Romanian Americans

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Romanian Americans
Români americani
Total population
518,653 (declared)[1]
1,100,000 (Romanian American census)[2] (2009)
Regions with significant populations
New York City Metropolitan Area,[3][4][5] Illinois, Southwest US, Ohio
English, Romanian
Predominantly Romanian Orthodoxy
Catholicism, Romanian Greek Catholicism, Judaism and smaller Protestantism
Related ethnic groups
Romanian Canadians, European Americans

Romanian Americans (Romanian: Români americani) are Americans who have Romanian ancestry. According to the 2000 US Census, 367,310 Americans indicated Romanian as their first ancestry,[6] while 518,653 persons declared to have Romanian ancestry.[1] Other sources provide higher estimates for the numbers of Romanian Americans in the contemporary US; for example, the Romanian-American Network Inc. supplies a rough estimate of 1.1 million who are fully or partially of Romanian ethnicity.[7] There is also a significant number of Romanian Jews, who are of mixed Ashkenazi and Romanian ancestry, estimated at about 225,000.[8]


The first Romanian known to have been to what is now the United States was Samuel Damian (also spelled Domien), a priest.[9] Samuel Damian's name appears as far back as 1748, when he placed an advertisement in the South Carolina Gazette announcing the electrical demonstrations he planned to give and inviting the public to attend. Letters written in 1753 and 1755 by Benjamin Franklin attest to the fact that the two had met and had carried on discussions concerning electricity.[9] Damian remained in the States some years living in South Carolina, then travelled on to Jamaica and disappeared from historical record.[10][11]

There were several Romanians who became officers in the Union Army during the American Civil War, like Brevet Brigadier General George Pomutz, commander of the 15th Iowa Infantry Regiment, and Captain Nicolae Dunca, who fought in the Battle of Cross Keys. Another Romanian soldier, Eugen Teodoresco, fought in the Spanish–American War in 1898.[10]

The first major wave of Romanian immigrants to the United States took place between 1895 and 1920, in which 145,000 Romanians entered the country. They came from various regions in Moldavia, Transylvania and neighboring countries such as Ukraine and Serbia with significant Romanian population.[12] The majority of these immigrants particularly those from Transylvania and Banat that were under Austro-Hungarian rule left their native regions because of economic depression and forced assimilation, a policy practiced by Hungarian rulers.[13]

They settled mostly in the industrial centers in Pennsylvania and Delaware as well as in areas around the Great Lakes such as Cleveland, Chicago, and Detroit. The migrants from the Romanian Old Kingdom were mostly Jews, most of whom settled in New York. One of their prominent organizations was the United Rumanian Jews of America. 75,000 Romanian Jews emigrated in the period 1881–1914, mostly to the United States.[14]

During the interwar period, the number of ethnic Romanians who migrated to the US decreased as a consequence of the economic development in Romania, but the number of Jews who migrated to the US increased, mostly after the rise of the fascist Iron Guard.

After the Second World War, the number of Romanians who migrated to the United States increased again. This time, they settled mostly in California, Florida and New York and they came from throughout Romania.

Over 53% of all foreign-born Romanian Americans came to the US after 1980. Some sources supply estimates of particular Romanian American community populations which are considerably higher than the most recently available U.S. census count. The estimated numbers depend on the reliability of the estimation method used and how membership of the Romanian American community is defined.

In the 2000 United States census, 340,000 Americans of age 5 years and older (or 0.11% of the total US population) were identified as speakers of Romanian, ranking it 21st among languages spoken in the US.


Romanian Americans are distributed throughout the U.S., with concentrations found in the Midwest, such as in the states of Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois, while in the Southeast, communities are found in Georgia (Metro Atlanta), Florida (South Florida) and Alabama (Montgomery). There are also significant communities of Romanian Americans in the far east and west of the United States, particularly in New York and California (Los Angeles and Sacramento).

The states with the largest estimated Romanian American populations are:[15]

  1. New York (161,900)
  2. California (128,133)
  3. Florida (121,015)
  4. Michigan (119,624)
  5. Pennsylvania (114,529)
  6. Illinois (106,017)
  7. Delaware (84,958)
  8. Ohio (83,228)
  9. Georgia (47,689)

Romanian-born population[edit]

Romanian-born population in the US since 2010:[16]

Year Number
2010 151,767
2011 Increase164,606
2012 Increase165,819
2013 Decrease157,302
2014 Increase157,315
2015 Increase159,546
2016 Increase161,629

Romanian American culture[edit]

Romanian culture has merged with American culture, characterized by Romanian-born Americans adopting American culture or American-born people having strong Romanian heritage.

The Romanian culture can be seen in many different kinds, like Romanian music, newspapers, churches, cultural organizations and groups, such as the Romanian-American Congress or the Round Table Society NFP. Religion, predominantly within the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Romanian Greek Catholic Church, is an important trace of the Romanian presence in the United States, with churches in almost all bigger cities throughout the country. One of the best known foods of Romanian origin is Pastrama.


Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 American Community Survey". Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  2. ^ "Romanian-American Community". Romanian-American Network Inc. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  3. ^ "Supplemental Table 2. Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Leading Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) of Residence and Region and Country of Birth: Fiscal Year 2014". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved October 15, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2013 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved October 15, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2012 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Archived from the original on December 22, 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2016. 
  6. ^ .2000 U.S. Census, ancestry responses
  7. ^ "Romanian-American Community". Romanian-American Network Inc. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  8. ^ Salute to the Romanian Jews in America and Canada, 1850-2010 By Vladimir F. Wertsman
  9. ^ a b Melvin H. Buxbaum (1988). Benjamin Franklin, 1907-1983: A Reference Guide. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co. pp. 446–715. 
  10. ^ a b Wertsman, Vladimir (1975). The Romanians in America, 1748-1974. New York: Oceana Publications
  11. ^ "Romanian Americans history". Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  12. ^ "target audience - Demographic Information". Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
  13. ^ Skutsch, Carl (2004). "Encyclopedia of the World's Minorities". London: Routledge. p. 576. 
  14. ^ Halevy, Mayer A. (1933), Contribuţiuni la istoria Evreilor in România, București.
  15. ^ "Romanian-American Community". Embassy of Romania in Washington DC. Retrieved 2012-10-25. 
  16. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • Wertsman, Vladimir (2002), Romanians in the United States and Canada, North Salt Lake, Utah, HeritageQuest, 2002
  • Sasu, Aurel (2003) Comunitățile românești din Statele Unite și Canada, Editura Limes, 2003

External links[edit]