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Only one county in the USA has more Polish-Americans than any other group!


Harry
29 Oct 2013  #1
Luzerne county, PA, stand up and take a bow: you are the only county of the 3,144 counties and county equivalents in the USA where Polish-Americans are the largest group!

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2408591/American-ethnicity-map-shows-melting-pot-ethnicities-make-USA-today.html
DominicB - | 2,650
29 Oct 2013  #2
Luzerne county, PA, stand up and take a bow: you are the only county of the 3,144 counties and county equivalents in the USA where Polish-Americans are the largest group!

I'm from there myself. However, you'd be hard pressed to find any Polish speakers there under 70 years old. The immigration to the region ended in around 1920. The immigrants (my grandparents generation) often did not learn any English at all, or very little, and operated almost entirely in Polish. The first generation born in the states (my parents generation) were completely bilingual, using (unschooled) Polish at home, and English outside the home. English was their primary language, and they had zero contact with Poland or Polish culture since 1920. When the immigrant generation died off, their children stopped using Polish altogether. My mother's Polish has grown very weak since my grandmother died 25 years ago. Very few members of this generation read in Polish, and the Polish they speak is corrupted and simplified, and now very rusty. The second generation born in the States (that's me) speak no Polish at all. Very few were taught it as children. I learned no more than a handful of words growing up in a home where Polish was spoken for twenty-two years of my life. So much for passive learning. I eventually learned it all on my own when I came to Poland.
delphiandomine 84 | 17,703
29 Oct 2013  #3
Luzerne county, PA, stand up and take a bow: you are the only county of the 3,144 counties and county equivalents in the USA where Polish-Americans are the largest group!

The picture there of "Polish" immigrants don't look very Polish at all, do they?
ZIMMY 6 | 1,601
29 Oct 2013  #4
The Metropolitan Chicago area (Chicago and burbs) has more than 9,950,000 people. Approxiamately 900,000-1,000,000 have Polish roots which makes this area about 10% Polish and/or Polish/American. The map in the link above seems to ignore this.
OP Harry
29 Oct 2013  #5
Approxiamately 900,000-1,000,000 have Polish roots which makes this area about 10% Polish and/or Polish/American.

According to data from the US Census Bureau, in those counties there are either more African Americans or more German-Americans than Polish-Americans.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
29 Oct 2013  #6
I learned no more than a handful of words growing up in a home where Polish was spoken for twenty-two years of my life. So much for passive learning.

Polish cannot be learned passively, hence why you have expats living in Poland for 10 years and can't speak a lick.
Cardno85 31 | 976
29 Oct 2013  #7
Polish cannot be learned passively

That's a fair point, I know a few people who have lived in Poland for years and don't speak any Polish. I think it does make it easier to learn Polish if you are in Poland because you will pick up bits and pieces, but you really need to put in a good amount of effort if you want to be coherent!
mochadot18 14 | 238
29 Oct 2013  #8
Other industrial cities, with major Polish communities, include: Buffalo, New York; Boston; Baltimore; New Britain, Connecticut; Portland, Oregon; Minneapolis; Philadelphia; Columbus, Ohio; Rochester, New York; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Pittsburgh; Western Massachusetts; and Duluth, Minnesota.

It is funny that they don't even mention Chicago, cause Chicago sure has more Polish people than places like Buffalo, Rochester, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

there are either more African Americans or more German-Americans than Polish-Americans.

But Chicago is known for having a big Polish community, no one would mention places like Buffalo and Pittsburgh as places with large Polish communities.
Meathead 5 | 470
30 Oct 2013  #9
According to data from the US Census Bureau, in those counties there are either more African Americans or more German-Americans than Polish-Americans.

Many Poles who immigrated had German citizenship due to the partition and therefore are counted as German.
4 eigner 2 | 831
30 Oct 2013  #10
This makes German the largest, and Irish the second-largest, self-reported ancestry groups in the U.S.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_ethnicity_in_the_United_States
TheOther 5 | 3,710
30 Oct 2013  #11
Many Poles who immigrated had German citizenship due to the partition and therefore are counted as German.

Correct. Looking at the article now, I believe that the folks at the Daily Mail mixed up ethnicity and citizenship somewhat. Their ancestry map is largely based on citizenship (except for Native and African Americans), which is most likely the reason why you don't see any Polish centers.
DominicB - | 2,650
30 Oct 2013  #12
Many Poles who immigrated had German citizenship due to the partition and therefore are counted as German.

Their ancestry map is largely based on citizenship (except for Native and African Americans), which is most likely the reason why you don't see any Polish centers.

No. The data are for unprompted self-reported ethnic identity from the US general census, not place of origin or citizenship of ancestors. If it were based on that, there would be practically zero "Poles" in Luzerne county, as there was no such thing as Polish citizenship when the ancestors of the Polish-Americans living there immigrated. The map doesn't show any "Polish centers" because it shows only the largest ethnic group per county. And yes, it is credible that only a single county has more Polish-Americans than respondents for any other single ethnic identity.

To find "Polish centers", you would have to count the number of living recent immigrants from Poland, whether currently US citizens or not.

Luzerne county would not be on that list, as the immigrants are no longer alive, and only the oldest generation still can speak broken Polish. Sure, you might hear a kolęda in church at Christmas time, find pierogi, gołąbki and placki offered at parish picnics, and find a butcher shop or two that makes kiełbasa, but those Polish-Americans have precious few ties to Poland and Polish culture beyond a sentimental, token variety. Out of the thousand-odd Polish-Americans from my generation from my town, none learned Polish at home. I think I am the only one who went on to learn Polish (on my own, in my forties, no thanks to my parents). I'm also probably the only one who can give intelligent answers on Polish history, culture and events.
delphiandomine 84 | 17,703
30 Oct 2013  #13
Polish cannot be learned passively, hence why you have expats living in Poland for 10 years and can't speak a lick.

Of course it can, it's absolutely no different to any other language in this respect.

Those expats that can't speak the language simply don't want to learn, that's all. It's the usual "I'm too good for this" attitude they have.
DominicB - | 2,650
30 Oct 2013  #14
Of course it can, it's absolutely no different to any other language in this respect.

No language can ever be learned passively, period. There is no such thing as passive learning in any field, language or otherwise. You might pick up a few words, at best, but you'll never develop any real knowledge or fluency. Even after living in a house where Polish was spoken every day for twenty-two years of my life, I learned only about a dozen words, because it was never spoken to me, personally. Actually, I learned a lot more words from the kolędy they taught us in school than at home, because, at least, I was actively involved in the process. If you are not personally involved, learning is impossible.
OP Harry
30 Oct 2013  #15
Meathead: Many Poles who immigrated had German citizenship due to the partition and therefore are counted as German.
Correct. Looking at the article now, I believe that the folks at the Daily Mail mixed up ethnicity and citizenship somewhat. Their ancestry map is largely based on citizenship

Entirely incorrect: the map is based on the answers Americans gave about their ancestry.

The data on ancestry were derived from answers to long-form questionnaire Item 10, which was asked of a sample of the population. The data represent self-classification by people according to the ancestry group or groups with which they most closely identify. Ancestry refers to a person's ethnic origin or descent, ''roots,'' heritage, or the place of birth of the person, the person's parents, or their ancestors before their arrival in the United States. Some ethnic identities, such as Egyptian or Polish, can be traced to geographic areas outside the United States, while other ethnicities, such as Pennsylvania German or Cajun, evolved in the United States.

census.gov/prod/cen2000/doc/sf3.pdf

What is this person's ancestry or ethnic origin?

(For example: Italian, Jamaican, African Am., Cambodian, Cape Verdean, Norwegian, Dominican, French Canadian, Haitian, Korean, Lebanese, Polish, Nigerian, Mexican, Taiwanese, Ukrainian, and so on.)

TheOther 5 | 3,710
30 Oct 2013  #16
Entirely incorrect: the map is based on the answers Americans gave about their ancestry.

Ancestry refers to a person's ethnic origin or descent, ''roots,'' heritage, or the place of birth of the person, the person's parents, or their ancestors before their arrival in the United States.

It's both: citizenship and ethnicity.
OP Harry
30 Oct 2013  #17
No it is not, as is reflected by the fact that the question makes no reference at all to citizenship.
Your claim that place of birth is in some way connected to citizenship is entirely incorrect: simply being born in Poland does not give a person Polish citizenship, neither does simply being born in Germany give a person German citizenship. In fact, until 1913 there was no such thing as German citizenship!

The simple fact is that there is only one county in the entire USA where more people answer the question 'What is your ancestry or ethnic origin?' with the word 'Polish'.
TheOther 5 | 3,710
30 Oct 2013  #18
Your claim that place of birth is in some way connected to citizenship is entirely incorrect

Really? Every child that is born on American soil is automatically an American citizen (14th amendment).
OP Harry
30 Oct 2013  #19
Harry: Your claim that place of birth is in some way connected to citizenship is entirely incorrect

Really? Every child that is born on American soil is automatically an American citizen (14th amendment).

Yes, I am well aware that the USA uses jus soli; however, much of Europe uses jus sanguinis. Your mistake is assuming that the rest of the world does the same as the USA: it does not.

The map shown by the Daily Mail is based on ethnicity of ancestors, not on citizenship of ancestors.
nunczka 8 | 458
30 Oct 2013  #20
DominicB, hit it right on the head..One still sees scores of Polish names in America. But just as Dominic said ,the Polish language has all but disappeared in the states. I for one can still speak it.. I am 88 yrs old and picked it up in a Polish speaking household. We used a lot of slang words that are unheard of in Poland. Unless a person from Poland speaks very slowly to me, I have problems understanding them..
TheOther 5 | 3,710
30 Oct 2013  #21
Your mistake is assuming that the rest of the world does the same as the USA: it does not.

People who were born in Prussia or the German Empire were almost always registered as Prussians or Germans when they immigrated through Ellis Island for example. Nobody cared whether they were of Polish or German ethnicity (in the cultural sense); their country of origin was important.

Most Americans I know define themselves by the country their ancestors emigrated from by the way. They never say "I'm an ethnic German, Irish or Brit", they say "My ancestors came from Germany, Ireland or Britain". Which is not the same.

The map shown by the Daily Mail is based on ethnicity of ancestors, not on citizenship of ancestors.

Again: the map is based on ANCESTRY, which - according to the census.gov web site you've quoted - is defined as either ethnic origin or place of birth. You are splitting hairs about the "citizenship" part here.

Anyway, let's leave it at that. Otherwise we'll end up in off topic.
OP Harry
30 Oct 2013  #22
You are splitting hairs about the "citizenship" part here.

No, I'm not: you are, you said "I believe that the folks at the Daily Mail mixed up ethnicity and citizenship somewhat. Their ancestry map is largely based on citizenship"
TheOther 5 | 3,710
30 Oct 2013  #24
what self-reported means

You know as well as I do that US census forms put the emphasis squarely on race. People see the question "What is Person 1's race?", notice "Japanese", "Korean" or something else underneath ( census.gov/dmd/www/pdf/d61a.pdf ), and answer "German" because they know that their ancestors came from Germany/Prussia. Of course ignoring the fact that there is no German race (or Polish for that matter). The whole map is nonsense if you talk about race or ethnicity in the cultural sense. All it shows is that the ancestors of most Americans came from a certain set of countries (except for the African and Native Americans, that is).
OP Harry
30 Oct 2013  #25
You know as well as I do that US census forms put the emphasis squarely on race. People see the question "What is Person 1's race?", notice "Japanese", "Korean" or something else underneath (census.gov/dmd/www/pdf/d61a.pdf),

The map is based on replies given in the long form questionnaire; you have linked to the short form questionnaire.
The map is based on the answers which people gave to the question:

What is this person's ancestry or ethnic origin?

(For example: Italian, Jamaican, African Am., Cambodian, Cape Verdean, Norwegian, Dominican, French Canadian, Haitian, Korean, Lebanese, Polish, Nigerian, Mexican, Taiwanese, Ukrainian, and so on.)

p3undone 8 | 1,135
30 Oct 2013  #26
There use to be quite a Polish population in Massachusetts.
TheOther 5 | 3,710
30 Oct 2013  #27
The map is based on replies given in the long form questionnaire

Nope. They changed the rules for the 2010 census and used only the short form questionnaire. Only approx. 2.5% of all households in the US received the long form that year - which is now called the "American Community Survey", as far as I know.
4 eigner 2 | 831
30 Oct 2013  #28
You know as well as I do that ....

When people arrived here, they were asked about their nationality and they freely (self-reported) said who they are. There was absolutely no reason for them to say they're Germans if they felt Polish and the other way around, especially knowing how they feel/felt about each other.
TheOther 5 | 3,710
30 Oct 2013  #29
4eigner, I assure you that most people gave their country of origin for the ship's manifest and when asked by the immigration officers at Ellis Island, not their ethnicity or cultural/political affiliation. Check the documents at the Ellis Island Foundation, if in doubt.

I hate this time limit to edit responses...

especially knowing how they feel/felt about each other

From interviews of eye-witnesses of the era (some of my great grandparents), there were hardly any tensions between the ethnic Poles and Germans before WW1. The Polish people had a problem with the German state and authorities, not with their neighbors.
OP Harry
30 Oct 2013  #30
Harry: The map is based on replies given in the long form questionnaire

Nope. They changed the rules for the 2010 census and used only the short form questionnaire.

The map is based on the answers given in the 2000 census, look "Largest Ancestry: 2000".

2000 census map


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