Germans are defined as an ethnic group, in the sense of sharing a common German culture, citizenship, speaking the German language as a mother tongue and being born in Germany. Germans are also defined by their national citizenship, which had, in the course of German history, varying relations to the above (German culture), according to the influence of subcultures and society in general (also refer to Imperial Germans, Federal Germans etc. and Demographics of Germany). The countries with a significant ethnic German population are Germany, Austria and the German part of Switzerland.Out of approximately 100 million native speakers of German in the world, about 80 million consider themselves Germans. There are an additional 70 million people of German ancestry (mainly in the USA, Brazil, Argentina, Kazakhstan and Canada) who are not native speakers of German but who may still consider themselves ethnic Germans, so that the total number of Germans worldwide lies between 75 and 160 million, depending on the criteria applied (native speakers, single-ancestry ethnic Germans or partial German ancestry). In the USA, 15.2% of citizens identify as German American according to the United States Census of 2000. Although the percentage has declined, it is still more than any other group.
- composers: Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Carl Orff, Richard Wagner
- playwrights: Bertolt Brecht, Friedrich Hebbel, Heinrich von Kleist
- poets: Gottfried Benn, Gottfried August Bürger, Hans Carossa, Stefan George, Andreas Gryphius, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Hartmann von Aue, Agnes Miegel, Friedrich Schiller, Walter von der Vogelweide
- writers: Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Thomas Mann