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Bulgarian Americans

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Bulgarian Americans
Американски българи
Total population
(2019 Census)
+ 30,000 students
General assessments of Bulgarian diplomatic representations in the US (2010)[2]
Regions with significant populations
California, with smaller communities in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Michigan
Bulgarian, American English
Predominantly Eastern Orthodox Christianity
(Bulgarian Orthodox Church)
Minority Atheism, other Christian groups, Islam (mainly Pomaks), & Judaism
Related ethnic groups
Bulgarians, Bulgarian Canadians, Bulgarians in South America, Greek Americans, Macedonian Americans, Serbian Americans

Bulgarian Americans (Bulgarian: Американски българи, romanizedAmerikanski balgari) are Americans of Bulgarian descent.[3]

For the 2000 United States Census, 55,489 Americans indicated Bulgarian as their first ancestry,[4] while 92,841 persons declared to have Bulgarian ancestry.[5] Those can include Bulgarian Americans living in the United States for one or several generations, dual Bulgarian American citizens, or any other Bulgarian Americans who consider themselves to be affiliated to both cultures or countries.

Bulgarian Americans include persons born in Bulgaria, in the United States, and in other countries with ethnic Bulgarian population. Because some Bulgarians are not American citizens, others are dual citizens, and still others' ancestors moved to the U.S. several generations ago, some of these people consider themselves to be simply Americans, Bulgarians, Bulgarians living in the United States or American Bulgarians.

After the 2000 U.S. census, the population grew significantly — according to the general assessments of Bulgarian diplomatic representations in the US for 2010, there were 250,000 Bulgarians residing in the country, and more than 30,000 students.[2]


Bulgarian immigration to the United States began in the mid 19th century.[6] According to Mihaela Robila they tended to settle in Slavic enclaves in the Midwest or Northeast.[7] David Cassens has published a study of 'The Bulgarian Colony of Southwestern Illinois 1900-1920'.[8] To Chicago and Back, (Bulgarian:"До Чикаго и назад") by the eminent Bulgarian author Aleko Konstantinov; first published in 1894 mostly concerns attendance at a trade fair, not emigration per se.

The United States has one of the highest numbers of Bulgarians of any country in the world. As many as 250,0001 Bulgarians live in the country. From the Eastern European countries, Bulgaria has the second highest number of students who study in the United States, after Russia.[9]


The 2000 United States Census shows that there were 63,000 people of Bulgarian descent in the US. According to the same source, the state with the largest number of Bulgarians is California, followed by Illinois, New York, Florida, Ohio, and Indiana. Texas, more specifically Houston, also has a growing population. According to the 2000 US census the cities with the highest number of Bulgarian Americans are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami. Approximately 60% of Bulgarian Americans over the age of 25 hold a bachelor's degree or higher.[10] In 2015, out of 61,377 ethnic Bulgarians born outside the United States, 57,089 were born in Bulgaria, 37 in North Macedonia and 46 in Greece.[11]

Bulgarian Americans have an annual median household income of $76,862.[10] Following the 2000 US census when Bulgarians were 50-100,000, during the last 10 years their number has grown significantly to over 250,000.[2]

Bulgarian-born population[edit]

Bulgarian-born population in the US since 2010:[12]

Year Number
2010 62,684
2011 Increase65,202
2012 Decrease64,964
2013 Increase67,941
2014 Decrease63,318
2015 Increase67,377
2016 Increase70,800


A Bulgarian church (Saint Climent of Ohrid) in Los Angeles, California

According to the 2000 US Census, 28,565 people indicated that they speak Bulgarian at home. But in the recent years the number grew significantly to over 250,000 people.[2] Some Bulgarian Americans speak Bulgarian, especially the more recent immigrants, while others might not speak the language at all, or speak Bulgarian mixed with English to a lesser or greater extent.

Some Bulgarian Americans understand Bulgarian even though they might not be able to speak the language. There are cases where older generations of Bulgarians or descendants of Bulgarian immigrants from the early part of the 20th century are fluent in the Bulgarian language as well.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


^ Estimates of the Agency for Bulgarians Abroad for the numbers of ethnic Bulgarians living for the country in question based on data from the Bulgarian Border Police, the Bulgarian Ministry of Labour and reports from immigrant associations. The numbers include members of the diaspora (2nd and 3rd generation descendants of Bulgarian immigrants), legal immigrants, illegal immigrants, students and other individuals permanently residing in the country in question as of 2004.

  1. ^ a b c Also considered as Macedonian.


  1. ^ "PEOPLE REPORTING ANCESTRY. American Community Survey B04006 2019 1-Year Estimates". data.census.gov.
  2. ^ a b c d Посолство на Република България, Вашингтон, САЩ - Българска общност [Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria - Bulgarians in the US] (in Bulgarian). Mfa.bg. Archived from the original on May 6, 2011. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
  3. ^ Yu, Eleanor. "Bulgarian Americans." Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America (3rd ed., vol. 1, Gale, 2014), pp. 357-371.
  4. ^ "Ancestry: Census 2000, Census 2000 Summary File 3". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 10, 2020.
  5. ^ "2006 American Community Survey: Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more ancestry categories reported". U.S. Census Bureau.
  6. ^ G. Traichev, History of the Bulgarian Emigration to North America. From Its Beginning in mid 19th century to the 1980s, Sofia 1993
  7. ^ Eastern European Immigrant Families, 2013
  8. ^ Illinois Historical Journal Vol. 84, No. 1 (Spring, 1991), pp. 15-24
  9. ^ Robila, Mihaela (2013). Eastern European Immigrant Families. p. 31.
  10. ^ a b "US Census". Global Advertising Strategies, Inc. 2004.
  11. ^ "Census data on Bulgarians". data.census.gov. 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2023.
  12. ^ Bureau, U.S. Census. "American FactFinder - Results". factfinder.census.gov. Archived from the original on 2020-02-14. Retrieved 2018-04-23.
  13. ^ Assen Jordanoff - the man who contributed to America's airpower Archived 2017-07-29 at the Wayback Machine at www.pantonov.com

Further reading[edit]

  • Altankov, Nikolay G. The Bulgarian-Americans. Palo Alto, Calif.: Ragusan Press, 1979.
  • Auerbach, Susan (ed.). Encyclopedia of Multiculturalism. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1994.
  • Carlson, Claudia and David Allen. The Bulgarian Americans. New York: Chelsea House, 1990. ISBN 0-87754-865-X
  • Moody, Suzanna, Joel Wurl; Rudolph J Vecoli (eds.). The Immigration History Research Center: A Guide to Collections. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991.
  • Riggs, Thomas. Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America, Vol. 1. 3rd ed. Farmington Hills: Gale, 2000.
  • Yankoff, Peter Dimitrov. Peter Menikoff: The Story of a Bulgarian Boy in the Great American Melting Pot. Nashville, Tenn.: Cokesbury Press, 1928.

External links[edit]