Germans make up the United States’ biggest ethnic group: around 50 million people stated to have German ancestry in the country’s last census – 6 million more than in the last study. The increase has not resulted, however, from increased immigration. Long-established German-Americans have simply made themselves more aware of their family history. A ranking of ethnic groups in America shows the importance of Germans in the population’s ethnic structure:
1. U.S. citizens of German origin = ca. 50 million people
2. U.S. citizens of Irish origin = ca. 35 million people
3. U.S. citizens of Mexican origin = ca. 31 million people
4. U.S. citizens of British origin = ca. 27 million people
Approximately 10 per cent of those with German origin still speak or understand German – including celebrities like Sandra Bullock, Henry Kissinger and Leonardo DiCaprio. In the U.S., these roughly five million people are the target audience of a strong German-language media presence composed of more than 100 newspapers, magazines, community newsletters and bulletins, as well as around 100 local radio programs and roughly 20 local television broadcasts.
It’s worth noting that the oldest German-language weekly newspapers worldwide are published in the United States. The “New Yorker Staats-Zeitung”, which was founded in 1834, is the oldest of them all. At first, this journal was one of the biggest in the USA. Almost as old as the New York paper is Michigan’s 1854-founded “Nordamerikanische Wochenpost”. “The Saxon News – Volksblatt”, published by Cleveland’s Alliance of Transylvanian Saxons, and “Eintracht”, the weekly paper out of greater Chicago, were founded not that long ago: they were launched in 1902 and 1922 respectively. Due to its importance and long tradition, “Eintracht” was able to conduct numerous interviews with outstanding personalities such as Konrad Adenauer, rocket pioneer Wernher von Braun, national soccer coach Sepp Herberger and four U.S. presidents. In 2018, it merged with the “New Yorker Staats-Zeitung”. In comparison, the “Amerika-Woche” from the East Coast and California’s “Neue Presse” are fairly new. Both were founded in the second half of the 20th century. “Amerika-Woche” is one of the biggest publications – especially since its merger with the “Freie Zeitung” (founded in 1858) and the “Washington Journal” (1859) in the late 1990s. Among the various magazines, “Heimat abroad” for expats and young German immigrants (founded in 2019), the colorful women’s magazine “Das Fenster” from Georgia (1904) and the worldwide distributed tourism magazine “Florida Sun” (1999) are very worth mentioning. These contemporary designed publications highlight how lively and promising the American German-language media market can be.
Source: IMH-Nachrichtenagentur, Björn Akstinat, 2015
One of the many institutions that reported on our study about Germans and German-language media in the USA was the World Association of Newspapers: