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Greek Americans ( , Ellinoamerikani) are American marker of Greekmarker descent. According to the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau estimation, there were 1,380,088 people of Greek ancestry in the United States, while the State Departmentmarker mentions that around 3,000,000 Americans claim Greek descent. In addition, the 2000 census revealed that Greek was spoken at home by 365,436 people older than five. Greek Americans have a heavy concentration in Chicagomarker, Detroitmarker, Bostonmarker, Baltimoremarker, Clevelandmarker, Houstonmarker and New York Citymarker. Tarpon Springs, Floridamarker is also home to a large Greek American community. The United States is home to the largest overseas Greek community, ahead of Cyprusmarker and the United Kingdommarker, which despite having a Greek population of less than 1 million has a larger percentage of Greeks than the U.S.


The first Greek known to have arrived on U.S. soil was a man named Don Theodoro, who landed on Floridamarker with the Narváez expedition in 1528. He died during the expedition, as did most of his companions.

In 1592, Greek captain Juan de Fuca (Ioannis Fokas or Apostolos Valerianos) sailed up the Pacific coast under the Spanish flag, in search of the fabled Northwest Passage between the Pacific Oceanmarker and the Atlantic Oceanmarker. He reported discovering a body of water, a strait which today bears his name. The Strait of Juan de Fucamarker forms part of the International Boundary between the United Statesmarker and Canadamarker.

In 1768, about 500 Greeks from Smyrnamarker, Cretemarker and Mani settled in New Smyrna Beach, Floridamarker. The colony was unsuccessful, and the settlers moved to St. Augustine, Floridamarker in 1776, where their traces were lost to history.

The first significant Greek community to develop was in New Orleans, Louisianamarker during the 1850s. By 1866, the community was numerous and prosperous enough to have a Greek consulate and the first Greek Orthodox Church in the United States. During that period, most Greek immigrants to the New World came from Asia Minormarker 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, due largely to economic opportunity in the U.S., displacement caused by the hardships of Ottoman rule, the Balkan Wars and World War I. 450,000 Greeks arrived to the States between 1890 and 1917, most working in the cities of the Northeast; others labored on railroad construction and in mines of the Western United States; another 70,000 arrived between 1918 and 1924.

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. Two factors changed attitudes and facilitated permanent immigration: 1) Loss of homeland: In 1913 at the conclusion of the Balkan Wars, the hometowns of 60,000 Greeks in America were converted to Bulgarianmarker territory, and, in 1923, the hometowns of approximately 250,000 Greeks in America were converted from Ottoman to Turkishmarker territory and, in both cases, these Greeks were de jure denaturalized from those homelands and lost the right to return and their families were made refugees. 2) The first widely implemented U.S. immigration limits against Europeans were made in 1923, 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, many of whom were "picture brides" for single Greek men.

The events of the early 1920s also provided the stimulus for the first permanent national Greek American religious and civic organizations. 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 1946 until 1982, approximately 211,000 Greeks emigrated 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 Yorkmarker region in the 1950s through the 1970s. Immigration to the United States from Greece peaked between the 1950s and 1970. 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 Eastern Orthodox Christianity. There are also a number of Americans who descend from Greecemarker's smaller Sephardic and Romaniote Jewish communities.

Greek settlements in the US

States by percentage of people of Greek ancestry

(according to the 2000 U.S. Census)
  1. New Hampshiremarker 1.24%
  2. Massachusettsmarker 1.23%
  3. New Yorkmarker 0.84%
  4. Connecticutmarker 0.81%
  5. Illinoismarker 0.77%
  6. New Jerseymarker 0.73%
  7. Rhode Islandmarker 0.62%
  8. Marylandmarker 0.59%
  9. Utahmarker 0.52%
  10. Floridamarker 0.48%

States by number of people of Greek ancestry

(according to the 2000 U.S. Census)
  1. New Yorkmarker 159,763
  2. Californiamarker 125,284
  3. Illinoismarker 95,064
  4. Massachusettsmarker 78,172
  5. Floridamarker 76,908
  6. New Jerseymarker 61,510
  7. Pennsylvaniamarker 56,911
  8. Ohiomarker 50,609
  9. Michiganmarker 44,214
  10. Texasmarker 32,319

Communities by percentage of people of Greek ancestry

The US communities with the highest percentage of people claiming Greek ancestry are:

  1. Tarpon Springs, Floridamarker 10.40%
  2. Campbell, Ohiomarker 9.30%
  3. Lincolnwood, Illinoismarker 7.60%
  4. Plandome Manor, New Yorkmarker 7.50%
  5. Englewood Cliffs, New Jerseymarker 7.20%
  6. Allenwood, New Jerseymarker 6.60%
  7. South Barrington, Illinoismarker 6.00%
  8. Palos Hills, Illinoismarker 5.40%
  9. Nahant, Massachusettsmarker 5.30%
  10. Holiday, Floridamarker, Munsey Park, New Yorkmarker and Alpine, New Jerseymarker 5.20%
  11. East Marion, New Yorkmarker 5.00%
  12. Palos Park, Illinoismarker, Upper Brookville, New Yorkmarker, Grosse Pointe Shores, Michiganmarker and Grosse Pointe Township, Michiganmarker 4.90%
  13. Harbor Isle, New Yorkmarker 4.70%
  14. Lake Dalecarlia, Indianamarker 4.50%
  15. Barnum Island, New Yorkmarker 4.40%
  16. Peabody, Massachusettsmarker 4.30%
  17. Livingston Manor, New Yorkmarker and University Gardens, New Yorkmarker 4.20%
  18. Oak Brook, Illinoismarker 4.00%
  19. Dracut, Massachusettsmarker 3.90%
  20. Oyster Bay Cove, New Yorkmarker and Harwood Heights, Illinoismarker 3.80%
  21. Yorkville, Ohiomarker, Hiller, Pennsylvaniamarker, Fort Lee, New Jerseymarker, Long Grove, Illinoismarker, Oakhurst, New Jerseymarker and Ipswich, Massachusettsmarker 3.70%
  22. Garden City South, New Yorkmarker, Plandome, New Yorkmarker, Broomall, Pennsylvaniamarker and Norwood Park, Chicago, Illinoismarker (neighborhood) 3.60%
  23. Manhasset, New Yorkmarker, Palisades Park, New Jerseymarker, Palos Township, ILmarker, Windham, New Yorkmarker, Norridge, Illinoismarker, Monte Sereno, Californiamarker and Flower Hill, New Yorkmarker 3.50%
  24. Morton Grove, Illinoismarker, Wellington, Utahmarker and Terryville, New Yorkmarker 3.40%
  25. Plandome Heights, New Yorkmarker, Watertown, Massachusettsmarker, Banks Township, PAmarker (Carbon County, PAmarker) and Harmony, Pennsylvaniamarker (Beaver County, PAmarker) 3.30%
  26. Niles Township, Illinoismarker and Niles, Illinoismarker 3.20%
  27. Groveland, Massachusettsmarker 3.10%
  28. Albertson, New Yorkmarker, Stanhope, New Jerseymarker, Caroline, New Yorkmarker, Graeagle, Californiamarker, Marple Township, Pennsylvaniamarker and Lynnfield, Massachusettsmarker 3.00%
  29. Manhasset Hills, New Yorkmarker, West Falmouth, Massachusettsmarker, Winfield, Indianamarker, Foster Township, Pennsylvania and Worth Township, Indianamarker (Boone County, INmarker) 2.90%

Communities by percentage of those born in Greece

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

  1. Horse Heaven Hills 3.8%
  2. Tarpon Springs, FL 3.2%
  3. Palos Hills, IL 3.1%
  4. Harbor Isle, NY 3.1%
  5. Campbell, OHmarker 3.1%
  6. Lincolnwood, ILmarker 2.7%
  7. Englewood Cliffs, NJmarker 2.5%
  8. Bedford Park, IL 2.3%
  9. Twin Lakes, FLmarker 2.3%
  10. Holiday, FL 2.1%
  11. Great Neck Gardens, NYmarker 2.1%
  12. Norridge, IL 2.0%
  13. Palos Park, IL 1.9%
  14. Barnum Island, NY 1.9%
  15. Munsey Park, NY 1.8%
  16. Foxfield, CO 1.7%
  17. Cedar Glen West, NJmarker 1.7%
  18. Raynham Center, MAmarker 1.6%
  19. Broomall, PA 1.6%
  20. Flower Hill, NY 1.6%
  21. Alpine, NJ 1.6%
  22. Millbourne, PAmarker 1.6%
  23. Niles, IL 1.6%
  24. Grosse Pointe Shores, MI 1.6%
  25. East Marion, NY 1.6%
  26. West Falmouth, MA 1.6%
  27. Golden Triangle, NJmarker 1.5%
  28. Palisades Park, NJ 1.5%
  29. Garden City South, NY 1.5%
  30. Harwood Heights, IL 1.5%
  31. Watertown, MA 1.5%
  32. Morton Grove, IL 1.5%
  33. East Ithaca, NYmarker 1.4%
  34. Fort Lee, NJ 1.4%
  35. Saddle Rock, NYmarker 1.4%
  36. Oakhurst, NJ 1.4%
  37. Plandome Manor, NY 1.3%
  38. White Lake, NCmarker 1.3%
  39. Old Brookville, NY 1.2%
  40. Plandome Heights, NY 1.2%
  41. South Barrington, IL 1.2%
  42. North Lakeville, MAmarker 1.2%
  43. Terryville, NY 1.2%
  44. Jefferson, WVmarker 1.2%
  45. Ridgefield, NJ 1.2%
  46. East Norwich, NYmarker 1.2%
  47. Skokie, IL 1.1%
  48. Arlington Heights, PAmarker 1.1%
  49. Pomona, NY 1.1%
  50. Spring House, PA 1.1%
  51. Hickory Hills, IL 1.1%
  52. Cliffside Park, NJ 1.1%
  53. Friendship Village, MD 1.1%
  54. Kingsville, MD 1.1%
  55. Arlington, MA 1.1%
  56. Mount Prospect, IL 1.1%
  57. Midland Park, NJmarker 1.0%
  58. Lake Dalecarlia, IN 1.0%
  59. Pinedale, WYmarker 1.0%
  60. Glenview, IL 1.0%
  61. Dunn Loring, VAmarker 1.0%
  62. West Kennebunk, MEmarker 1.0%
  63. Shokan, NYmarker 1.0%
  64. Beacon Square, FLmarker 1.0%
  65. Peabody, MA 1.0%
  66. Dedham, MA 1.0%
  67. North Key Largo, FLmarker 1.0%
  68. Hillside, NYmarker 1.0%
  69. Orland Park, IL 1.0%
  70. Eddystone, PAmarker 1.0%
  71. South Hempstead, NYmarker 1.0%
  72. Redington Beach, FLmarker 1.0%
  73. Hillsmere Shores, MDmarker 1.0%

Popular culture

Greek Nationality

See Greek nationality law for more details.

Any person who is ethnically Greek born outside of Greece may become a Greek citizen through naturalization, providing he/she can prove 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.

Major Greek American organizations

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 is the largest community organization of Greek Americans. It was founded in Atlanta, Georgiamarker in 1922 to counter the anti-Greek attacks by the Ku Klux Klan during that time period. Its current membership exceeds 18,000.
  • 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 Constantinoplemarker. The church operates the Greek Orthodox Youth of America, the largest Orthodox Christian youth group in the United States.
  • The American Hellenic Institute, a interest 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 PAIDEIA-USA Organization is an organization promoting the preservation of Hellenic education and culture in the United States.
  • The National Hellenic Student Association is a PAIDEIA-sponsored university-based organization promoting Hellenic culture on university campuses.
  • Many topika somatea 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, 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.

See also


  1. Cabeza de Vaca's La Relacion
  2. Cabeza de Vaca's La Relacion
  4. Church History
  5. The Picture Bride Era by Steve Frangos
  6. Horse Heaven, WA
  7. Arni
  8. PAIDEIA organization - USA
  9. National Hellenic Student Association

External links

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