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How German is America? Surprising Facts

German AmericanMore than 42.8 million Americans (15.2% of the total population) claim to have German ancestors. California and Texas have the highest numbers of populations of German origin. Even today German is the most spoken language in North and South Dakota. In Pennsylvania, a state with a large German heritage the German language was the instruction language at schools until 1950. Many German originated town names e.g. the “Over the Rhine” district in Cincinnati, “German Village” in Columbus, OH, or Fredericksburg, TX are evidence of the cultural and social influence. Countless German-Americans shaped American history. One of the most well-known men is Albert Einstein who immigrated to America in 1933. But also Albin Weisskopf, who later on changed his name into Gustave Whitehead became one of American aviation pioneers.

Two of the American presidents were of German descent: Dwight Eisenhower (original family name Eisenhauer and his maternal side was Swiss German) and and Herbert Hoover (original family name Huber).

  • Did you know that Germans brought the tradition of the Christmas tree to America?
  • Did you know that Cincinnati, OH has the largest annual Oktoberfest outside Germany?
  • Did you know that words like angst, kindergarten, zeitgeist und waldsterben are borrowed from the German language?
  • Did you know that more than 3,500 German companies have branches and offices in the US? Among them are leading names such as Siemens, VW, T-Mobile USA, BMW and Allianz North America.
  • Did you know that Americans couldn’t even measure their temperature in Fahrenheit if the German Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit hadn’t invented the alcohol thermometer in 1709?
  • Did you know that 1 in 10 books in the world is published in German today?
  • Did you know that with 8 million Internet domains, Germany’s top-level country domain .de is second only to the extension .com?

Today only 1.5 million Americans still speak German at home. Over the past 10 years the teaching of the German language at the elementary level decreased from 5% to 2% and at the secondary level from 24% to 14%. But right behind Spanish and French German is still the 3rd most popular language in the US being taught at colleges and universities.

US Counties with Most German Population

If you’d like to get more information about Germans in the US please check out the following links:

List of German Americans https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_German_Americans

The German American Heritage Center https://gahc.org/

How German is American? https://mki.wisc.edu/HGIA/Settling.htm

US Diplomatic Mission to Germany https://usa.usembassy.de/garelations.htm

Comments and additional information are very welcome.

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