 213,013
5. Michigan- 161,301

Here is a complete breakdown of the Swedish-American population, by state:


Swedish-Americans Swedish-Americans  as a % of total
United States 3,998,310 1.4
Alabama 13,092 0.3
Alaska 16,685 2.7
Arizona 94,601 1.8
Arkansas 14,562 0.5
California 459,897 1.4
Colorado 118,846 2.8
Connecticut 65,003 1.9
DC 3,013 0.5
Delaware 6,635 0.8
Florida 155,010 1.0
Georgia 37,346 0.5
Hawaii 8,985 0.7
Idaho 45,704 3.5
Illinois 303,044 2.4
Indiana 58,175 1.0
Iowa 95,337 3.3
Kansas 64,308 2.4
Kentucky 13,801 0.3
Louisiana 11,476 0.3
Maine 21,342 1.7
Maryland 33,026 0.6
Massachusetts 119,267 1.9
Michigan 161,301 1.6
Minnesota 486,507 9.9
Mississippi 7,155 0.3
Missouri 55,774 1.0
Montana 30,721 3.4
Nebraska 84,294 4.9
Nevada 36,105 1.8
New Hampshire 24,911 2.0
New Jersey 58,564 0.7
New Mexico 16,809 0.9
New York 133,788 0.7
North Carolina 40,697 0.5
North Dakota 31,966 5.0
Ohio 72,369 0.6
Oklahoma 24,994 0.7
Oregon 107,065 3.1
Pennsylvania 105,525 0.9
Rhode Island 18,752 1.8
South Carolina 16,961 0.4
South Dakota 29,707 3.9
Tennessee 25,961 0.5
Texas 127,871 0.6
Utah 94,911 4.3
Vermont 10,065 1.7
Virginia 50,873 0.7
Washington 213,013 3.6
West Virginia 5,351 0.3
Wisconsin 149,977 2.8
Wyoming 17,168 3.5


Famous Swedish-Americans:

Some famous Americans of Swedish heritage include:

Edward Bergen
(born Edgar Bergren)- Comedian/Ventriloquist

Greta Garbo 
(born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson)- Actress


Internet Links of Interest:


bulletSwedish-American Chambers of Commerce, USA. Inc.



The American-Scandinavian Foundation- The American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF) promotes international understanding through educational and cultural exchange between the United States and Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.


American Swedish Historical Museum- Center in Philadelphia. 


American Swedish Institute- A historic museum in Minneapolis offering a variety of programs designed to celebrate Swedish culture.

bulletScandinavius- A directory to celebrate Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian & Swedish culture and connections in the San Francisco Bay Area.
bulletSwedish American Museum Center- Collection in Chicago relating to Swedish immigration to the United States.
bulletSwedish Council of America
bulletVasa Order of America- A Swedish American Fraternal Organization
bulletThe Wooden Spoon of Texas- Catalogue of Scandinavian items for purchase. Also offers classes in rosemaling, decorative painting, hardanger, Norwegian knitting, tatting, wood carving, how to make a folk costume, and the Scandinavian languages.
Swedish Products:
bulletHemsjold- Swedish gifts.
bulletSwedish Bakery- Bakery in Chicago. 
bulletWikstroms- Scandinavian gourmet foods. 

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Other prominent Swedish Americans:
First generation:

-  Johan "John" Ericsson invented the propeller, emigrated to the United States, and built successful warships that are said to have significantly contributed to the victory of the northern states against the southern states in the American civil  war.
- Johan Nordström emigrated to the United States, Americanized his name to "John Nordstrom", and founded the department store Nordstrom, Inc.
- Carl Wickman emigrated to the United States and started the Greyhound Lines bus company.
- Carl Strandlund emigrated to the United States, got more than 150 patents, and founded the Lustron Corporation and started to manufacture porcelain-enameled steel homes after WWII.
- Lillian Asplund from Sweden - later American - was the last surviving person from the Titanic catastrophy.
Second generation and beyond:
- John Morton of the former New Sweden colony, one of the founding fathers and signer of the United States Declaration of Independence.
- Carl Sandberg of Galesburg, changed his name to "Carl Sandburg", became a famous writer, won two Pulitzer Prizes.
- Charles Rudolph Walgreen of Galesburg, founded The Walgreen Company ("Walgreens").
- Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist of the United States Supreme Court.
- Charles Lindberg, the first aviator to cross the Atlantic in his "Spirit of Saint Louis".
- Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the second man on the moon.
Famous Swedes in America - many of them current - that may or may not be or have been (?) American citizens:  
- Ingrid Bergman (movie "Casablanca", etc.)
- Elin Nordegren, wife of golf pro Tiger Woods.
- Annika Sörenstam, golf pro.
- Some of the very best NHL hockey players, e.g. Peter Forsberg.
- Various actors, e.g. Dolph Lundgren, movie action hero, starred as a Russian boxer in one of the "Rocky" movies.
- The United States have only awarded six honorary citizenships. One of those was to Raul Wallenberg who saved 100,000 jews from nazi extermination by issuing some sort of protective Swedish passports.
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