Pennsylvania Dutch Identity
due to loss of the Pennsylvania German language (among others)
in many communities, as well as to intermarriage and increased
mobility especially in the more secular communities,
Pennsylvania Dutch ethnic consciousness is often very low,
especially among younger Pennsylvania Dutch.
Many young Pennsylvania Dutch consider themselves only
descendants of Pennsylvania Dutch and it is not part of their
personal identity. However, many of those raised in the
immediate area, or those who have close ties there, still hold
those ties close even if their parents do not emphasize those
Many Pennsylvania Germans of the secular community
today are now trying to reclaim their Pennsylvania German roots
by holding classes for the Pennsylvania German language and
encouraging its learning in the younger generations; this is
especially true in Lancaster and Berks county in Pennsylvania,
where the Pennsylvania German population is the greatest.
In these areas the Pennsylvania German culture is actually a
big part of the social identity of the whole community.
The term "Pennsylvania German" is used primarily by scholars and
in situations where a politically correct term should be used,
such as classes on the language and the "Pennsylvania German
Festival" in Kutztown, PA.
Within the Pennsylvania German community, however, they
almost always refer to themselves as the "Pennsylvania Dutch".
In some communities the Pennsylvania Dutch name is reserved only
for members of the Amish and traditional Mennonite communities.