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Romanian Americans

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Romanian Americans
Total population
464,814 (2019)[1][2] 1,200,000 (other estimates in 2019)[3]
Regions with significant populations
American English and Romanian
Predominantly Romanian Orthodoxy,
Romanian Greek Catholicism,
Roman Catholicism, Judaism and smaller Protestantism
Related ethnic groups
Romanian Canadians, European Americans, Moldovan Americans
The language spread of Romanian in the United States according to U. S. Census 2000

Romanian Americans (Romanian: Români Americani) are Americans who have Romanian ancestry. According to the 2017 American Community Survey, 478,278 Americans indicated Romanian as their first or second ancestry,[1] however other sources provide higher estimates, which are most likely more accurate, for the numbers of Romanian Americans in the contemporary United States; for example, the Romanian-American Network supplies a rough estimate of 1.2 million who are fully or partially of Romanian ethnicity.[3] There is also a significant number of people of Romanian Jewish ancestry, estimated at 225,000.[7]


The first Romanian known to have been to what is now the United States was Samuel Damian (also spelled Domien), a former priest.[8] Samuel Damian's name appears as far back as 1748, when he placed an advertisement in the South Carolina Gazette announcing the electrical demonstrations he planned to give and inviting the public to attend. Letters written in 1753 and 1755 by Benjamin Franklin attest to the fact that the two had met and had carried on discussions concerning electricity.[8] Damian remained in the States some years living in South Carolina, then traveled on to Jamaica.[9][10]

There were several Romanians who became officers in the Union Army during the American Civil War, including Brevet Brigadier General George Pomutz, commander of the 15th Iowa Infantry Regiment, Captain Nicolae Dunca, who fought and died in the Battle of Cross Keys, and Captain Eugen Ghica-Comănești, of the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry. There were also several Romanian soldiers who fought in the Spanish–American War in 1898.[9]

The first major wave of Romanian immigrants to the United States took place between 1895 and 1920, in which 145,000 Romanians entered the country. They came from various regions such as: Moldavia, Bukovina, Transylvania and neighboring countries such as Ukraine and Serbia with significant Romanian population.[11] The majority of these immigrants particularly those from Transylvania and Banat that were under Austro-Hungarian rule left their native regions because of economic depression and forced assimilation, a policy practiced by Hungarian rulers.[12]

They settled mostly in the industrial centers in Pennsylvania and Delaware as well as in areas around the Great Lakes such as Cleveland, Chicago, and Detroit. The migrants from the Romanian Old Kingdom were mostly Jews, most of whom settled in New York. One of their prominent organizations was the United Rumanian Jews of America. 75,000 Romanian Jews emigrated in the period 1881–1914, mostly to the United States.[13]

During the interwar period, the number of ethnic Romanians who migrated to the U.S. decreased as a consequence of the economic development in Romania, but the number of Jews who migrated to the U.S. increased, mostly after the rise of the fascism.

After World War II, the number of Romanians who migrated to the United States increased again. This time, they settled mostly in California, Florida and New York and they came from throughout Romania. After the Fall of Communism in 1989, increased numbers of Romanians moved to the United States, taking advantage of the new relaxation of Romania's emigration policies (during the communist rule, the borders were officially closed, although some people managed to migrate, including to the United States). In the 1990s, New York and Los Angeles were favorite destinations for Romanian emigrants.[14]


Romanian Americans are distributed throughout the U.S., with concentrations found in the Midwest, such as in the states of Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois; the Northeast, in New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware, as well as California (Los Angeles and Sacramento). In the Southeast, communities are found in Georgia (Metro Atlanta), Florida (South Florida) and Alabama (Montgomery). There are also significant communities in the Southwest U.S., such as in Arizona. The largest Romanian American community is in the state of New York.[15]

Map of North America highlighting the OCA Romanian Episcopate

The states with the largest estimated Romanian American populations are:[16]

  1. New York (161,900)
  2. California (128,133)
  3. Florida (121,015)
  4. Michigan (119,624)
  5. Pennsylvania (114,529)
  6. Illinois (106,017)
  7. Ohio (83,228)
  8. Georgia (47,689)

Romanian-born population[edit]

According to estimates from the American Community Survey for 2017-2021, there were 166,700 Romanian immigrants nationally,[7] the top counties of which were:

  1. Cook County, Illinois (11,600)
  2. Queens Borough, NYC, N.Y. (7,100)
  3. Los Angeles County, California (6,100)
  4. Maricopa County, Arizona (5,400)
  5. Orange County, California (4,400)
  6. King County, Washington (4,100)
  7. Manhattan Borough, NYC, N.Y. (3,800)
  8. Gwinnett County, Georgia (3,700)
  9. Broward County, Florida (3,600)
  10. Cuyahoga County, Ohio (3,100)
  11. Oakland County, Michigan (2,700)
  12. Brooklyn Borough, NYC, N.Y. (2,600)
  13. Palm Beach County, Florida (2,400)
  14. Wayne County, Michigan (2,300)
  15. Sacramento County, California (2,300)

Romanian-born population in the U.S. since 2010:[17]

Year Number
2010 151,767
2011 Increase164,606
2012 Increase165,819
2013 Decrease157,302
2014 Increase157,315
2015 Increase159,546
2016 Increase161,629
2017 Increase165,199
2018 Decrease162,443
2019 Increase167,751

Romania-U.S. relations[edit]

The United States established diplomatic relations with Romania in 1880, following Romania's independence.[18] The two countries severed diplomatic ties after Romania declared war on the United States in 1941; and re-established them in 1947. Relations remained strained during the Cold War era while Romania was under communist leadership. Cold and strained during the early post-war period, U.S. bilateral relations with Romania began to improve in the early 1960s with the signing of an agreement providing for partial settlement of American property claims. Cultural, scientific, and educational exchanges were initiated, and in 1964 the legations of both nations were promoted to full embassies.[19] In March 2005, President Traian Băsescu made his first official visit to Washington to meet with President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and other senior U.S. officials. In December 2005, Secretary Rice visited Bucharest to meet with President Băsescu and to sign a bilateral defense cooperation agreement that would allow for the joint use of Romanian military facilities by U.S. troops. The first proof of principle exercise took place at Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base from August to October 2007.

Romanian American culture[edit]

Romanian culture has merged with American culture, characterized by Romanian-born Americans adopting American culture or American-born people having strong Romanian heritage.

The Romanian culture can be seen in many different kinds, like Romanian music, newspapers, churches, cultural organizations and groups, such as the Romanian-American Congress or the Round Table Society NFP. Religion, predominantly within the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Romanian Greek Catholic Church, is an important trace of the Romanian presence in the United States, with churches in almost all bigger cities throughout the country.[20]

In certain areas of the U.S., Romanian communities were first established several generations ago (in the late 19th century and early 20th century) such as in the Great Lakes region;[21] while in others, such as California and Florida, Romanian communities are formed especially by Romanians who emigrated more recently, into the late 20th century and early 21st century. After 1989, large numbers of Romanians emigrated to New York and Los Angeles.[14]

One of the best known foods of Romanian origin is Pastrama.

Romanian-American Chamber Commerce[edit]

The Romanian-American Chamber of Commerce is a bilateral trade and investment organization that promotes commerce and investment between Romania and United States, and is headquartered in Washington D.C. The Chamber is composed of both Romanian and American businesses and has active chapters in New York, Washington, D.C., Florida, California and the Mid-West. It was founded in February 1990 and is celebrating its 20th year of activity in 2010. The RACC conducts a broad range of events, activities, and services and is a member organization of the Bi-National European Chambers of Commerce of the United States, which includes most of the bilateral chambers of the major EU member states.


Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "2019 ACS 1-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. U. S. Census Bureau.
  2. ^ In 2015, according to U.S. census data, out of 166,128 ethnic Romanians born outside the United States, 131,323 were born in Romania, 20,128 in the Republic of Moldova and 1,438 in Ukraine.See https://data.census.gov/table?q=Romanians&tid=ACSDT5YSPT2015.B05006.
  3. ^ a b "Romanian-American Community". Romanian-American Network Inc. Retrieved September 15, 2008.
  4. ^ "Supplemental Table 2. Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Leading Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) of Residence and Region and Country of Birth: Fiscal Year 2014". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  5. ^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2013 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  6. ^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2012 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Archived from the original on December 22, 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Wertsman, Vladimir F. (July 22, 2010). Salute to the Romanian Jews in America and Canada, 1850–2010: History, Achievements, and Biographies. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 9781453512807. Retrieved January 24, 2019 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ a b Melvin H. Buxbaum (1988). Benjamin Franklin, 1907–1983: A Reference Guide. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co. pp. 446–715.
  9. ^ a b Wertsman, Vladimir (1975). The Romanians in America, 1748–1974. New York: Oceana Publications
  10. ^ "Romanian Americans history". everyculture.com. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  11. ^ "target audience - Demographic Information". Romedia.us. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
  12. ^ Skutsch, Carl (2004). Encyclopedia of the World's Minorities. London: Routledge. p. 576.
  13. ^ Halevy, Mayer A. (1933), Contribuţiuni la istoria Evreilor in România, București.
  14. ^ a b "Romanian immigration". Immigration to America. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  15. ^ The New Pioneer Volumes 3-6. Cleveland, Ohio. 1945. pp. 28–49. OCLC 1759939.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  16. ^ "Romanian-American Community". Embassy of Romania in Washington DC. Archived from the original on January 18, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  17. ^ "PLACE OF BIRTH FOR THE FOREIGN-BORN POPULATION IN THE UNITED STATES". data.census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 16, 2021. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  18. ^ Rus, Flaviu Vasile., ed. (2018). The cultural and diplomatic relations between Romania and the United States of America. 1880-1920. Cluj-Napoca: MEGA Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 978-606-543-970-2.
  19. ^ "Background Note: Romania". US State Department. October 2007. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  20. ^ Gerald J Bobango (1979). The Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America: The First Half Century 1929-1979. Romanian-American Heritage Center. OCLC 895468597.
  21. ^ McGinnis, p. 222.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hațegan, Vasile. Romanian Culture in America. Cleveland, Ohio: Cleveland Cultural Center, 1985.
  • Raica, Eugene S. and Alexandru T. Nemoianu. History of the "United Romanian Society". Southfield, Michigan: The Society, 1995.
  • Rus, Flaviu Vasile. The cultural and diplomatic relations between Romania and the United States of America. 1880-1920, Cluj-Napoca, Editura Mega, 2018.
  • Wertsman, Vladimir. The Romanians in America, 1748–1974: A Chronology and Factbook. Dobbs Ferry, New York: Oceana Publications, 1975.
  • Wertsman, Vladimir. The Romanians in America and Canada: A Guide to Information Sources (Gale Research Company, 1980).
  • Alexandru T. Nemoianu. Tărâmuri: între Banat și America. Cluj-Napoca: Editura Limes, 2003. (in Romanian)
  • Sasu, Aurel. Comunitățile românești din Statele Unite și Canada. Cluj-Napoca: Editura Limes, 2003. (in Romanian)

External links[edit]