The People

Milwaukee is an ethnic melting pot and it celebrates that heritage every summer in a series of lakefront festivals. More than 500,000 people attend these weekend events, which include German Fest, Polish Fest, Asian Moon Festival, Irish Fest, African World Festival, Indian Summer, Festa Italiana, Mexican Fiesta and Arab World Fest. 

Though most Milwaukeeans are American by birth, they are proud of the cultural heritage their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents brought with them when they came looking for jobs in the city’s rapidly expanding industrial economy. Thirty-eight percent of Milwaukee residents report having some German ancestry. Other ethnic groups include: African (15.7 percent), Polish (12.7 percent), Irish (10 percent), English (5.1 percent), French (3.9 percent), Italian (3.6 percent), Hispanic (3.6 percent), Asian and Pacific Islander (1.3 percent) and American Indian (0.6 percent). Racine has a rich ethnic heritage as well. In its early days, it was home to the largest Danish settlement in the world, outside of Denmark.

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