South African Americans

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South African Americans
Total population
(2017 American Community Survey)[1]
Regions with significant populations
California, New York, Maryland, Minnesota, South Florida, Chicago, Atlanta, Arizona, Texas
American English, South African English, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Zulu, Tswana, see languages of South Africa
Roman Catholic, Reformed Churches, Jewish, Methodism, Anglicanism, minority: irreligion
Related ethnic groups

South African Americans are Americans who have full or partial ancestry from South Africa. As of 2012, there were approximately 80,000 people born in South Africa who were living in the United States (according to the OECD).[2] As of 2019, there were approximately 85,000 people born in South Africa who were living in the United States.[3]


The majority of overseas South Africans live in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, countries with similar cultural and linguistic heritage to many South Africans, as well as similar climates and latitude positioning.[4] 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. Atlanta, Georgia, has a large population of South African Jews.[5] Also, a number of South Africans live in New York City and Mid-Atlantic states such as Maryland. Most 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 and 2009, about 11,000 of them were Black South Africans.[6] In the 2000 Census, 509 South African Americans reported their ethnic origins as Zulu.[7]

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.[8] One area with many South Africans in the US is San Diego, California,[9][10] while smaller populations reside elsewhere in the Western United States, including the Pacific Northwest.

South African-born population[edit]

South African-born population in the US since 2010:[1]

Year Number
2010 77,985
2011 Increase87,699
2012 Decrease85,528
2013 Increase95,191
2014 Decrease92,218
2015 Increase94,141
2016 Increase104,889
2017 Increase111,720


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.[11]

Notable people[edit]

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. 2017 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates Archived 2020-02-14 at
  2. ^ Glanville, Elizabeth (August 23, 2012). "How many South Africans live overseas?". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  3. ^ The New Americans: A Guide to Immigration since 1965. Harvard University Press. 30 June 2009. ISBN 9780674044937.
  4. ^ Staff Writer. "Here's how many South Africans are leaving for Australia and New Zealand". Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  5. ^ Pinsky, Mark I. (1986-11-30). "Large Exile Community : South African Jews Find Safe Haven in Irvine". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  6. ^ New Streams: Black African Migration to the United States. Posted by Randy Capps, Kristen McCabe, and Michael Fix.
  7. ^ "Table 1. First, Second, and Total Responses to the Ancestry Question by Detailed Ancestry Code: 2000". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  8. ^ Everyculture: South African American. Posted by Judson Knight and Lorna Mabunda. Retrieved September 2, 2012, to 2:50pm.
  9. ^ "Born in the RSA - and big in the USA". The Mail & Guardian. 2013-04-19. Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  10. ^ Staff Writer. "The 3 most popular countries for South Africans to emigrate to – and how much a house costs". Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  11. ^ Encyclopedia Chicago.Posted by Tracy Steffes.

External links[edit]