Eritrean American

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Eritrea Eritrean American United States
Total population
25,848 (Eritrea-born, 2007-2011)[1]
18,917 (Eritrean ancestry)[2]
Regions with significant populations

Eritrean Americans are Americans who are of Eritrean ancestry.


An Eritrean restaurant in San Francisco.

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.[3] However, the net movement of permanent immigrants remained low during this period as most temporary immigrants ultimately returned to Ethiopia.[3]

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,[4] prompted by a desire to pursue studies abroad and political unrest during the Ethiopian Civil War and Eritrean War of Independence.[5][6] The majority of Eritrean immigrants arrived later in the 1990s, following the Eritrean–Ethiopian War.[5] By 2000, the Eritrean community in the U.S. had grown to around 30,000 members.[6]

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.[6] They also run several taxi establishments, including the Eritrean Cab company based in San Diego.[7]


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.[6] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 18,917 people reported Eritrean ancestry in 2000.[2] Between 2007 and 2011, there were approximately 25,848 Eritrea-born residents in the country.[1]

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, Denver and Dallas metropolitan areas.[8]

Community organizations[edit]

The Eritrean Community Center of Greater New York.

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,[9] Eritrean Community Center of Greater New York,[10] Eritrean American Community in Dallas,[11] Eritrean Community Association in Chicago,[12] Eritrean Association in Greater Seattle,[13] and Eritrean American Community in Sacramento.[14]

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.[6]

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.[15]

The Eritrean Muslims Association in North America (EMANA) and Eritrean Muslims Council (EMC) serve the Eritrean community's Muslim adherents.[16][17] Christians also gather in a number of Eritrean Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.[6]

Notable Eritrean Americans[edit]

Notable U.S. residents of full or partial Eritrean descent include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "PLACE OF BIRTH FOR THE FOREIGN-BORN POPULATION IN THE UNITED STATES, Universe: Foreign-born population excluding population born at sea, 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Table 1. First, Second, and Total Responses to the Ancestry Question by Detailed Ancestry Code: 2000". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-04-19. 
  3. ^ a b Terrazas, Aaron (June 2007). "Beyond Regional Circularity: The Emergence of an Ethiopian Diaspora". Migration Information Source. Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Chacko, Elizabeth (October 2003). "Identity and Assimilation Among Young Ethiopian Immigrants in Metropolitan Washington". Geographical Review 93 (4): 491–506. doi:10.1111/j.1931-0846.2003.tb00044.x. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Powell, John (2009). Encyclopedia of North American Immigration. Infobase Publishing. p. 94. ISBN 143811012X. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Hepner, Tricia Redeker. "Eritreans". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "Eritrean Cab". Beach California. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Ember, Melvin (1997). American Immigrant Cultures: Builders of a Nation. Simon & Schuster Macmillan. p. 264. ISBN 0028972147. 
  9. ^ "Nonprofit Report for ERITREAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY IN THE D C METROPOLITAN AREA EAC". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "Eritrean Community Center of Greater New York". NCCS. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "Eritrean American Community". Manta. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "ERITREAN COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION IN CHICAGO". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Association History". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  14. ^ "Eritrean American Community In Sacramento. 5419 Beauford Ct Antelope,CA. EIN:273133841". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  15. ^ "Eritrean Sports Federation in North America (ERSFNA)". Eritrean Sports Federation in North America (ERSFNA). Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  16. ^ "Eritrean Muslims Association in North America (EMANA)". Eritrean Muslims Association in North America. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  17. ^ " Eritrean Muslims Council (EMC)". Eritrean Muslims Council. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 

External links[edit]