South African Americans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from List of South African Americans)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
South African Americans
South Africa United States
Total population
(2013 American Community Survey)[1]
Regions with significant populations
California, New York, Maryland, Minnesota, South Florida, Chicago, Atlanta, Arizona, Texas
American English, South African English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Tswana, Cantonese, see languages of South Africa
Roman Catholic, Reformed Churches, Jewish, Methodism, Anglicanism, minority: irreligion

South African Americans are Americans who have full or partial ancestry from South Africa. According to the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, there are 78,616 people born in South Africa that currently live in the United States.[2]


Free South Africans began arriving in the United States as early as the late-nineteenth century. The first groups were Afrikaner miners who arrived in California. Significant numbers of South Africans, typically of British Isles heritage, arrived in the mid-twentieth century. Immigration by black South Africans was limited, as although the standard of living for black Africans in South Africa was higher than for most people living on the African continent, political and economic conditions still made immigration difficult, as blacks were forced to escape to other African nations before they could emigrate to the country of their choice.[citation needed]

Following the Soweto uprising in 1976, there was a significant increase in South African immigration to the United States. Many of the immigrants were South African Jews, who formed a community in the northern suburbs of Chicago.[citation needed] Although emigration policies during apartheid made immigration difficult, there were a small number of black students and political refugees who emigrated to the US.[citation needed] During the 1980s and 1990s, many South Africans entered the US for political reasons, to be with family members, or to access professional opportunities not available in their home country.[citation needed]

The largest wave of South African emigration was in 1994, after the election of Nelson Mandela as the President of South Africa. Many White South Africans, especially Afrikaners, emigrated after the acquisition of political power by the black population.[3]

The end of the apartheid system brought significant waves of South Africans, most of British descent[4] with a significant number of Portuguese heritage.[citation needed]

According to Statistics South Africa, between 2006 and 2016, the United States and the U.S. territory of American Samoa received a combined 17.8% of all South African emigrants relocating overseas. This made the United States the third most popular destination after first place Australia and the second place United Kingdom.[5][6][7]


The majority of South Africans who emigrated went to Australia and New Zealand, countries with similar cultural and linguistic heritage, as well as similar climates and latitude positioning.[citation needed] There were also a large number of South African immigrants that went to the US. Many White South Africans, both before and after the end of apartheid, emigrated to Midwestern states such as Minnesota and Illinois.[citation needed] Atlanta, Georgia, has a large population of South African Jews.[citation needed] Also, a number of South Africans live in New York City and Mid-Atlantic states such as Maryland.[citation needed] Many South African immigrants in the US are White people of European origin. Of the 82,000 South Africans that were living in this country between 2008–09, about 11,000 of them were Black South Africans.[8] In the 2000 Census, 509 South African Americans reported their ethnic origins as Zulu.[9]

The majority of these immigrants are English speaking, with a moderate proportion of these being South African Jews. In the US, South Africans in general—both white and black—live in the US individually, rather than in communities of South African Americans.[4] One area with many South Africans in the US is San Diego, California[citation needed], while smaller populations reside elsewhere in the Western United States, including the Pacific Northwest.


Indaba ("discussion" in Zulu) is an example of an organization set up by South Africans to promote community involvement. It was founded in the 1990s and sponsors community events and activities. In addition, this organization allows the exchange of information through a web site and a mailing list, keeping South Africans informed about international and local events. The South African consulate in Chicago has close ties with many expatriates and hosts regular events and speakers, including an annual celebration of Freedom Day on 27 April. In 2001, the hosts founded the African Group of the U.S. Women's Action to boost the knowledge and understanding of South Africa among Americans. The South Africans are also in many other forums, such as informal parties, religious activities and rugby matches.[3]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more ancestry categories reported 2013 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-06-14.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b Encyclopedia Chicago.Posted by Tracy Steffes.
  4. ^ a b Everyculture: South African American. Posted by Judson Knight and Lorna Mabunda. Retrieved September 2, 2012, to 2:50pm.
  5. ^ "This is who is emigrating from South Africa – and where they are going". 2018-02-02. Archived from the original on 2018-02-02. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  6. ^ "Cheers, South Africa: reasons behind spike in emigration | City Press". 2018-02-02. Archived from the original on 2018-02-02. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  7. ^ "End of the SA dream? Emigration stats show Zim, Mozambique hotspots. | Fin24". 2018-02-02. Archived from the original on 2018-02-02. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  8. ^ New Streams: Black African Migration to the United States. Posted by Randy Capps, Kristen McCabe, and Michael Fix.
  9. ^ "Table 1. First, Second, and Total Responses to the Ancestry Question by Detailed Ancestry Code: 2000". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2010-12-02.

External links[edit]