Croatian Diaspora in the USA is one of the largest in the world. It has been estimated that around 1.200.000 Croats and their descendants live in the USA. Largest numbers of Croats live in Chicago, St. Louise, Detroit, San Pedro, San Jose, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. USA is considered to be a traditional immigration country for Croats.
Croatian immigration in the USA started at the beginning of the 19th century as the part of the New World immigration wave. Probably, the colony in Georgia was one of the first massive immigration destinations for Croats.
Modern colonization and massive immigration of the Croats started at the end of the 19th century. Most Croats who decided to immigrate came from Dalmatia and the seaside area in general. Therefore, warm Californian climate was an ideal destination as it reminded Croats of their homeland.
Most immigrants worked in coal mines, railways and road infrastructure. Between the two World Wars more than 150.000 people emigrated from Croatia to USA.
Status of Croats in USA
Immigration, work permit, temporary and permanent residency as well as citizenship affairs are regulated by immigration acts. In order to apply for citizenship one has to live 5 years in USA. USA acknowledges dual citizenship.
Croatian associations and Catholic missions
There are many Croatian institutions and associations in the United States, as well as many heritage and sport societies. First charity societies were founded in 1857 in San Francisco and New Orleans. Croatian immigrants built many clubs and churches in USA and established numerous music and dance folklore groups.
After the Second World War Croatian tradition is strongly carried by the Croatian Fraternal Community and Croatian Catholic community.
Most important Croatian institutions in the USA are:
• National Federation of Croatian Americans, NFCA - krovna organizacija američkih
• Croatian Fraternal Union, CFU – Hrvatska bratska zajednica, HBZ
• Croatian American Congress, CAC – dio Hrvatskog svjetskog kongresa
• Hrvatsko-američki Klub
• Dalmatinsko-američki Klub
• Prijatelji hrvatskog kulturnog centra
There are two foundations which support and finance young students as well as 19 catholic communities across United States.
Folklore group “Sveti Ante tamburica i kolo Klub Croatia”, together with Croatian radio program gathers young Croats. Children school holds Croatian language classes throughout the whole year.
In 2005, Congressional Croatian Caucus was officially established in Parliament House of USA. All representatives have to be either Croatian origin or they must represent wide Croatian community and have a good insight in Croatian issues in USA.
Croatian classes and Lectorate for Croatian language
Croatian classes are mostly organized by Croatian communities and catholic parishes in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Cleveland.
Lectorates under the authority of Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport:
• Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
• University of Iowa, Iowa City
Lectorats which are not under the authority of Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport:
• University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
• University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, Michigan
• University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
Publishing and Media
Croatian Fraternal Society established in 1984 in Pittsburg publishes paper „Zajedničar“as well as:
• AC Review
• Bulletin of the Association for Croatian Studies
• Croatian Chronicle / Hrvatska kronika
• Journal of Croatian Studies
• Hrvatski kalendar / Croatian Almanac
• Hrvatski korijen
Radio „Glas slobodne Hrvatske“broadcasts in the area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.