For Many, U.S. Is 'Wunderbar' Americans of German Descent Are Topping List of Ethnic Groups

By Bass, Frank | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), March 11, 2012 | Go to article overview

For Many, U.S. Is 'Wunderbar' Americans of German Descent Are Topping List of Ethnic Groups


Bass, Frank, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


NEW YORK -- The United States, first populated by Native Americans, rediscovered by Europeans, destination point for enslaved Africans and colonized under the flags of the Spanish, English and French, is now filled with Germans.

More than half of the nation's 3,143 counties contain a plurality of people who describe themselves as German-American, according to a Bloomberg compilation of data from the Census Bureau's 2010 American Community Survey. The number of German-Americans rose by 6 million during the last decade to 49.8 million, almost as much as the nation's 50.5 million Hispanics.

"A lot of people aren't aware that German is the largest ancestral group in the country," said Don Heinrich Tolzmann, the author of "The German-American Experience." "It's an eye-opener, and it's something that's commonly overlooked."

While Hispanics and Asians make up the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. population, the increase in those identifying themselves as German-American underscores the nation's European immigrant roots. It also reflects the use of new ancestry-tracking tools, a longing for identity and a surge in ethnic pride after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, more than four decades after Nazi Germany's defeat.

Many families in the Hill Country around Austin still speak a hybrid of English and German known as "Texas German," said Jean Warneke, executive director of the German-Texan Heritage Society. Though the dialect is more common among older Texans, Ms. Warneke said, classes offered by the society have become popular among teenagers as more Austin public schools have dropped German instruction.

"Our classes are always full," she said.

Germans have been immigrating in significant numbers to the U.S. since the 1680s, when they settled in New York and Pennsylvania. The bulk of German immigrants arrived in the mid-19th century; they've been the nation's predominant ethnic group since at least the 1980 census.

The increased identification with German culture contrasts with earlier eras in U.S. history, during both world wars, when many kept those ties quiet. The passage of time has replaced that impulse with a search for enduring traditions, said Gregory Redding, a professor of modern languages and literature at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind.

"The more homogenized our society becomes, the more we see some people seeking to differentiate themselves by forming distinct personal identities," Mr. Redding said.

The 49.8 million German-Americans are more than triple the 14.7 million Asians counted in the 2010 census. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

For Many, U.S. Is 'Wunderbar' Americans of German Descent Are Topping List of Ethnic Groups
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.