What do large lakes, farming and cold winters have in common? They are all found in Eastern Europe…and also the Midwestern United States.

So, when Eastern Europeans came to the US, where do you think they went? Well, lots of them went to Wisconsin and we have the DNA results to prove it: Wisconsin has the largest average amount of Eastern European ethnicity in the US. The average amount of Eastern European ethnicity among Wisconsonites is over 15%. States that are close behind include Illinois and Michigan.

Eastern European ethnicity in the United States Europe East

So, how does this work? AncestryDNA estimated the genetic ethnicities of over 250,000 U.S. customers* as percentages in 26 regions across the world. These percentages show where a person’s ancestors may have lived hundreds to thousands of years ago. People of the United States, a nation settled by immigrants, often have a surprising diversity of ethnic backgrounds and collectively have ancestors who lived nearly all over the globe.

We then explored the spatial distribution of customers’ ethnicities across the 50 states – using maps to visualize where in the U.S. we often find people of different ethnicities.

For every state, a map shows the average percentage of a particular ethnicity among all customers born there. If a state is dark green, it means that people there often have more of that ethnicity than in other states.