Census shows fewer in Twin Cities identify with Nordic roots

Published 1:28 pm Saturday, September 21, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS — The Nordic flavor that has profoundly marked Minnesota’s culture for more than a century is gradually fading as fewer identify themselves as German-, Norwegian or Swedish-American, according to new U.S. Census data.

A census survey released Thursday shows the number of Twin Cities-area residents identifying with their ancestral homeland has dropped by nearly 100,000 in five years. Increasingly, younger people are just saying “American” as generations of intermarriage dilute ethnic identity.

Minnesota’s population sprouted from a wave of Nordic immigration that came in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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Demographic experts say none of the ancestries is truly going anywhere. They note that descendants keep multiplying. But as families become intermingled with multiple ethnicities after generations of marriage, their cultural identity becomes vague.