Greek Americans

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Greek Americans
Total population
1,265,177[1]3,000,000[2] (approx.)
0.75% of the U.S. population (2010)[3]
Regions with significant populations
Christianity, predominantly Greek Orthodox

Greek Americans (Greek: Ελληνοαμερικανοί Ellinoamerikanoí [eliˌno.amerikaˈni] or Ελληνοαμερικάνοι Ellinoamerikánoi [eliˌno.ameriˈkani])[17] are Americans of full or partial Greek ancestry. The lowest estimate is that 1.2 million Americans are of Greek descent while the highest estimate suggests over 3 million.[3] 350,000 people older than five spoke Greek at home in 2010.[18]

Greek Americans have the highest concentrations in the New York City,[4][19][20] Boston,[5] and Chicago[6] regions, but have settled in major metropolitan areas across the United States. In 2000, Tarpon Springs, Florida, was home to the highest per capita representation of Greek Americans in the country (25%). The United States is home to the largest number of Greeks outside of Greece, followed by Cyprus and Australia.


Early history[edit]

A young Greek immigrant on Ellis Island, New York City, late 19th century
Greek parade at 57th Street, New York State

The first Greek known to have been to what is now the United States was Don Doroteo Teodoro, a sailor who landed in Boca Ciega Bay at the Jungle Prada site in present-day St. Petersburg, FL with the Narváez expedition in 1528.[21][22] He was instrumental in building the rafts that the expedition survivors built and sailed from present-day St. Mark's River in Florida until they were shipwrecked near Galveston Island, Texas. Teodoro had been captured by natives as they sailed along the Gulf coast shoreline toward the west, and was never seen again.[23] He was presumably killed by the natives.[24]

In 1592, Greek captain Juan de Fuca (original name: Ioannis Fokas or Apostolos Valerianos) sailed up the Pacific coast under the Spanish flag, in search of the fabled Northwest Passage between the Pacific and the Atlantic. He reported discovering a body of water, a strait which today bears his name: the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which today forms part of the Canada–United States border.

Records show that a Greek, Michael Dry (Youris), became a naturalized citizen by act of the General Assembly of Maryland in 1725. This makes Dry the first Greek positively known to reside permanently in what is today the United States.[24]

About 500 Greeks from Smyrna, Crete, and Mani settled in New Smyrna Beach, Florida in 1768. The colony was unsuccessful, and the settlers moved to St. Augustine in 1776. In November 1777, a Greek chapel was established in St. Augustine, where Greeks could pray with their own rites.[24] Almost 200 years later, the chapel was designated the St Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine by the Greek Orthodox Church, and it exists today as a remnant of their presence, having been built atop the site of the Avero House, itself believed to be the first site of Greek Orthodox worship in the United States.[25][26]

The first noted Greek American scholar was John Paradise.[24] He was persuaded to immigrate to America by Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, whom he met in Europe. Paradise married into the notable Ludwell family, one of the most prominent colonial families in Virginia.[24]

Evstratii Delarov, a native of the Peloponnese,[24] was the first documented Greek explorer and merchant to arrive in Alaska.[27] From 1783 to 1791, he was in charge of all Russian trading operations in the Aleutian Islands and in Alaska.[24] He is today considered to have been the first de facto Governor of Alaska.[24]

Greek American Creole Marianne Celeste Dragon 1795
Greek-American volunteers in the Balkan Wars

Early records show Michel Dragon (Michalis Dracos) and Andrea Dimitry (Andrea Drussakis Demetrios) settled in New Orleans around 1799. Michel Dragon was a lieutenant in the American Revolution and Andrea Dimitry participated in the War of 1812. Andrea married Michel Dragon's daughter, Marianne Celeste Dragon, and established a small community in New Orleans. The marriage between them in 1799 was the first known marriage between Greeks in America.[24] His son was United States ambassador to Costa Rica & Nicaragua Alexander Dimitry.[28] Another Greek refugee named George Marshall also came to the United States around this period. He was born in Rhodes in 1782. Marshall joined the United States Navy in 1809 and he wrote Marshall's Practical Marine Gunnery.[29] Marshall had a successful naval career and became master gunner. His son George J Marshall also served in the navy. His son-in-law was George Sirian. Due to problems with the straight of Gibraltar, America was desperate for trade with Europe. Pirates ransomed Americans which led to two Barbary wars. America eventually formed the Mediterranean Squadron.

19th century[edit]

Many American ships traveled to the Ottoman Empire, namely Ayvalık. The Greek War of Independence began in 1821 and lasted until 1830. Americans established missionaries in Greece. The missionaries included Jonas King. Prominent American abolitionists Samuel Gridley Howe and Jonathan Peckham Miller participated in the Greek War. Jonathan Peckham Miller adopted Greek orphan Lucas M. Miller. Samuel Gridley Howe also collected a number of refugees and brought them back to Boston. Some of the refugees he brought included John Celivergos Zachos and author Christophorus Plato Castanis.[30]

New England and Boston became home to countless Greek refugees during the 1820s. Some of them were: Author Petros Mengous, Photius Fisk, Gregory Anthony Perdicaris, Evangelinos Apostolides Sophocles, George Colvocoresses, Garafilia Mohalbi. There was a large Greek presence at Mount Pleasant Classical Institute and other local universities.[31] There were hundreds of Greek orphans that arrived in New England. Some drastically contributed to the United States of America. The Greek Slave Movement was initiated by Boston abolitionists.

The Greek Slave Movement started in the 1820s during the influx of young refugees to New England. The movement contributed to countless paintings, sculptures, poems, essays, and songs. The death of Greek slave Garafilia Mohalbi was a trigger for sympathy. She was featured in many poems and songs. The Greek Slave Movement was so popular in American media that sculptor Hiram Powers created The Greek Slave. The Greek Slave Movement was an abolitionist tool to abolish slavery in the United States. The theme eventually exploded some examples include: The Slave Market (Gérôme painting), The Slave Market (Boulanger painting), and the slave Market Otto Pilny.[32] Some of the young Greek refugees became abolitionists.

John Celivergos Zachos became a prominent educator. He was also a woman's rights activist and abolitionist. Photius Fisk was another abolitionist who fought for the anti-slavery cause. Gregory Anthony Perdicaris was a wealthy millionaire who created the framework for gas and electric companies. George Colvocoresses was a captain in the United States Navy. Colvos Passage is named after him. George Sirian was another seaman in the United States Navy. The George Sirian Meritorious Service Award is named after him. Harvard created an entire department for Evangelinos Apostolides Sophocles. Greek orphan Lucas Miltiades Miller became a U.S. Congressman.

In the American Civil War, Greek Americans fought for both sides, Union and Confederate, with prominent Greeks such as George Colvocoresses, John Celivergos Zachos and Photius Fisk taking part in the war on the side of the Union.[33] A Greek Company within the Confederate Louisiana Militia was formed for Greeks who fought for the Confederate States of America.[34]

After the Civil War, the Greek community continued to flourish in New Orleans, Louisiana. By 1866, the community was numerous and prosperous enough to have a Greek consulate and the first official Greek Orthodox Church in the United States.[35] During that period, most Greek immigrants to the New World came from Asia Minor and those Aegean Islands still under Ottoman rule. By 1890, there were almost 15,000 Greeks living in the U.S.

Immigration picked up again in the 1890s and early 20th century, due largely to economic opportunity in the U.S., displacement caused by the hardships of Ottoman rule, the Balkan Wars, and World War I. Most of these immigrants had come from southern Greece, especially from the Peloponnesian provinces of Laconia and Arcadia.[36] 450,000 Greeks arrived to the States between 1890 and 1917, most working in the cities of the northeastern United States; others labored on railroad construction and in mines of the western United States; another 70,000 arrived between 1918 and 1924. Each wave of immigration contributed to the growth of Hellenism in the U.S.

Greek immigration at this time was over 90% male, contrasted with most other European immigration to the U.S., such as Italian and Irish immigration, which averaged 50% to 60% male. Many Greek immigrants expected to work and return to their homeland after earning capital and dowries for their families. However, the loss of their homeland due to the Greek genocide and the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey, which displaced 1,500,000 Greeks from Anatolia, Eastern Thrace, and Pontus caused the initial economic immigrants to reside permanently in America. The Greeks were de jure denaturalized from their homelands and lost the right to return, and their families were made refugees. Additionally, the first widely implemented U.S. immigration limits against non Western European immigrants were made in 1924, creating an impetus for immigrants to apply for citizenship, bring their families and permanently settle in the U.S. Fewer than 30,000 Greek immigrants arrived in the U.S. between 1925 and 1945, most of whom were "picture brides" for single Greek men and family members coming over to join relatives.[37][38]

20th century[edit]

Sponge auction in Tarpon Springs, Florida, in 1947. The community has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the U.S.

In 1909, there was a pogrom against the Greek population in South Omaha.

The events of the early 1920s also provided the stimulus for the first permanent national Greek American religious and civic organizations. In 1922, as a response to the anti-Greek campaign and actions of Ku Klux Klan, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association was founded, which sought to organize and Americanize the Greek immigrant in America.[39]

Greeks again began to arrive in large numbers after 1945, fleeing the economic devastation caused by World War II and the Greek Civil War. From 1945 until 1982, approximately 211,000 Greeks immigrated to the United States. These later immigrants were less influenced by the powerful assimilation pressures of the 1920s and 1930s and revitalized Greek American identity, especially in areas such as Greek-language media.

Greek immigrants founded more than 600 diners in the New York metropolitan area in the 1950s through the 1970s. Immigration to the United States from Greece peaked between the 1950s and 1970.[40][41] After the 1981 admission of Greece to the European Union, annual U.S. immigration numbers fell to less than 2,000. In recent years, Greek immigration to the United States has been minimal; in fact, net migration has been towards Greece. Over 72,000 U.S. citizens currently live in Greece (1999); most of them are Greek Americans.

The predominant religion among Greeks and Greek Americans is Greek Orthodox Christianity. There are also a number of Americans who descend from Greece's smaller Sephardic and Romaniote Jewish communities.

21st century[edit]

In the aftermath of the Greek financial crisis, there has been a resurgence of Greek immigration to New York City since 2010, accelerating in 2015, and centered upon the traditional Greek enclave of Astoria, Queens.[42] According to The New York Times, this new wave of Greek migration to New York is not being driven as much by opportunities in New York as it is by a lack of economic options in Greece itself.[42] In December 2022, the $85 million, newly rebuilt St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church opened in Lower Manhattan, 21 years after being destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks.[43]


Number of Greek Americans
Year Number
Distribution of Greek Americans according to the 2000 census
The New York City Metropolitan Area, including Long Island, New York, and Bergen County, New Jersey, is home to the largest Greek population in the United States.[4][19]
U.S. President George W. Bush welcomes Archbishop Demetrios to the White House to celebrate Greek Independence Day and to recognize the contributions of Greek-Americans to American culture in March 2007

Population by state[edit]

Population by state according to the 2011-2015 American Community Survey.[48]

  1.  New York170,637
  2.  California134,680
  3.  Illinois99,509
  4.  Florida90,647
  5.  Massachusetts83,701
  6.  New Jersey63,940
  7.  Pennsylvania62,168
  8.  Ohio54,614
  9.  Texas47,622
  10.  Michigan42,711
  11.  Maryland33,733
  12.  Virginia33,062
  13.  Connecticut30,304
  14.  North Carolina26,877
  15.  Washington25,665
  16.  Indiana23,993
  17.  Arizona21,742
  18.  Colorado20,239
  19.  Georgia19,519
  20.  New Hampshire18,434
  21.  Wisconsin16,386
  22.  Missouri15,920
  23.  Utah14,088
  24.  Oregon13,847
  25.  South Carolina13,552
  26.  Nevada11,977
  27.  Minnesota11,782
  28.  Tennessee11,345
  29.  Alabama8,081
  30.  Rhode Island7,485
  31.  Maine7,164
  32.  Kentucky6,887
  33.  Louisiana6,636
  34.  Iowa6,415
  35.  Kansas5,315
  36.  Oklahoma5,261
  37.  West Virginia4,722
  38.  New Mexico4,110
  39.  Idaho3,869
  40.  Delaware3,851
  41.  Nebraska3,840
  42.  Arkansas3,082
  43.  Montana3,062
  44.  Mississippi3,023
  45.  Vermont2,987
  46.  Hawaii2,479
  47.  District of Columbia2,139
  48.  Alaska2,129
  49.  Wyoming1,701
  50.  South Dakota1,180
  51.  North Dakota690

Largest communities[edit]

Greek-American communities in the U.S. according to the 5 Year Estimates of the (2020 American Community Survey):[49]

United States by Ancestry: 1,249,194
United States by Country of Birth: 124,428

Top CSA's by Ancestry:

  1. New York-Newark-Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA CSA: 187,255
  2. Boston-Worcester-Manchester, MA-RI-NH CSA: 95,594
  3. Chicago-Naperville, IL-IN-WI CSA: 89,468
  4. Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA CSA: 52,416
  5. Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA CSA: 48,597
  6. San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA CSA: 40,277
  7. Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD CSA: 36,432
  8. Detroit–Warren–Ann Arbor, MI CSA: 31,547
  9. Miami-Port St. Lucie-Fort Lauderdale, FL CSA: 23,725

Top CSA's by Country of Birth:

  1. New York-Newark-Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA CSA: 37,225
  2. Chicago-Naperville, IL-IN-WI CSA: 12,070
  3. Boston-Worcester-Manchester, MA-RI-NH CSA: 10,843
  4. Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA CSA: 5,484
  5. Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA CSA: 5,016
  6. Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD CSA: 5,014
  7. San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA CSA: 3,424
  8. Miami-Port St. Lucie-Fort Lauderdale, FL CSA: 2,711
  9. Detroit–Warren–Ann Arbor, MI CSA: 2,337

Top MSA's by Ancestry:

  1. New York-Newark-Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA: 159,180
  2. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI: 87,864
  3. Boston-Worcester-Manchester, MA-RI-NH: 65,041
  4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA: 39,163
  5. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD: 30,728
  6. Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA: 28,450
  7. Detroit–Warren–Ann Arbor, MI: 26,290
  8. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL: 24,522
  9. San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA: 23,266
  10. Miami-Port St. Lucie-Fort Lauderdale, FL CSA: 20,545

Top MSA's by Country of Birth:

  1. New York-Newark-Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA: 32,801
  2. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI: 12,031
  3. Boston-Worcester-Manchester, MA-RI-NH: 7,807
  4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA: 4,512
  5. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD: 4,347
  6. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL: 3,969
  7. Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA: 3,101
  8. Miami-Port St. Lucie-Fort Lauderdale, FL: 2,602
  9. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk-Danbury, CT: 2,302
  10. San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA: 2,091
  11. Detroit–Warren–Ann Arbor, MI: 2,076

Top States by Ancestry:

  1. New York: 143,481
  2. California: 129,127
  3. Illinois: 91,086
  4. Florida: 89,658
  5. Massachusetts: 76,317
  6. New Jersey: 59,665
  7. Pennsylvania: 59,477
  8. Ohio: 53,057
  9. Texas: 48,697
  10. Michigan: 44,042

Top States by Country of Birth:

  1. New York: 29,017
  2. Illinois: 12,031
  3. California: 10,742
  4. Massachusetts: 9,705
  5. Florida: 9,565
  6. New Jersey: 8,872
  7. Pennsylvania: 5,865
  8. Connecticut: 4,074
  9. Texas: 3,965
  10. Maryland: 3,312

Communities by percentage of people of Greek ancestry[edit]

The U.S. communities with the highest percentage of people claiming Greek ancestry are:[50]

  1. Tarpon Springs, Florida 25.00%
  2. Campbell, Ohio 9.30%
  3. Lincolnwood, Illinois 7.60%
  4. Plandome Manor, New York 7.50%
  5. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 7.20%
  6. Allenwood, New Jersey 6.60%
  7. South Barrington, Illinois 6.00%
  8. Palos Hills, Illinois 5.40%
  9. Nahant, Massachusetts 5.30%
  10. Alpine, New Jersey; Holiday, Florida; and Munsey Park, New York 5.20%
  11. East Marion, New York 5.00%
  12. Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan and Grosse Pointe Township, Michigan; Palos Park, Illinois; and Upper Brookville, New York 4.90%
  13. Harbor Isle, New York 4.70%
  14. Lake Dalecarlia, Indiana 4.50%
  15. Barnum Island, New York 4.40%
  16. Peabody, Massachusetts 4.30%
  17. Livingston Manor, New York and University Gardens, New York 4.20%
  18. Oak Brook, Illinois 4.00%
  19. Dracut, Massachusetts 3.90%
  20. Harwood Heights, Illinois and Oyster Bay Cove, New York 3.80%
  21. Fort Lee, New Jersey; Hiller, Pennsylvania; Ipswich, Massachusetts; Long Grove, Illinois; Oakhurst, New Jersey; and Yorkville, Ohio 3.70%
  22. Broomall, Pennsylvania; Garden City South, New York; Norwood Park, Chicago, Illinois (neighborhood); and Plandome, New York 3.60%
  23. Flower Hill, New York; Manhasset, New York; Monte Sereno, California; Norridge, Illinois; Palisades Park, New Jersey; Palos Township, IL; and Windham, New York 3.50%
  24. Morton Grove, Illinois; Terryville, New York; and Wellington, Utah 3.40%
  25. Banks Township, PA (Carbon County, PA); Harmony, Pennsylvania (Beaver County, PA); Plandome Heights, New York; and Watertown, Massachusetts 3.30%
  26. Niles, Illinois and Niles Township, Illinois 3.20%
  27. Groveland, Massachusetts 3.10%
  28. Albertson, New York; Caroline, New York; Graeagle, California; Lynnfield, Massachusetts; Marple Township, Pennsylvania; and Stanhope, New Jersey 3.00%
  29. Foster Township, Pennsylvania; Manhasset Hills, New York; West Falmouth, Massachusetts; Winfield, Indiana; and Worth Township, Indiana (Boone County, IN) 2.90%

Communities by percentage of those born in Greece[edit]

The U.S. communities with the largest percentage of residents born in Greece are:[citation needed]

Greek speakers in the U.S.
2011[54] 304,928
^a Foreign-born population only[55]
  1. Horse Heaven, Washington 3.8%
  2. Tarpon Springs, Florida 3.2%
  3. Palos Hills, Illinois 3.1%
  4. Harbor Isle, New York 3.1%
  5. Campbell, Ohio 3.1%
  6. Lincolnwood, Illinois 2.7%
  7. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 2.5%
  8. Bedford Park, Illinois 2.3%
  9. Twin Lakes, Florida 2.3%
  10. Holiday, Florida 2.1%
  11. Great Neck Gardens, New York 2.1%
  12. Norridge, Illinois 2.0%
  13. Palos Park, Illinois 1.9%
  14. Barnum Island, New York 1.9%
  15. Munsey Park, New York 1.8%
  16. Foxfield, Colorado 1.7%
  17. Cedar Glen West, New Jersey 1.7%
  18. Raynham Center, Massachusetts 1.6%
  19. Broomall, Pennsylvania 1.6%
  20. Flower Hill, New York 1.6%
  21. Alpine, New Jersey 1.6%
  22. Millbourne, Pennsylvania 1.6%
  23. Niles, Illinois 1.6%
  24. Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan 1.6%
  25. East Marion, New York 1.6%
  26. West Falmouth, Massachusetts 1.6%
  27. Golden Triangle, New Jersey 1.5%
  28. Palisades Park, New Jersey 1.5%
  29. Garden City South, New York 1.5%
  30. Harwood Heights, Illinois 1.5%
  31. Watertown, Massachusetts 1.5%
  32. Morton Grove, Illinois 1.5%
  33. East Ithaca, New York 1.4%
  34. Fort Lee, New Jersey 1.4%
  35. Saddle Rock, New York 1.4%
  36. Oakhurst, New Jersey 1.4%
  37. Plandome Manor, New York 1.3%
  38. White Lake, North Carolina 1.3%
  39. Old Brookville, New York 1.2%
  40. Plandome Heights, New York 1.2%
  41. South Barrington, Illinois 1.2%
  42. North Lakeville, Massachusetts 1.2%
  43. Terryville, New York 1.2%
  44. Jefferson, West Virginia 1.2%
  45. Ridgefield, New Jersey 1.2%
  46. East Norwich, New York 1.2%
  47. Skokie, Illinois 1.1%
  48. Arlington Heights, Pennsylvania 1.1%
  49. Pomona, New York 1.1%
  50. Spring House, Pennsylvania 1.1%
  51. Hickory Hills, Illinois 1.1%
  52. Cliffside Park, New Jersey 1.1%
  53. Friendship Village, Maryland 1.1%
  54. Kingsville, Maryland 1.1%
  55. Arlington, Massachusetts 1.1%
  56. Mount Prospect, Illinois 1.1%
  57. Midland Park, New Jersey 1.0%
  58. Lake Dalecarlia, Indiana 1.0%
  59. Pinedale, Wyoming 1.0%
  60. Glenview, Illinois 1.0%
  61. Dunn Loring, Virginia 1.0%
  62. West Kennebunk, Maine 1.0%
  63. Shokan, New York 1.0%
  64. Beacon Square, Florida 1.0%
  65. Peabody, Massachusetts 1.0%
  66. Dedham, Massachusetts 1.0%
  67. North Key Largo, Florida 1.0%
  68. Hillside, New York 1.0%
  69. Orland Park, Illinois 1.0%
  70. Eddystone, Pennsylvania 1.0%
  71. South Hempstead, New York 1.0%
  72. Redington Beach, Florida 1.0%
  73. Hillsmere Shores, Maryland 1.0%

Greek-born population[edit]

Greek-born population in the U.S. since 2010 (ACS 1 Tear Estimates):[56]

Year Number
2010 135,639
2011 Increase138,269
2012 Decrease134,956
2013 Increase137,084
2014 Decrease136,906
2015 Increase141,325
2016 Decrease135,484
2017 Decrease130,967
2018 Decrease125,699
2019 Decrease119,571

Print media[edit]

The front page of Atlantis, Tuesday, November 14, 1972

The Atlantis (1894–1973) was the first successful Greek-language daily newspaper published in the United States.[57] The newspaper was founded in 1894 by Solon J. and Demetrius J. Vlasto, descendants of the Greek noble family, Vlasto.[i][58] The paper was headed by a member of the Vlasto family until it closed in 1973. Published in New York City, it had a national circulation and influence. Atlantis supported the royalist faction in Greek politics until the mid-1960s. Atlantis editorial themes included naturalization, war relief, Greek-American business interests, and Greek religious unity.[57]

As of 2020, Ethnikos Kyrix (Greek: Εθνικός Κήρυξ, 1915–) is the only Greek-language daily publication based in the United States. Headquartered in New York City, its articles focus on the Greek diaspora in the United States as well as current events in Greece and Cyprus. In contrast to its competitor Atlantis, Ethnikos Kyrix historically supported liberal causes in Greece and America, including the progressive forces of Eleftherios Venizelos in Greece and the New Deal stateside.[57][59] A companion weekly edition The National Herald (1997–) is in circulation and features similar content presented in English.[60] The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America publishes the monthly Orthodox Observer (1934–) in both Greek and English for news and information regarding the Greek Orthodox Church as a whole, as well as its American parishes.[61]

In popular culture[edit]

Greek nationality[edit]

Los Angeles Greek Festival

Any person who is ethnically Greek born outside of Greece may become a Greek citizen through naturalization by proving that a parent or grandparent was born as a national of Greece. The Greek ancestor's birth certificate and marriage certificate are required, along with the applicant's birth certificate and the birth certificates of all generations in between until the relation between the applicant and the person with Greek citizenship is proven.


The new National Hellenic Museum, Chicago

There are hundreds of regional, religious and professional Greek American organizations. Some of the largest and most notable include:

  • The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) is the largest community organization of Greek Americans. It was founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 1922 to counter the anti-Greek attacks by the Ku Klux Klan during that time period. Its current membership exceeds 28,000. 385 active chapters are located in the United States with additional chapters in Canada, and Europe. AHEPA maintains a full-time staff at the AHEPA Global Headquarters located in Washington, DC
  • The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is the religious organization most closely associated with the Greek American community. It was established in 1921, and is under the leadership of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The church operates the Greek Orthodox Youth of America, the largest Orthodox Christian youth group in the United States.
  • The American Hellenic Institute, an advocacy group for Greek Americans, and its lobbying arm, the American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee.
  • The Next Generation Initiative, a foundation that works with prominent Greek American leaders and executives to offer educational opportunities such as internships and master classes through a network of more than 5,500 Greek American students and 2,500 professors on 200+ college campuses.
  • The Council of Hellenes Abroad is a Greek government sponsored umbrella organization for Greek immigrant organizations worldwide.
  • The Hellenic Society Paideia has been promoting Hellenism and Orthodoxy since 1977 by placing Greek and Byzantium classes in high schools and universities, offering study abroad programs to Greece year round, and with various building projects throughout the country. Anywhere from 200 to 500 students travel to Greece with Paideia per year. Information specifically for the study abroad programs can be found at Currently "Paideia" is constructing a Classical Greek Amphitheater at the University of Connecticut and a Center for Hellenic Studies at the University of Rhode Island.[63]
  • The National Hellenic Student Association (NHSA)[64] is the independent network of the Hellenic Student Associations (HSAs) across the United States. By linking all the Greek, Greek-American and Cypriot students of the American educational institutions, the organization can promote ideas and projects and enrich the Hellenic spirit on campuses nationwide.
  • Many topika somatéa (local councils) or clubs representing the local regional homeland of Greeks in America. Among the scores of such clubs, larger "umbrella" organizations include the Pan Macedonian Association (one example is the Drosopigi Society, in Rochester, New York, hailing from the village of Drosopigi in Northern Greece outside of the city of Florina) the Panepirotic Federation, the Pan Cretan Association, the Pan-Icarian Brotherhood, the Pan Pontian Federation of U.S.A-Canada, the Chios Societies of America & Canada, the Cyprus Federation of America, the Pan-Laconian Federation of the USA & Canada, the Pan-Messinian Federation of the USA & Canada, the Pan-Arcadian Federation of America and several associations of refugees from areas in the former Ottoman territories.
  • The National Hellenic Museum in Greektown, Chicago

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Table B04006 - People Reporting Ancestry - 2019 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimatestrue". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  2. ^ "U.S. Relations With Greece - Bilateral Relations Fact Sheet". United States Department of State. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Total Ancestry Reported". United States Census Bureau. 2010. Archived from the original on January 18, 2015. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "Selected Population Profile in the United States 2010-2012 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Selected Population Profile in the United States 2010-2012 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
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Further reading[edit]

  • Callinicos, Constance. American Aphrodite: Becoming Female in Greek America (Pella, 1990).
  • Georgakas, Dan. My Detroit: Growing Up Greek and American in Motor City (Pella, 2006)."
  • Georgiou, Leonidas V., "Conversations with F.D.R. at his AHEPA Initiation: Frigates, Battleships, Espionage and a Sentimental Bond with Greece," (Knollwood Press, 2019). Available through
  • Jurgens, Jane. "Greek Americans." Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America, edited by Thomas Riggs, (3rd ed., vol. 2, Gale, 2014), pp. 237–253. Online
  • Jusdanis, Gregory. "Greek Americans and the diaspora." Diaspora: a journal of transnational studies 1#2 (1991): 209–223. Excerpt
  • Kunkelman, Gary. The Religion of Ethnicity: Belief and Belonging in a Greek-American Community (Garland, 1990).
  • Moskos, Peter C. Greek Americans: struggle and success (Routledge, 2017).
  • Orfanos, Spyros D. Reading Greek America: Studies in the Experience of Greeks in the United States (Pella, 2002).
  • Rouvelas, Marilyn. A Guide to Greek Traditions and Customs in America (Attica, 1993).
  • Scourby, Alice. "Three generations of Greek Americans: A study in ethnicity." International Migration Review 14.1 (1980): 43–52. Online
  • Schultz, Sandra L. "Adjusting Marriage Tradition: Greeks to Greek-Americans." Journal of Comparative Family Studies 12.2 (1981): 205–218.

External links[edit]

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