German heritage in the US, cont'd

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sat Jun 10 20:57:00 UTC 2006

When I saw the recent message from Bill Beeman, stating that "More than
60% of all Americans have some German ancestry"  I was dubious, because I
remembered a figure of about 24% from the 1990 census. So I did some
googling, and found this:


Who's Counting?
The l990 Census of German-Americans

The results of the 1990 U.S. Census indicate that the total U.S.
population is: 248,709,873. The five major groups and their percentages of
the total population are as follows:

 1. German 57,985,595  (23.3 %)
 2. Irish 38,739,548  (15.6 %)
 3. English 32,655,779  (13.1 %)
 4. Italian 14,714,939  (5.9 %)
 5. Polish  9,366,106  (3.8 %)

The "German" category does not include Germans from other German-speaking
states and regions of Europe and the Americas. Hence, to the "German"
statistic the following can be added:

 1. Austrian 870,531
 2. Swiss-German 700,000  (this is 70% of the total Swiss statistic)
 3. Pennsylvania German 305,841
 4. Luxemburger 49,061
 5. Alsatian 16,465
 6. German-Russian 10,153

These six additional Germanic ethnic groups total 1,952,051.
The total combination then of all seven German ethnic categories is:

 German 57,985,595  (23.3 %)
 Other categories 1,952,051  (4.8 %)
 Total 59,937,646  (24.09 %)

The results clearly confirm that German-Americans constitute nearly a full
one-fourth of the population. German-Americans take pride in the fact that
they are the major ethnic group in America, just as they can be proud of
their long history, dating back to the arrival of the first Germans in
America at Jamestown, Virginia in 1608.

The 1980 Census included a map of Where in the united states
German-Americans lived...[map not included here, hs]

updated July 26, 2004   Home to Tricentennial Foundation Web Page

[addendum (hs): Previously, "British" (or even English) heritage topped
the list, but in 1980 the US census stopped aggregating British heritage,
and divided it into English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh etc., at which point
German then topped the list.

Note, however, that a category "Hispanic" does not even figure in the top
5 in 1980; and unless immigration from all Spanish-speaking countries is
aggregated, it still may not...

If you go to an on-line US census page you get some statistics
on language use in the US, which of course is different from "heritage"
or "ancestry":  the largest percentage of a language other than English is
of course Spanish, with 28 million, followed by "other Indo-European
languages".  Chinese is spoken by 2 million...

Hal Schiffman]

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