Top 15 Cities in the U.S. Melting Pot

10 min read

Thanksgiving is the time for gathering friends and family, blending cultures, giving thanks, and feasting on a spread that would satisfy the most regal of kings and queens.
While you’re gathered around the dinner table reflecting on your life and listing the things you’re thankful for, consider tacking on home insurance. Think about it; your home insurance is a small fee to keep your home, your family, and your guests safe in the event of a disaster.

For example, did you know that there are more residential fires reported on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year? It’s true, and the National Fire Protection Association reported that cooking fires on the holiday account for nearly three times as many residential fires than any other day of the year. And the U.S. Fire Administration says each Thanksgiving during the three-year span starting in 2011 resulted in 2,100 residential building fires, $28 million in property damage, 10 deaths, and 50 injuries.

The good news? Fires are typically covered by home insurance policies.

But enough of the grim parts of Thanksgiving. With the holiday just around the corner, we at decided to find out which cities across the country have multiple ancestral ties. Here are our findings:

1. Duluth, MN

Duluth was incorporated in 1857 along the shores of Lake Superior and has a population of more than 86,200. The city tops our list for reporting the highest concentration of multiple ancestries, with the most popular being German, Norwegian, and Swedish.

Because of Duluth’s strong roots, unique Thanksgiving dinner items may include a Swedish dish called Gravlax – salmon fillet with a mustard-dill sauce – as opposed to turkey and gravy; Jansson’s Temptation in place of twice baked potatoes; or Norwegian rhubarb pudding instead of pumpkin pie.

But if you serve up pie à la mode for Thanksgiving dessert, know that you have John Gieriet, a Duluth resident, to thank for inventing the delectable treat back in 1885. And when you jet off to the mall to get the best Black Friday deals, be thankful for Duluth then, too, because the nation’s first mall was constructed there in 1915.

2. (tie) Fargo, ND

Fargo, known as the ‘Gateway to the West,’ is home to 115,863 North Dakotans and is the largest city in the state. The city was founded in 1871 and inspired the 1996 Academy Award-winning film, Fargo, though none of the scenes in the movie were shot in or near the city. A TV series of the same name was adapted from the movie in 2014, and to date, just one episode features the city of Fargo.

Residents reported high numbers of German, Norwegian, and Irish ancestry. An alternative Thanksgiving spread might be goose or duck in lieu of turkey for those of German descent; Colcannon, an Irish dish combining mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale; or a Black Forest Tart.

Kingston, NY

Kingston photoe
Photo credit: Kingston, NY

Kingston has a population of more than 23,800 and occupies 8.6 square miles of the southeastern portion of the state. The city was named the first capital of New York in 1777 and was burned to the ground by the British later that same year after the conclusion of the Battles of Saratoga.

Kingston’s most popular ancestries are Irish, German, and Italian. On these Thanksgiving tables, one might see lasagna, especially since it’s quick and easy to prepare, which is ideal for large families; mashed potatoes; or Prinzregententorte, a seven-layer chocolate buttercream cake.

Scranton, PA

Scranton is home to more than 76,000 Pennsylvanians. The city is located in the northeastern part of the state and was the setting of popular television sitcom, The Office, which focused on the employees of a paper distribution company called Dunder Mifflin.

Most residents of Scranton reported being of Irish, German, and/or Polish descent. An alternative Thanksgiving menu could include Kielbasa, which is Polish sausage; Kartoffelsalat, a German take on potato salad; and soda bread to tie in the three most popular cultures.

5. (tie) Madison, WI

A photo of Madison, WI
Photo credit: City of Madison

Madison is the capital of the state and its more than 94 square miles provide homes to more than 243,300 Wisconsinites. The city was incorporated in 1848 and named for former president, James Madison.

Madison’s residents revealed that the most common ancestries among the city are German, Irish, and Norwegian. To accommodate these cultures, Thanksgiving dishes could include Fårikål, a mutton stew that’s the national dish of Norway; Irish potato and leek soup; or Topfenstrudel, a strudel filled with topfen, which is a type of dairy product.

Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh, also known as the ‘Steel City’ or the ‘City of Bridges,’ was founded in 1758 and has a population of more than 305,800. Pittsburgh is a city full of innovation and is the location where Jonas Salk created the polio vaccine and Paul Lauterbur invented the MRI, among many other healthcare discoveries and developments.

Pittsburgh’s top three ancestries are German, Irish, and Italian. Families attempting to incorporate the city’s roots into Thanksgiving dinner might serve cacciatore; spargel, an asparagus dish commonly combined with potatoes and hollandaise sauce; and Irish Cream Bundt Cake.

7. (tie) Torrington, CT

Torrington was incorporated as a town in 1740 and as a city in 1923. The city has a population of more than 35,900 and occupies 40.4 square miles of northwestern Connecticut. The city is the home of the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, which hones the skills of ballet dancers. Those dancers perform recitals at the Warner Theatre, which was built in Torrington by Warner Brothers Studios as a movie theater.

Torrington’s roots are deepest with the Irish, Italian, and German ancestries. Alternative Thanksgiving dishes that could be served are Shepherd’s pie; caprese or bruschetta; or Butterkuchen, a sheet cake made from yeast dough topped with butter and sugar.

Minneapolis, MN

This is Minneapolis
Photo credit: City of Minneapolis

Minneapolis has more than 407,200 residents and was incorporated in 1867. Minneapolis was named by its first schoolteacher who combined ‘mni,’ which means water, with the Greek word for city, ‘polis.’ Minneapolis is situated along both banks of the Mississippi River, has 20 lakes and wetlands, and numerous creeks and waterfalls, making the city especially scenic.

Most Minneapolitans reported being of German, Irish, or Norwegian descent.  Combining these ancestries could be done by featuring bangers and mash; Gedadschde, pan-fried dumplings made of mashed potatoes; or Krumkake, a thinly rolled cake filled with whipped cream, at the dinner table.

Eau Claire, WI

This is Eau Claire, WI
Photo credit: City of Eau Claire

Eau Claire was named after the Eau Claire River. When French explorers were traveling through the area, they became excited to see the translucent river after countless encounters with muddied water along their route. ‘Eau Claire’ translates to ‘clear water’ in French. The city is now home to more than 65,800 residents and occupies 34.14 square miles of west-central Wisconsin.

With reports that the most popular heritages in Eau Claire are German, Norwegian, and Irish, you could spice up Thanksgiving dinner and include traditional dishes such as Lutefisk; boxty, potato cakes using mashed and grated potatoes; and Franzbrötchen, a pastry made of Phyllo dough and topped with cinnamon and sugar.

Fort Collins, CO

Fort Collins has a population of more than 156,400 and is located in the north-central portion of Colorado. Fort Collins is known for its craft breweries, such as New Belgium and Odell brewing companies, among many others. The city is home to the Colorado Brewer’s Festival and the Tour de Fat, which average more than 30,000 and 20,000 people in attendance, respectively.

The most-reported heritages in Fort Collins are German, Irish, and English. To incorporate these ancestries into the holiday meal, one could prepare Beef Wellington; corned beef and cabbage casserole; and Schwedeneisbecher, which is vanilla ice cream served with applesauce, whipped cream, and a waffle.

Bremerton, WA

Bremerton has a population of more than 39,000 and is located on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington, occupying 32.29 square miles. The city is home to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Naval Base Kitsap.

Bremerton reported having primarily German, Irish, and English roots. To celebrate these cultures this Thanksgiving, consider adding Turducken, or Gooducken for a more traditional English spin; Dublin Coddle, a dish that combines sausage, bacon, onions, and potatoes; and Kerscheblotzer, a German dessert consisting of bread pudding and cherries, topped with a vanilla sauce to the menu.

12. (tie) Norwich, CT

Norwich, known as the “Rose of New England,” was founded in 1659 and provides a home for more than 40,400 individuals. Norwich is rather scenic as three rivers – the Shetucket, the Quinebaug, and the Yantic – flow into the city and form a harbor, which connects with the Thames River.

With Norwich’s roots being deeply placed in Irish, Italian, and English heritages, an alternative Thanksgiving feast could include purple cabbage and pecan salad as an appetizer; gnocchi, spaghetti, or baked ziti as the main course; and a trifle for dessert.

Kahului, HI

Kahului is located among 16.3 square miles on the island of Maui and has a population of more than 26,300. The city is a census-designated place and serves as a hub for retail for Maui, offering multiple malls and recognizable stores.

The most popular heritages identified from those who are of multiple ancestries in Kahului are German, Irish, and Portuguese. This menu could feature a salted cod dish called bacalhau or carne de porco à Alentajana, which is pork marinated in wine and garnished with clams; twice baked potato casserole and beer bread; and/or arroz doce, a rice pudding flavored with lemon and cinnamon or Pfefferkuchen, which is a kind of German gingerbread, to channel each culture.

Albany, NY

More than 97,800 people reside in Albany, which was settled in 1614 by Dutch colonists – making it the first European settlement in the state – and was named the capital city of New York in 1797. The city thrived due to innovation and was one of the earliest in the world to have a working railroad system, along with public water mains, natural gas lines, sewer lines, and electricity, and, years later, a commercial airport.

Albany reported that most of its residents are of Irish, German, and Italian ancestry. To incorporate these cultures, consider serving stuffed cabbage rolls to start; wiener schnitzel, German rouladen, or jagerschnitzel as the main course; and cannolis or gelato for dessert.

Janesville, WI

This is Janesville, WI
Photo credit: Janesville

Janesville is located in south-central Wisconsin and has more than 63,500 residents. Founded in 1835 by Henry Janes – and named after him – Janesville’s population grew thanks to new industrial developments such as flour and lumber mills springing up along the Rock River. Now, Janesville is home to 20% of the Wisconsin buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Janesville’s most popular ancestries are German, Irish and Norwegian. That could mean pretzels and beer cheese; Kjøttboller, which is meatballs served with mashed potatoes and a cream sauce, or Pinnekjøtt, a dish comprised of lamb or mutton ribs; or Guinness cake, whiskey cake, or Irish cream brownies make appearances on the dinner table.

No matter what your holiday traditions are, it’s important to protect them and your family this Thanksgiving with a home insurance policy. If you’re lacking quality coverage, call our licensed insurance professionals today.
Chart - bigger size


The data was taken from the United States Census Bureau at The tables used were B04005, People Reporting Multiple Ancestry, from the 2013 ACS 5-year estimates and B01003, Total Population, also from the 2013 ACS 5-year estimates.

Top cities were determined by taking the total number of people reporting multiple ancestry in that city and dividing by the total population of that city to get a percentage. Cities were then sorted to rank the top 15 cities in terms of percentage of the population reporting multiple ancestry.

Once the top 15 cities were determined, we then looked at the ancestry distributions of people reporting multiple ancestry in that city (for example, the number of people who reported having multiple ancestry and identified Irish as one of their multiple ancestries). From this, we reported the top three ancestries (of people who reported having multiple ancestry in that city).


Read Previous The 25 Most… Read Next Home Inventory