Where America’s biggest ancestral group — Germans — live in the U.S.

Where America’s biggest ancestral group — Germans — live in the U.S.

Nathan Yau, a statistician who runs the blog Flowing Data, has made a series of gorgeous maps breaking down the population of America. The maps are part of his recent project to recreate the 1874 Statistical Atlas of the United States with the original design but 2013 data.

The map above shows where people in the U.S. report having German ancestry. Germans are the largest ancestral group in the U.S., with 15.3 percent of Americans reporting that they had German heritage in 2013 (the Census allows people to pick more than one group). Almost all of these people are concentrated in middle America. This is in part because Congress turned a huge part of the country over to the railroads in the mid- to late 19th Century. In order to raise money to build the railroads, the companies actively recruited people in Germany to immigrate to the U.S. and buy the land.

Click here to see 14 more maps of them that illustrate how the U.S. population got here.

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