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|93,498 (2008 American Community Survey)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota|
|American English, Latvian|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Lithuanian Americans, Latvians|
The first significant wave of Latvian settlers who immigrated to the United States came in 1888 to Boston. By the end of century, those Latvians immigrants settled primarily in other East Coast and Midwest cities, such as New York City, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Chicago, as well as in some cities on the West Coast, such as Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. Some immigrants also established themselves in rural areas, but they were few and usually did not form long-lasting communities. Although most Latvians settled in cities, in most of these (with the exception of the Roxbury district of Boston) they lived dispersed and did not form ethnic neighborhoods. The first Lutheran church built by Latvians in the United States was erected in 1906 in Lincoln County, where an agricultural colony had been established in 1897.
A new wave of Latvian immigration began around 1906, after the failure of the 1905 Russian Revolution. Many of these immigrants were political leaders and rank-and-file revolutionaries who could be killed by Russian soldiers if they were discovered, so they decided to emigrate and continue the revolutionary movement in other countries. Most of the Latvian revolutionaries were more politically radical than the earlier immigrants to the United States, which increased friction in a number of communities.
In 1917, many Latvian revolutionaries went back to their homeland to work for the creation of a Bolshevik government, and in 1918, when Latvia declared its independence, some nationalists also returned.
After the First World War, the promise of economic improvements in the newly independent nation, immigration quotas established in 1924 by the United States, and the Great Depression all contributed to slow emigration from Latvia.
Toward the end of World War II, tens of thousands Latvians fled from advancing Soviet troops to Western Europe and moved into Displaced Persons camps. About half were eventually repatriated to Latvia, but the rest resettled to Germany, England, Australia, Canada, the United States and other countries. From 1949 to 1951, 40,000 Latvians immigrated to the United States with the help of the U.S. government and various social service and religious organizations. Although many of these refugees had been professionals in their country, in the United States they often had jobs as farmhands, custodians, or builders until they could find better paying jobs.
Most Latvians settled in cities, such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago. As with the earlier Latvian immigrants, most did not create ethnic neighborhoods and relied on social events and the press for a sense of community. Within a few years, Latvian organizations managed to create schools, credit unions, choirs, dance groups, theater troupes, publishers and book sellers, churches, veterans' groups, and political organizations.
From 1980 to 1990, 1,006 Latvians arrived in the United States.
Latvia reestablished its independence in 1991; however, few of the immigrants or their descendants have returned.
According to the 2000 census, a total of 87,564 people of Latvian descent lived in the United States. There are larger populations in the states of California, New York, Illinois, Florida and Massachusetts. Many Latvian Americans (about 9,000) have dual citizenship, which became available to Latvians who emigrated after the reestablishment of independence. Also, many often travel to Latvia and provide financial support and give material to various organizations. Some Latvian Americans have been elected to the Saeima, or Parliament, in Latvia.
The states with the largest Latvian-American populations are:
|New York (state)||9,937|
Languages and religions
Most Latvian Americans speak English, while Latvian (also known as Lettish) is basically the language spoken by American Latvians of the first generation due to intermarriage. As for religion, although most Latvians Americans are Lutherans, there are also small Catholic communities, represented by the American Latvian Catholic Association, as well Baptist communities. There is also a sizable American-Latvian Jewish community.
|Lists of Americans|
|By U.S. state|
|By ethnicity or nationality|
- Rutanya Alda (Rūta Skrastiņa, 1942), actress (Mommy Dearest, The Deer Hunter)
- Jessie Andrews (1992), pornographic actress, model, and club DJ
- Aris Brimanis (Āris Brīmanis, 1972), ice hockey player
- Gunnar Birkerts (Gunārs Birkerts, 1925), architect (Corning Museum of Glass, Marquette Plaza in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, National Library of Latvia, Riga)
- Sven Birkerts (born 1951), is an American essayist and literary critic
- Chase Budinger (Čeiss Badingers, 1988), NBA basketball player
- Eric Cantor (1963), Republican Representative of Virginia's 7th congressional district from 2001 to 2014, and Majority Leader from 2011 to 2014, until his historic primary defeat by Dave Brat.
- Vija Celmins (Vija Celmiņš, 1938), painter, in 2009 she won a Fellow Award in the Visual Arts from United States Artists
- Jacob Davis (Jēkabs Jufess, 1831–1908), tailor, inventor of denim
- Buddy Ebsen (1908–2003), actor and dancer, who is perhaps best remembered for his role as Jed Clampett in the popular television series The Beverly Hillbillies
- Andrievs Ezergailis (1930), historian of the Holocaust
- Paul Grasmanis (1974) former NFL American football player
- Dave Grusin (b. 1934) famous jazz musician. Famous for his musical score in the movies such as Tootsie and Heaven Can Wait.
- Natalie Gulbis (1983), LPGA golfer
- Moriss Halle (1923), linguist
- Philippe Halsman (Filips Halsmans, 1906–1979), photographer
- Juris Hartmanis (1928), computer scientist, Turing Award winner (1993)
- Rashida Jones (1976), actress
- Mike Knuble (Maiks Knuble, 1972), NHL ice hockey player
- Mārtiņš Krūmiņš (1900–1992), Latvian-American Impressionist Painter
- DJ Lethal (Leors Dimants, 1972), DJ for rap-rock band Limp Bizkit
- Ed Leedskalnin (Edvards Liedskalniņš, 1887–1951), amateur sculptor, builder of Coral Castle in Florida, claimed to have discovered the ancient magnetic levitation secrets used to construct the Egyptian pyramids.
- Cynthia Lynn (Zinta Valda Zimilis, 1936), actress.
- Peggy Lipton (1946), actress
- Leo Mihelsons (1887–1978) - artist
- Peters Munters - Musician - Over it (band), Runner Runner
- Fred Norris (Fred Leo Nukis, 1955), Howard Stern show personality
- Lucia Peka (Lūcija Pēka, 1912–1991), artist, painter of "Flowers", "Riga", and "The Well". Part of the Latvian Diaspora.
- Brita Petersons (Brita Pētersone, 1979), model
- Gundaris Pone (1932–1994), composer and conductor
- Lolita Ritmanis (1962), orchestrator, composer
- Laila Robins (Laila Robiņa, 1959), stage, film and television actress
- Henry Rollins (1961), musician, performance artist
- Benita Rose (1958), concert pianist
- Mark Rothko (Markus Rotkovičs, 1903–1970), painter
- Raimonds Staprans (Raimonds Staprāns, 1926), Latvian/American painter and playwright ("The Freezing", 1979; "Four Days in June", 1989)
- Harold Snepsts (Haralds Šnepsts, 1954), NHL ice hockey player
- Esther Sans Takeuchi (Estere Sāns-Takeuči, 1953), Greatbatch Professor of Advanced Power Sources at University of Buffalo and recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation (Oct. 7, 2009)
- Peter Tillers (1943–2015), legal scholar
- Juris Upatnieks (1936), physicist, the co-inventor of three-dimensional holography, created the first working hologram in 1962
- Makss Veinreihs (1893–1969), linguist
- Markus Zusevics (Markus Zuševics, 1989), NFL American football player
- DeAndre Yedlin (July 9, 1993) Is a soccer player for the Seattle Sounders and the United States National Soccer team
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- "Latvian Americans - History, The first Latvians in America, Significant immigration waves". Everyculture.com. Retrieved 2017-03-05.
- "Latvia's Famous People". Latvia.lv. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
- "Latvian Americans - History, The first latvians in america, Significant immigration waves". Everyculture.com. Retrieved 2017-03-05.
- "Buddy Ebsen Biography". Actorbuddyebsen.info. Retrieved 2017-03-05.
- "Country Profile". Web.archive.org. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
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Elizabetes iela 57, Rīga, LV 1050, LATVIA
- "Daughter of Latvian refugees receives top technological award at White House :: The Baltic Course | Baltic States news & analytics". The Baltic Course. 2009-10-14. Retrieved 2017-03-05.
- American Latvian Association
- American Latvian Youth Association
- Daugavas Vanagi ASV
- Dienvidkalifornijas Latviešu Informācijas Biļetens
- Embassy of Latvia to the United States of America
- Kalifornijas Latviešu Uzņēmēju Biznesa Saiets "KLUBS"
- Latvian Center "Gaŗezers"
- Latvian Cultural Association TILTS
- Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church of New York
- Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
- Latvians Online
- Latvian Relief Fund of America
- Latvieši Amerikā
- Pasaules Brīvo Latviešu Apvienība
- The Philadelphia Society of Free Letts
- Union of Latvian Baptists in America