Where do hamburgers come from?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
August 07, 2023, 10:32 AM GMT+0

Germans are more certain they are American than Americans are

The origin of hamburgers has been lost to the mists of time, but the two most popular claims are held by Germany and the USA.

The German case is based on the idea that hamburgers originated from the city of Hamburg, or with people connected to the city. Claims of an American origin are spread across the country, with a common them being that it was conceived by street vendors at major gatherings like amusement parks, fairs, conferences and festivals. In the American case, with a likely invention date between 1885 and 1904, the name may derive from the then-popular ‘Hamburg steak’ as the filling.

While we will probably never know the dish’s origins for sure, what do Americans and Germans themselves think?

Americans tend to believe hamburgers are a home-grown concoction, although not convincingly so, at 39%. Another 28% think they come from Germany, while 4% think they come from some other country. Three in ten (29%) are unsure.

Germans, by contrast, are happy to let America claim the dish: 55% think hamburgers come from the US. Only one in five Germans think hamburgers come from Germany (20%), while 7% think they come from another country.

Here in Britain, the public is divided: 37% think hamburgers hail from Germany, and 41% from the United States.

See the German results here

See the American results here

See the British results here

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