Russian American

Russian American

Infobox Ethnic group
group = Russian American

caption = Notable Russian Americans: Vladimir ZworykinSergei RachmaninoffIgor StravinskyIgor Sikorsky
Ivan TurchaninovVladimir YourkevitchNikolai RezanovAlexander Procofieff de Seversky
|poptime = 3,105,965 self-reportedcite web |url=|b=46|l=en|t=306|zf=0.0|ms=sel_06acs|dw=1.9557697048764706E7|dh=1.4455689123E7||if=gif|cx=-1159354.4783500005|cy=7122022.5|zl=10|pz=10|bo=1999:2031:2005:2004:2002|bl=2001:2000:2032:2006:2003|ft=2087:2065:2053:2085:2073:2081:2059|fl=2088:2066:2054:2086:2074:2082:2060|g=01000US
title=Selected Social Characteristics in the United States: 2006|publisher=U.S. Census American Community Survey |year=2006|accessdate=2008-05-09
] 1% of the U.S. population 877,100 Russian-borncite web |url=
title=2006 ACS Study|publisher=Integrated Public Use Microdata Series|year=2006|accessdate=2006-05-09
] 0.3% of the U.S. population
popplace = Alaska, California, Florida (South Florida), Northeastern United States (New York: New York City, New Jersey: Northern New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts), Illinois: Chicagoland), The Dakotas (North Dakota and South Dakota), Midwest: (Ohio and Wisconsin), Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington)
langs = American English, Russian
rels = Eastern Orthodox, Atheism, Judaism, Islam
related = Jewish American, Ukrainian American, Belarusian American

Russian Americans are Americans whose ancestors were born in Russia. Non-ethnic Russians in this group could be Jews, Ukrainians, Armenians, or any other ethnicity who were born and grew up in Russia and speak Russian.


The Russian American population is reported to be around 3 million., but less than a third of them were born in Russia. Many Russian Americans do not speak Russian, having been born in the USA and brought up in English-speaking homes. According to the year 2000 U.S. Census, only 706,242 Americans use Russian as the primary spoken language in their homes. [cite web|url=|publisher=U.S. Census|title=Language Use and English-Speaking Ability 2000|year=2000|accessdate=2008-05-09]

Harward researchers stated that only 750,000 Russian Americans were ethnic Russians in 1990. [cite web|url=|title=Immigration: Russia. Curriculum for Grade 6-12 Teachers|publisher=Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University|accessdate=2008-05-09] .

Sometimes Carpatho-Rusyns and Ukrainians who emigrated from Galicia in the 19th century and the beginning of 20th century are confused with Russian Americans.Fact|date=May 2008 More recent emigres would often refer to this group as the 'starozhili', which translates to mean "old residents". This group became the pillar of the Russian Orthodox Church in America. Today, most of this group has become assimilated into the local society, with ethnic traditions continuing to survive primarily around the church.


Russian Alaska

The territory that today is the United States state of Alaska was settled by the Russians and controlled by the Russian Empire between 1733 and 1867. Russian explorers and settlers continued to establish trading posts in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California. The southermost such post was Fort Ross, established in 1812 by Ivan Kuskov of the Russian-American Company some 50 miles north of San Francisco, as an agricultural supply base for the Alaska colony.Russian Alaska was not a profitable colony, due to high transportation costs and declining animal population. After it was purchased by the United States, the majority of the Russian setters went back to Russia, but many resettled in southern Alaska, California and parts of Oregon.

First wave

The first massive wave of immigration from all areas of Europe to the United States took place in late 19th century, following the 1862 enactment of the Homestead Act. Although some immigration took place earlier -- the most notable example being Ivan Turchaninov, who immigrated in 1856 and became a Union army brigadier general -- millions traveled to the new world in the last decade of the 19th century, some for political reasons, some for economical and some for a combination of both. Between 1820 and 1870 only 7,550 Russians immigrated to the USA, but starting with 1881, immigration rate exceeded 10,000 a year: 593,700 in 1891-1900, 1,6 million in 1901-1910, 868,000 in 1911-1914, and 43,000 in icon cite journal
last=Nitoburg|first=E.|year=1999|title=Русские религиозные сектанты и староверы в США|journal=Новая и новейшая история|issue=3|pages=34-51|url=|language=Russian|accessdate=2008-05-08
] The most prominent Russian groups that immigrated in this period were the groups seeking freedom from religious prosecution: the Russian Jews, escaping the 1881-1882 pogroms by Alexander III, moved to New York and other coastal cities, the Molokans, treated as heretics at home, settled in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas [ [ Chapter 1 - The Migration] in Molokans in America by John K. Berokoff, 1969] , two large groups of Shtundists moved to Virginia and the Dakotas, and, finally in 1908-1910, the Old Believers, prosecuted as schismatics, arrived and settled in small groups in California, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and New York.

econd wave

A large wave of Russians immigrated in the short time period of 1917-1922, in the wake of October Revolution and Russian Civil War. This group is known collectively as the White emigres. United States of America was the second largest destination for those immigrants, after France.Fact|date=May 2008 This wave is often referred to as the first wave, when discussing Soviet era immigration. The head of the Russian Provisional Government, Alexander Kerensky, was one of those immigrants.

Since the immigrants were of the higher classes of the Russian Empire, they contributed a lot to American science and culture. Inventors Vladimir Zworykin, often referred to as "father of television", Alexander M. Poniatoff, the founder of Ampex, and Alexander Lodygin, arrived with this wave. The American army benefited greatly with the arrival of such inventors as Igor Sikorsky (who invented the Helicopter and Aerosan), Vladimir Yourkevitch, and Alexander Procofieff de Seversky. Sergei Rachmaninoff and Igor Stravinsky are by many considered to be the greatest composers ever to live in the United States of America. Vladimir Nabokov, considered a novelist of the highest level, helped American literature to gain a higher status.

oviet era

During the Soviet era there were some Soviet dissidents who immigrated to the United States of America because of political reasons, from Ayn Rand in 1926 to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in 1974. On the other hand, there were many Communist immigrants who fled in fear of prosecution by their opponents within the Party, including even Svetlana Alliluyeva, daughter of Soviet premier Joseph Stalin.

In the second half of the 1980s, when the collapse of the Soviet Union began, many immigrated to the United States because they belived it could work out for them better there. An notable example of this group are the Russian Five - five ice hockey players coming from an hockey empire, the Soviet Union, who left to the United States in the end of the 80's and in the 90's led the Detroit Red Wings.

One of the most well known Russian immigrants of this era is Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

In music a band whose members were Russians who immigrated to the United States at that wave was Gorky Park, who reached success.

post-Soviet era

With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the subsequent transition to free market economy by means of shock programs came hyperinflation and a series of political and economic crises of the 1990s, culminating in the financial crash of 1998. By mid-1993 between 39% and 49% of Russians were living in poverty, a sharp increase compared to 1.5% of late Soviet era [Branko Milanovic, "Income, Inequality, and Poverty During the Transformation from Planned to Market Economy" (Washington DC: The World Bank, 1998), pp.186–90.] . This instability and bleak outcome prompted a large new wave of both political and economic emigration from Russia, and one of the major targets became the United States, which was experiencing unprecedented stock market boom in 1995-2001.

The major group of post-Soviet immigrants were the political refugees, persons who claim persecution or reasonable fear of persecution in Russia. 50,716 citizens of ex-USSR were granted political refugee status by the United States in 1990, 38,661 in 1991, 61,298 in 1992, 48,627 in 1993, 43,470 in 1994, 35,716 in 1995 [cite web|title=Fiscal Year 1999 Statistical Yearbook|url=|publisher=Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics|accessdate=2008-05-13] with the trend steadily dropping to as low as 1,394 refugees accepted in 2003 [cite web|url=|publisher=Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics|title=Refugees and Asylees: 2005|accessdate=2008-05-13] . For the first time in history, Russians became a notable part of illegal immigration to the United States, the most common example being mail-order brides -- Russian women would advertise themselves in international marriage agency with the express purpose to marry american citizens. Nearly half of all mail-order brides to come to the United States in 1996 originated from Russia and Ukraine [cite web|url=|title=The "Mail-Order Bride" Industry and its Impact on U.S. Immigration|accessdate=2008-05-13|publisher=U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] Together with illegal immigration, the influence of the Russian Mafia became prominent in the United States.

A notable part of the 1991-2001 immigration wave consisted of scientists and engineers, who left to pursue their careers abroad, faced with extremely poor job market at home [ Brain Drain: history and present] ] coupled with the government unwilling to index fixed salaries according to inflation or even to make salary payments on time. This coincided with the surge of hi-tech industry in the United States, creating a strong Brain Drain effect. According to the National Science Foundation, there were 20,000 Russian scientists working in the United States in 2003 [ru icon cite journal|url=|title="Утечка мозгов" - болезнь не только российская|journal=Экология и жизнь|year=2003|accessdate=2008-05-09] , and the Russian software engineers were responsible for 30% of Microsoft products in 2002.

Soviet Union was a sports empire, and many prominent Russians sportsmen found great acclaim and rewards for their skills in the United States. Examples are Maria Sharapova, Alexander Ovechkin, Semen Varlamov, Alexandre Volchkov, and Andrei Kirilenko.

Russian American communities

thumb|right|275px|Distribution of Russian Americans according to the 2000 census.

US communities with high percentages of people of Russian ancestry

The top US communities with the highest percentage of people claiming Russian ancestry are: [cite web |url= |title=Ancestry Map of Russian Communities | |accessdate=2008-08-07]

# Pikesville, Maryland 19.30%
# Roslyn Estates, New York 18.60%
# Hewlett Harbor, New York 18.40%
# East Hills, New York 18.00%
# Wishek, North Dakota 17.40%
# Eureka, South Dakota 17.30%
# Beachwood, Ohio 16.80%
# Penn Wynne, Pennsylvania 16.70%
# Kensington, New York and Mayfield, Pennsylvania 16.20%
# Napoleon, North Dakota 15.80%
# Lake Success, New York 15.60%
# Woodbury, New York 15.50%
# Jericho, New York 15.30%
# Highland Park, Illinois 15.20%
# Great Neck Estates, New York 14.80%
# Great Neck Plaza, New York and Roslyn Harbor, New York 14.60%
# Lido Beach, New York 14.50%
# Woodmere, New York and Russell Gardens, New York 14.30%
# Garrison, Maryland and Goldens Bridge, New York 14.00%
# Thomaston, New York 13.80%
# Linton, North Dakota and Glen Ullin, North Dakota 13.60%
# Buffalo Grove, Illinois 13.50%
# Sharon, Massachusetts 13.20%
# Lower Moreland Township, Pennsylvania 12.80%
# Aventura, Florida 12.40%
# Moraine Township, Illinois 12.20%
# West Hollywood, California 12.10%
# Viola, New York 12.00%
# Morganville, New Jersey 11.80%
# North Hills, New York and Deerfield, Illinois 11.70%
# Riverwoods, Illinois 11.50%
# Bal Harbour, Florida 11.40%
# Chappaqua, New York 11.30%
# Hidden Hills, California 11.10%
# Wesley Hills, New York 11.00%
# Highland Beach, Florida and Atlantic Beach, New York 10.90%
# Bayside, Wisconsin and Brookville, New York 10.80%
# Sands Point, New York and both the village and town of Scarsdale, New York 10.70%
# Huntington Woods, Michigan 10.50%
# Glencoe, Illinois, Northbrook, Illinois and Vernon Township, Illinois 10.40%
# Pomona, New York, Lower Merion, Pennsylvania and Palm Beach, Florida 10.30%
# Plainview, New York 10.20%
# Fair Lawn, New Jersey, Port Washington North, New York and Mandan, North Dakota 10.10%
# Millburn, New Jersey 10.00%

U.S. communities with the most residents born in Russia

Top 101 U.S. communities with the most residents born in Russia are: [cite web |url= |title=Top 101 cities with the most residents born in Russia (population 500+) | |accessdate=2008-08-07]
# Peaceful Valley, WA 12.2%
# Sharon Springs, NY 6.0%
# West Buechel, KY 5.7%
# Big Delta, AK 5.6%
# West Hollywood, CA 5.3%
# Schaefferstown, PA 5.2%
# Deltana, AK 5.1%
# [ East Whatcom, WA] (Whatcom County, WA) 4.9%
# Fair Lawn, NJ 4.7%
# Belleville, PA 4.5%
# Sunnyside, OR 4.3%
# West Sacramento, CA 4.3%
# [ East Yolo, CA] (Yolo County, CA) 4.3%
# Pikesville, MD 4.2%
# Mill Plain, WA 4.1%
# Sunny Isles Beach, FL 3.9%
# Minnehaha, WA 3.7%
# Delta Junction, AK 3.7%
# Black Point-Green Point, CA 3.6%
# Postville, IA 3.3%
# Harbor Hills, NY 3.0%
# Sharon, MA 2.9%
# Mayfield Heights, OH 2.8%
# Kingston, NJ 2.8%
# Buffalo Grove, IL 2.7%
# Reisterstown, MD 2.6%
# Skokie, IL 2.6%
# Yacolt, WA 2.5%
# Fort Lee, NJ 2.5%
# Keystone, CO 2.5%
# Marietta-Alderwood, WA 2.4%
# Village Shires, PA 2.4%
# Century Village, FL 2.4%
# Brownville, NJ 2.4%
# Garrison, MD 2.4%
# Brookline, MA 2.3%
# Orting, WA 2.3%
# Woodmere, OH 2.3%
# Dayton, VA 2.3%
# Churchville, PA 2.2%
# Sagaponack, NY 2.2%
# Swampscott, MA 2.2%
# Poquott, NY 2.2%
# Richmond Heights, OH 2.2%
# Soap Lake, WA 2.1%
# Palm Beach Shores, FL 2.1%
# Sea Cliff, NY 2.1%
# Brooklyn, NY 2.1%
# Waverly, NE 2.1%
# Northwest Ithaca, NY 2.1%
# Feasterville-Trevose, PA 2.0%
# Marine on St. Croix, MN 2.0%
# Ojus, FL 2.0%
# Warren, NY 2.0%
# River Edge, NJ 2.0%
# Napavine, WA 1.9%
# Woodburn, OR 1.9%
# Olivette, MO 1.9%
# Fox River, AK 1.8%
# Shorewood, WI 1.8%
# South Euclid, OH 1.8%
# Lincolnwood, IL 1.8%
# Beachwood, OH 1.8%
# Lyndhurst, OH 1.8%
# Homestead, PA 1.8%
# Bancroft, KY 1.7%
# Steele, ND 1.7%
# Blaine, WA 1.7%
# Newton, MA 1.7%
# Boxford, MA 1.7%
# Bayside, WI 1.7%
# Glendale, CO 1.7%
# Lido Beach, NY 1.7%
# Cascade Valley, WA 1.7%
# North Highlands, CA 1.7%
# Schuyler, NY 1.6%
# Sharon, NY 1.6%
# Orchards, WA 1.6%
# Ashland, MA 1.6%
# Springfield, NJ 1.6%
# Northbrook, IL 1.6%
# Wheeling, IL 1.6%
# Millers Falls, MA 1.6%
# Waldon, CA 1.6%
# Princeton North, NJ 1.5%
# Golden Beach, FL 1.5%
# Washougal, WA 1.5%
# Miller, SD 1.5%
# Blawnox, PA 1.5%
# Niles, IL 1.5%
# Strasburg, CO 1.5%
# Morganville, NJ 1.5%
# Princeton Junction, NJ 1.5%
# Terre Hill, PA 1.5%
# Due West, SC 1.4%
# Lake Dalecarlia, IN 1.4%
# Kings Point, FL 1.4%
# Great Neck Estates, NY 1.4%
# Brush Prairie, WA 1.4%
# Mountain View, CA 1.4%
# Beverly Hills, CA 1.4%

Apart from such settlements as Brighton Beach, concentrations of Russian Americans occur in Anchorage, Alaska; Baltimore, Maryland; Boston, Massachusetts; Bronx, New York; Brooklyn, New York; Queens, New York; Cleveland, Ohio; Western Connecticut; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; Orlando, Florida; Los Angeles, California; Northern New Jersey; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; Sacramento, California; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; South Florida and Staten Island, New York. In 2002, the AmBAR was founded, to help the Russophone community of Palo Alto, CA.

ee also

*AmBAR - American Business Association of Russian Professionals
*Diaspora studies
*European American
*Hyphenated American
*Kalmyk American
*List of Russian Americans
*Russian colonization of the Americas and Fort Ross
*Russian American Medical Association


External links

* [ Congress of Russian Americans]
* ru icon [ Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia]


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