An Italian American is an American of Italian descent. It may mean someone born in the United States with Italian parents or grandparents or someone born in Italy who moved to the United States. The largest group of Italians moved to the United States in the early 1900s; two million moved between 1900 to 1914. Only Irish and Germans moved to the United States in bigger numbers. In 2000 the government counted 15.6 million Italian Americans in the United States. This means that in the year 2000, for every 1000 Americans, 56 of them were Italian Americans.
Italian Americans have been an important part in building the United States. Many great politicians, inventors, scientists, soldiers, musicians and film makers (actors and directors) have been Italian Americans. The Mafia in the United States was made by some Italian Americans but nearly all Italian Americans have nothing to do with it.
New York City has more Italian Americans than any other city in the United States. More than 3 million Italians live in or near New York. The states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Florida and Massachusetts also have large Italian American populations. There are large Italian-American populations in the cities of Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, which each have over a half million Italians.