Top 10 Most German U.S. States

Name the states with the highest percentage of people who report their ethnicity as German.
For the year 2021, according to the U.S. Census
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: September 19, 2022
First submittedSeptember 12, 2018
Times taken30,376
Average score80.0%
Rating4.42
1:30
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%
State
36.1
Wisconsin
35.6
North Dakota
34.1
South Dakota
31.7
Nebraska
31.3
Iowa
%
State
29.5
Minnesota
23.2
Montana
23.3
Kansas
22.5
Ohio
21.9
Missouri
+22
Level ∞
Sep 12, 2018
The lowest: Mississippi, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Alabama.
+42
Level 62
Oct 6, 2018
Wouldn't have expected Massachusetts. In fact, I think I guessed that.
+7
Level 74
Nov 15, 2018
Same here
+12
Level 84
Oct 22, 2020
I think Massachusetts is mostly Irish, English, and Italian. More Germans, Scandinavians and Poles in the mid-West and northern United States, as seen above.
+4
Level 66
Oct 22, 2020
Klabahamut is right, you have to do it by knowing what was settled when. German wave came in the mid-19th century, so before the major growth of urban areas that would attract later immigrants. So you know it'll be mostly the plains that have lots of Germans.
+2
Level 55
Feb 4, 2021
Why? It's literally New England.
+1
Level 87
Sep 18, 2022
Germana were among the earliest non-British, non-French immigrants to British colonies. Much of the coast of Maine has Anglicized German surnames.

I know that sounds contradictory because the Angles and the Anglisch language were actually German, but...

+2
Level 92
Sep 12, 2018
got all 10, but gives no points
+1
Level 69
Sep 12, 2018
Same, no points even though I got them all correct.
+2
Level 72
Sep 12, 2018
It doesn't register immediately after the quiz is made/updated/featured. Points are working now.
+4
Level 76
Sep 12, 2018
The image for this quiz makes me hungry.
+10
Level 62
Oct 6, 2018
I think it's an ugly pretzel.
+1
Level 67
Oct 22, 2020
I've definitely seen yummier ones!
+1
Level 43
Sep 17, 2022
A pretzel's a pretzel!
+1
Level 76
Sep 18, 2018
Long gone are the German days of glory in Texas...
+5
Level 71
Nov 15, 2018
nah, visit the hill country or Muenster in north Texas, were still here.
+1
Level 62
Oct 6, 2018
This is a total crapshoot.
+18
Level 73
Nov 15, 2018
Nope - if you have an idea about when Germans migrated, you can look for territories that were offering land at that time.
+3
Level 78
Nov 15, 2018
Agreed. I thought it was quite easy, a few guesses to get a couple but they were in close proximity to the ones I knew.
+1
Level 81
Mar 2, 2019
I have a friend from Kansas with German ancestry; I wouldn't even have tried Midwestern states otherwise.
+6
Level 61
Mar 1, 2021
Follow the beer, find the Germans.

Tried Wisconsin first lol

+1
Level 40
Nov 5, 2021
i also feel like its well known that the Midwest is very German, was surprised not to find Illinois, Indiana, or Michigan on the list
+1
Level 45
Nov 15, 2018
Got all of them except Pennsylvania.
+3
Level 67
Nov 15, 2018
That was the first one I got.
+1
Level 69
Nov 15, 2018
There is a large Amish population in Pennsylvania, which is what prompted me to guess it.
+5
Level 66
Apr 17, 2019
Pennsylvania Dutch are actually Pennsylvania Deutsch (or Deitsch, in their dialect).
+4
Level 76
Nov 15, 2018
The quizmaster normally gives credit to original quiz ideas. https://www.jetpunk.com/user-quizzes/106934/us-states-with-most-german-americans
+1
Level 45
Nov 16, 2018
got every one, except pennsylvania
+3
Level 92
Sep 19, 2020
The Pennsylvania "Dutch" aren't Dutch, they're German. Calling them Dutch comes from the Anglicization (or mishearing) of "Deutsch" which is the German word for the German Language.
+1
Level 53
Nov 16, 2018
For some reason I'm really good at these quizzes. Once I get one state I can usually get the rest through patterns.
+1
Level 38
Dec 21, 2018
oh yay i can comment now
+1
Level 37
Sep 22, 2019
Strangely, I would have guessed Minnesota to be predominantly Scandinavian (Swedish, Danish, Norwegian) not German.
+2
Level 92
Sep 19, 2020
The quiz isn't states where the majority of people are German, it is states where the most German immigrants moved to. Minnesota shows 30.6% German, so there's plenty of room for Scandinavian to be the majority there.
+1
Level 55
Oct 22, 2020
No way. Minnesota has a large black, Asian and Hispanic population. And English/"American" ethnicity has to be a dominant presence in every state with white people, even if it isn't the biggest. If Scandinavian is 50%, that only leaves 14% for all those people. The reason the Scandinavian population of Minnesota seems large is because it is in comparison to other states, but it's still not anywhere near the majority.
+1
Level 80
Sep 19, 2022
The other groups are growing fairly recently: "In 2010, over 85.0% of Minnesota's residents were of European descent, with the largest reported ancestries being German (38.6%), Norwegian (17.0%), Irish (11.9%), Swedish (9.8%), and English (5.4)." --- 94.4% white in 1990, 77.5% in 2020.
+1
Level 51
Sep 18, 2020
Everybody shoud've guessed North Dakota.
+2
Level 38
Oct 22, 2020
Only if your American or German?
+4
Level 72
Sep 19, 2020
I guess Pennsylvania is now off the list. Notice that all these states are contiguous, except Ohio which is 160 miles from Wisconsin.
+1
Level 75
Oct 22, 2020
There are quite a few German-Americans in Indiana and Illinois but not enough to make the list. From Pennsylvania to Montana has a lot of Germans.
+3
Level 83
Sep 20, 2020
Anybody else get nein?
+2
Level 77
Sep 30, 2020
Nein!
+10
Level 66
Oct 22, 2020
I've always thought it pretty weird that some Americans consider themselves to be an "ethnicity" they have nothing in common with, except maybe a few ancestors hundreds of years ago. I mean, if you're born in the US, your parents are born in the US, your grandparents are born in the US, you don't speak German, you've never been to Germany, you have no idea about German history or culture, and the most "German" thing you do is having a fake Oktoberfest once a year - then in what way could you possibly be considered "German"? It's not a problem or anything - consider yourself whatever you want - but if I wanted to consider myself Italian, or Greek, or anything else, I'd at least make a small effort to learn the language, and one or two other things about the place.
+8
Level 67
Oct 22, 2020
It's because "American" is not an ethnicity, except for Native Americans, who constitute a small segment of Americans. When we say "I'm Irish," we're not saying that we are equivalent to the people living in Ireland. It's a shorthand for "I'm Irish-American." The "American" part is implied. We're all American, but there are differences among the subcultures. Christmases at German-American, Italian-American, and Irish-American households are different, because they still use traditions from the old country. On top of that, many of us are taught to appreciate our ethnic homeland, because our ancestors risked everything to come here, and they wanted their children to know where they came from. Then their children, out of respect for their parents, passed it down to the next generation, and so on. My grandpa left his home to give my father (and now me) a better life. But he missed Ireland. He talked about it all the time. So I want to keep his traditions alive. Slainte.
+1
Level 77
Oct 22, 2020
I think the comment was rather directed at those who have no connection to the place and base their German, Italian, Irish or whatever ethnicity purely on their "blood". And that is a tad ridiculous. Especially when they say "I'm 25% Irish" which reminds me of the Nuremberg laws.
+2
Level 74
Oct 22, 2020
Christmases in different households in Germany will also be different, because Germany is and always was ethnically diverse. The usage of heritage is so different pontside, it alone might be enough to be not seen as belonging to Germany.

The idea, that ethnicity is something fixed, something biological, is a bit insulting to the individual, who walks their own way and makes their own decisions. Of course, that doesn't mean, one cannot honour their foreparents and the way they walked.

+3
Level 84
Oct 22, 2020
American is an ethnicity as much as anything else. An ethnicity is just a label that people apply to themselves. It means that you identify with a group of people that you believe share a common cultural, historical, linguistic, genetic, religious, and/or geographic identity. It's entirely self-ascribed and socially constructed, though, so it can be literally anything. It's not the same as a race - which is a fallacious concept that objectively does not exist in homo sapiens. And it doesn't necessarily have to be about shared genetic heritage. But even so, after you have lived in the country for a few generations then your genetics are going to get mixed up with everyone else living here anyway, so... you will become American. Whether or not you identify as ethnically American is a different story. Some might think of themselves that way some might not. But those Americans who identify as German are obviously not asserting anything about nationality, it's just ancestry.
+2
Level 84
Oct 22, 2020
camus: and how is it ridiculous if it's true? It's bizarre the way that some Europeans see this. If you have one grandfather who was Irish, one grandfather who was Cherokee, and two German grandmothers.... you're 25% Irish. What's wrong with saying that?

Again, I've encountered this exact type of description of heritage all over the world. I remember the princess in Saudi Arabia who told me she was a quarter Kuwaiti and an eighth Turkish or something like that. And in the Philippines another girl there told me she was such-and-such a percent Hawaiian, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and indigenous Filipino. Why is this odd? Let alone ridiculous?

+1
Level 84
Oct 22, 2020
QRU: very few people have that idea in America. It's about self-identification more than anything else. A lot of Americans don't know or don't care where their ancestors came from and identify only as American and nothing else. And that's fine. Nobody is going to try telling them that they are something else. Nobody cares other than racists maybe. But these people (racists) are shunned by mainstream society and culture. Or they are made president. But hoping that is just a fluke.
+4
Level 67
Oct 22, 2020
I'll admit I've never really unpacked what exactly constitutes "ethnicity," but I have always thought of it in a very general and nebulous way. I have never taken ethnicity all that seriously, and I'm not advocating for its usefulness so much as I was just trying to answer a question I have heard posed many times by non-Americans. My only objection to the responses to my last comment is that, QRU, I can't see how the notion of ethnicity is somehow "insulting" to anyone. Plenty of people identify as an ethnicity and make their own decisions. Speaking only for myself, I have never once made a decision based on my heritage, except to learn more about it and respect my ancestry. I'm not sure where you're from, but I think you have a misperception of heritage and the role it plays for most Americans.
+1
Level 74
Oct 23, 2020
"Insulting" is certainly the wrong word for what I meant. Definetly made more sense in my head than when I wrote it.

Ethnicity is to identify with a group. A group which then can be attributed shared traits. That can be used to treat or approach a person in a way, that is harmful. It of course does not mean that the notion of Ethnicity itself is insulting.

+1
Level 77
Oct 23, 2020
If someone has never been to Ireland and doesn't know a lick about the country or its customs apart from Paddy's Day, but claims Irish ethnicity because of some great-grandparent who immigrated from there... then they should go ahead for all I care. But on what would that be based if not on the idea that ethnicity is somehow passed down genetically? And maybe I'm not sufficiently in touch with American culture but if someone calculates their ethnicity to a percentage, that seems to imply it has a scientific legitimacy. The fact that many Americans talk about this or that "blood" reinforces my assumption. Btw I think it is mostly neo-Nazis who would take the idea of calculating ethnicities seriously in my country.
+2
Level 67
Oct 23, 2020
Yes, camus, I think it is a difference between how countries view ethnicity. And I'll reiterate that this is only my experience in the US: "Oh, I'm 25% German" doesn't, in my experience, suggest I have some kind of major claim to German heritage. It's little more than personal trivia, and I think most people treat it as such. I do think the ethnicity that people claim as their "principal" ethnicity is often evident in some of their family customs, and some people make a bigger deal out of it than they should, but in my experience, these are the same people that claim superiority based on the city they grew up in or the sports team they support -- it's just another vessel by which they can claim superiority without having to actually *do* anything that would entitle them to superiority. But for most people, it's a pretty harmless element.
+1
Level 67
Oct 23, 2020
I should add that I grew up around New York City, where ethnicity probably means more, because the neighborhoods at the turn of the 20th century were so clearly divided along ethnic lines that everyone is always aware of what ethnicity they are, because it used to be a major sticking point. It isn't anymore, but I imagine we're still more conscious of it than places where ethnicities are more uniform, or that integrated more seamlessly than New York did. And in certain parts of the city, you can still feel it. The southwestern peninsula of Queens (the Rockaways, Breezy Point) is still overwhelmingly Irish, and Irish-Americans from adjacent counties go there for their summer fun. Bensonhurst, by contrast, is still overwhelmingly Italian. Staten Island too. And I suspect that being surrounded by so many different kinds of people has led these communities to really champion their heritage. Sometimes it borders on parody, but it's mostly harmless.
+1
Level 84
Oct 24, 2020
To quote myself above: "An ethnicity is just a label that people apply to themselves. It means that you identify with a group of people that you believe share a common cultural, historical, linguistic, genetic, religious, and/or geographic identity. It's entirely self-ascribed and socially constructed"

note the "and/or"... that's important.

+2
Level 84
Oct 22, 2020
How is that even weird at all? Americans come from all over. But most of them are aware of their ancestry to some extent. German-Americans have ancestors who were German, they might have family in Germany, they probably have a German last name, and their great grandmother might have passed down her home-made strudel recipe. I don't think it's really any different anywhere else in the world, either. I've known Saudi citizens who were very aware of their Sudanese or Georgian or Somali ancestry. I've known Australians who were proud of their Greek heritage, South Africans who were overtly Dutch, and Thai people who identified as Thai-Chinese. America obviously has more immigrants than any other country on Earth which gives it something of a novel character, but it's not like this is unheard of anywhere else.
+3
Level 84
Oct 22, 2020
I also knew many people in Saudi Arabia who, like gandalf said, were born in Saudi Arabia, whose parents were born in Saudi Arabia, who only spoke Arabic, and had never been to the country of their grandparent's birth, but they were not considered Saudi. Because Saudi Arabia is extremely stingy when it comes to giving out citizenship; unlike the United States. I knew a pair of Somali twins in this situation, and some Bengalis and Yemenis in similar ones. I thought this was strange, and told the Somali twins - you are not really Somali. You are thoroughly Saudi. But they were forced to think of themselves as Somali as they did not belong and were not accepted in Saudi society.

A couple years later they both managed to get to the United States on tourist visas. They immediately claimed asylum, it was granted, and within a few years they were American citizens.

+2
Level 55
Oct 24, 2020
That's interesting.
+1
Level 84
Oct 22, 2020
Another thing I've noticed: Europeans are very oddly committed to preserving all of their many languages. It's something important to them tied to their identity. This is a novel view in most of the rest of the world. I know that my great grandmother was Cherokee, and I still think of myself as part Cherokee, but that doesn't mean I'm going to learn to speak Cherokee. What on Earth for? It would be even more useless than learning to speak Gaelic.
+1
Level 74
Oct 22, 2020
I know this is your way of showing the somewhat arbitrary factors "ethnicity" is defined with around the world. I think, we could summarize the differences broadly in defining ethnicity as a) heritage or as b) culture.

Heritage in that your identy is based on where your current way of life comes from.

Culture in that your identity is based on how your engage with your environment in the moment.

So a) is you saying that you, to an extend, identify yourself with your cherokee heritage, even though you do not actively engage with it. B) is DG wondering, why someone would call themself German, when they do not learn German or come to Germany.

+1
Level 74
Oct 22, 2020
Of course, both sides are part of being a social animal, I would still hold that putting more emphasis on b) instead a) is more sensible. Focusing on ones current actions is more indicative of the individual circumstances a person lives in, that a lineage simply cannot reflect.

If I might offer myself up for contrast: You said you are 25% Cherokee, which does not play a major role in your life. In my case, I only have this 25%, as only one of four grandparents was ever known to me or my parents. It is not sensible to me to talk about my heritage, when I know that this heritage is not based on ancestry but on my own choice. And in that case, what meaning has that 25% ancestry anyway?

Also, of course it has to be said, we are talking about Germany. I know the exact people in my lineage that fought for a government that literally murdered people like me. I do not wish these people to be part of my identy whatsoever.

+1
Level 79
Sep 19, 2022
Not "hundreds" of years ago. Maybe that's why.
+1
Level 34
Oct 22, 2020
I can go for some Schnitzel right now....:)
+1
Level 64
Oct 22, 2020
My German ancestors settled in New Jersey so I tried that and other NE states before going to the midwest. My Scandinavian ancestors lived in Minnesota.
+2
Level 82
Oct 22, 2020
Mostly makes sense. Was surprised that Pennsylvania had dropped right off the list, but not surprised about the states that are on it, although I did think Illinois might figure here. I'm assuming it, like Pennsylvania, fairly narrowly misses out?
+1
Level 77
Oct 26, 2020
I was surprised that North Carolina didn't make the list. A lot of Germans moved there from Pennsylvania in the 1700s - but maybe that didn't count since they didn't immigrate there originally. My grandfather was three-quarters German but his family had been here in the US since the 1700s, and the only nod to his ancestry that we saw was in the foods he ate. My grandmother was of Scots-Irish descent and she cooked the foods he liked but there was a definite difference in their food preferences. She also had little sayings that I have since learned were common to her Scots-Irish ancestry. Knowing their ancestry did not make me want to wear lederhosen or play a bagpipe, I just find it interesting that their traditions survived so many generations in America. My children have married into families of Scandinavian, Polish, Italian, Swiss, and Russian heritages. My grandchildren are true American mutts, but some of them still eat the Polish Christmas Eve meal while others eat lutefisk.
+1
Level 29
Dec 7, 2021
No wonder us Wisconsinites are so good at drinking
+1
Level 66
Sep 17, 2022
Had to think of the weird accent the people have in the series Fargo
+1
Level 67
Sep 19, 2022
That's more Norwegian.
+1
Level 87
Sep 17, 2022
I think I only have a small amount of German ancestry in my family. We're mostly from Ireland and Great Britain.
+1
Level 45
Sep 17, 2022
Seems like good ancestry. I don't associate many of these as high-crime states.
+4
Level 72
Sep 19, 2022
None of these states are really high-anything.
+1
Level 55
Sep 20, 2022
The only high anything about these states are the amount of corn and dairy they produce lol
+3
Level 72
Sep 19, 2022
I don't think ancestry correlates to crime like, at all.
+1
Level 76
Sep 19, 2022
TMQ, It does a little bit, though. You inherit so much down the line you don't even know it. Both genetics and environmental factors have been found to play a role in regards of crime. How large of a role? Well... The criminologists are on the case. The latest advances over the last few decades have been providing some pretty interesting results and there's more to come.
+1
Level 49
Sep 18, 2022
What about Wyoming is German?
+2
Level 79
Sep 19, 2022
The quiz isn't "name the top 10 states with German culture."
+1
Level 55
Sep 20, 2022
Let's play the name 10 Midwestern states game... GO
+1
Level 83
Sep 23, 2022
Missouri just made the list. There are a lot of towns in the eastern part of the state with very old French names. But they are crawling with German volk whose ancestors left Saxony due to religious persecution.