German-Americans So Well-Integrated They Make Other Americans Sick

I mean, like what’s the point of coming to this country if you don’t even try to bore everybody with stories about your ethnic roots all the time? That’s totally un-American misbehavior, if you ask me. But German-Americans are that way. They’re different. They’re kind of like German-Germans, if you know what I’m saying. They’re tricky.


German-Americans are America’s largest single ethnic group (if you divide Hispanics into Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, etc). In 2013, according to the Census bureau, 46m Americans claimed German ancestry: more than the number who traced their roots to Ireland (33m) or England (25m). In whole swathes of the northern United States, German-Americans outnumber any other group (see map). Some 41% of the people in Wisconsin are of Teutonic stock.

Yet despite their numbers, they are barely visible. Everyone knows that Michael Dukakis is Greek-American, the Kennedy clan hail from Ireland and Mario Cuomo was an Italian-American. Fewer notice that John Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Rand Paul, a senator from Kentucky with presidential ambitions, are of German origin.


3 responses

  1. Check out the ‘Wisconsin Food Pyramid”! All the big breweries began in Milwaukee, except for Adolph Coors, and Anheuser Busch… I’ve found the same thing when it comes to language here in Munich, Germans would rather speak English with people who speak German badly than German in Germany. They figure it’s easier that way!

  2. Turns out my ancestors were Germanic… sailing to Wales probably around the 13th century, give or take, then moving in to England for many generations. We might be related!!!!!

  3. Have they assimilated…or have they taken over the country and made everybody else assimilate?

    [my husband is German, now German-American; I live/grew up in one of those deep orange counties on that map, and the reason why my ethnic roots are never forgotten is because they always get brought up by my bratwurst, cheese, and beer loving compatriots…some of them I love dearly, but have noticed it makes them uncomfortable if I slip that shoe on their feet]
    For the record: my roots hail from the DNA of Italian, Irish, and real Injun, just call me triple I if you will (which makes the irony with the Germans all the more delicious, don’t you think?)….and yes, I was the darkest kid at my school and in my home town (in a surrounding 30 mile area in fact) and never got to live that down either thanks to the GAs.

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