|25,848 (Eritrea-born, 2007-2011)
18,917 (Eritrean ancestry)
|Regions with significant populations|
Prior to 1991, when Eritrea obtained its independence, it was a part of Ethiopia. Overall, approximately 20,000 people from Ethiopia moved to the West to achieve higher education and conduct diplomatic missions from 1941 to 1974 under the Emperor Haile Selassie I's rule. However, the net movement of permanent immigrants remained low during this period as most temporary immigrants ultimately returned to Ethiopia.
The passing of the 1965 Immigration Act, the Refugee Act of 1980, as well as the Diversity Visa Program of the Immigration Act of 1990, contributed to an increased emigration from Ethiopia to the United States, prompted by a desire to pursue studies abroad and political unrest during the Ethiopian Civil War and Eritrean War of Independence. The majority of Eritrean immigrants arrived later in the 1990s, following the Eritrean–Ethiopian War. By 2000, the Eritrean community in the U.S. had grown to around 30,000 members.
Eritrean Americans have since established ethnic enclaves in various places around the country, particularly in the Washington D.C. area. Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, California has come to be known as Little Ethiopia, owing to its many Ethiopian and Eritrean businesses and restaurants. Additionally, Eritreans have opened a number of garages and auto repair shops. They also run several taxi establishments, including the Eritrean Cab company based in San Diego.
The exact number of Eritrean residents in the United States is unknown due to the fact that Eritreans were Ethiopian nationals prior to Eritrea's independence in the early 1990s. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 18,917 people reported Eritrean ancestry in 2000. Between 2007 and 2011, there were approximately 25,848 Eritrea-born residents in the country.
Most Eritrean immigrants are concentrated in Washington D.C. and California, especially the San Francisco Bay Area. The community also has a notable presence in the Seattle, Columbus, Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Houston and Dallas metropolitan areas.
The Eritrean community in the United States is represented by various Eritrean-run organizations. Among these are the Eritrean American Community in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, Eritrean Community Center of Greater New York, Eritrean American Community in Dallas, Eritrean Community Association in Chicago, Eritrean Association in Greater Seattle, and Eritrean American Community in Sacramento.
In 2001, a chapter of the Eritrean Liberation Front–Revolutionary Council was also established in Chicago. The National Union of Eritrean Women likewise routinely holds meetings and activities in the city.
Additionally, the Virginia-based Eritrean Sports Federation in North America (ERSFNA) annually hosts a soccer tournament for Eritrean residents. It also organizes adult and youth sports community programs in various U.S. cities.
The Eritrean Muslims Association in North America (EMANA) and Eritrean Muslims Council (EMC) serve the Eritrean community's Muslim adherents. Christians also gather in a number of Eritrean Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.
Notable Eritrean Americans
Notable U.S. residents of full or partial Eritrean descent include:
- Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi - Eritrean former Muslim activist known for founding the American Muslim Council.
- Semhar Araia - Eritrean social activist and international lawyer.
- Selamawi Asgedom - Eritrean-Ethiopian author and public speaker.
- Eriam Sisters - Eritrean musical group consisting of three sisters.
- Tiffany Haddish - partially Eritrean dancer, comedienne and actress.
- Nipsey Hussle - partially Eritrean rapper from Los Angeles, California.
- Meb Keflezighi - Eritrean athlete, specializing in long distance running.
- Thomas Kelati - American-born Polish professional basketball player of Eritrean heritage.
- Ghebre Selassie Mehreteab - Eritrean adviser to major foundations and financial institutions, working on housing and community revitalization issues.
- Qwanell Mosley - partially Eritrean singer best known for being a contestant and winner on the TV show Making the Band 4.
- Ella Thomas - Eritrean-born actress, model and producer.
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