|Regions with significant populations|
|California · New York · New Jersey · Washington · Florida · Oregon|
|American English, Estonian|
|Protestant (Lutheran), Deism|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Estonian Canadians, Finnish Americans|
Estonian Americans (Estonian: Ameerika eestlased) are Americans who are of Estonian ancestry, mainly descendants of people who left Estonia before and especially during World War II. According to the 2013 American Community Survey, there were over 27,000 Americans of full or partial Estonian descent, up from 26,762 in 1990.
as of the 2000 U.S. census
Estonians first started coming to the United States as early as in 1627 in the colony of New Sweden along the Delaware River. Significant numbers of emigration started in the late 19th century and continued until the mid-20th century. However, it is difficult to estimate the number of Estonian-Americans before 1920, since such immigrants were often characterized as Russians in the national censuses.
The beginnings of industrialization and commercial agriculture in the Russian Empire transformed Estonian farmers into migrants. The pressures of industrialization drove numerous Estonian peasants to emigrate to the United States continuing until the outbreak of World War II. In 1944, in the face of the country being re-occupied by the Red Army, 80,000 people fled from Estonia by sea to Germany and Sweden, becoming war refugees and later, expatriates.
Some thousand of them moved on from there and settled in the United States. After the war's end, these displaced persons were allowed to immigrate to the United States and to apply for citizenship. In 1948, the Displaced Persons Act from U.S. Congress stipulated that 40% of the available visas go to “Baltic” people (Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians). This act and its 1950 revision allowed 11,000 Estonians into the United States between 1948 and 1952. Some of these refugees and their descendants started returning to Estonia at the end of the 1980s.
Conductor Neeme Järvi was the music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, as well as the international Gothenburg Symphony, and Het Residentie Orkest of The Hague. His three children, conductors Paavo Järvi and Kristjan Järvi, and flautist Maarika Järvi, are prominent American musicians in their own right. Paavo Järvi is the chief conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Chemist Lauri Vaska emigrated to United States in 1949. He is distinguished for his research in organometallic chemistry, winning the prestigious Boris Pregel Award. Hillar Rootare, a materials scientist, is best known for his work in the development of mercury porosimetry, high pressure liquid chromatography, and the formulation of the Rootare-Prenzlow Equation.
Hollywood actor Johann Urb (born January 24, 1977) is an Estonian living and working in the United States.
Kerli Kõiv (born February 7, 1987), better known mononymously as Kerli, is an Estonian pop singer residing in the United States since 2005.
Psychologist, psychobiologist and neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp (born June 5, 1943) coined the term 'affective neuroscience', the name for the field that studies the neural mechanisms of emotion.
Mena Suvari (born February 13, 1979) is an American actress, fashion designer, and model.
Toomas Hendrik Ilves, born December 26, 1953 in Sweden but raised in New Jersey, was the President of Estonia.
- Aun, K. The Political Refugees: A History of Estonians in Canada (McClelland and Stewart, 1985)
- Granquist, Mark A. "Estonian Americans." in Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America, edited by Thomas Riggs, (3rd ed., vol. 2, Gale, 2014), pp. 97-106. Online
- Kulu, H. and Tammaru, T. "Ethnic return migration from the East and the West: the case of Estonia in the 1990s", Europe-Asia Studies (2000) 52#2: 349�69.
- Pennar, Jaan; Parming, Tönu; Rebane, P. Peter (1975). The Estonians in America, 1627-1975: a chronology & fact book. Oceana Publications. ISBN 9780379005196. OCLC 1288426.
- Tannberg, Kersti, and Tönu Parming. Aspects of Cultural Life: Sources for the Study of Estonians in America (New York: Estonian Learned Society in America, 1979).
- "Estonians" in Stephan Thernstrom, Ann Orlov and Oscar Handlin, eds. Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups (1980) Online
- Tammaru, Tiit, Kaja Kumer-Haukanõmm, and Kristi Anniste. "The formation and development of the Estonian diaspora." Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36.7 (2010): 1157-1174. online
- Walko, M. Ann. Rejecting the Second Generation Hypothesis: Maintaining Estonian Ethnicity in Lakewood, New Jersey (AMS Press, 1989).
- Estonian Americans at Countries and Their Cultures