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Slovene American
Ameriški Slovenci
Melania Trump 2006-09-27.jpgAmy Klobuchar.jpgTom Harkin official portrait.jpgGeorge Voinovich, official photo portrait, 2006.jpgSunita Williams.jpg
Micky Dolenz by David Shankbone.jpgJerry Linenger.jpgMike Golic sunglasses.jpgAnze Kopitar.jpg
Notable Slovene Americans:
'Melania Trump'
'Željko Ivanek'
'Amy Klobuchar'
'Tom Harkin'
'George Vojnović'
'Sunita Williams'

'Micky Dolenz'
'Jerry M. Linenger'
'Mike Golic'
'Anže Kopitar'

Total population
176,691 Americans

0.1% of the US population (2004)

Regions with significant populations
Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, California, Minnesota

English language, Slovene


Roman Catholic

Slovene Americans or Slovenian Americans (Slovene: ameriški Slovenci, literally "American Slovenes") are citizens of the United States of Slovene descent.



The first Slovenes in the United States were missionary priests[1]. Two of the earliest such missionaries were Fr. Anton Kappus and Fr. Frederick Baraga (Gobetz, 2009). In the 1730s some Slovenes settled in small farming communities in Georgia[1]. There were a few Slovene soldiers who fought in the American Revolution[2]. Slovene priests built some of the first churches and schools in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and neighboring parts of Canada[3]. Many of these early immigrants were bilingual Slovene-German speakers (Shipman, 1912). Until the 1880s there was a small number of Slovene immigrants to the United States. The largest numbers of Slovenes immigrated to America between 1880 and World War I. Most of these came between 1905 and 1913, although the exact number is impossible to determine because Slovenes were often classified as Austrians, Croats, or under other, broader labels, such as Slavonic or Slavic[4]. These later arrivals migrated to the industrial cities or to mining towns in the Upper Midwest and American West. Two later periods of increased immigration to the United States were the years immediately after World War I (1919-1923) and World War II (1949-1956) (Susel, 1980). Most Slovene immigrants to the United States were of the Catholic faith; however, a minority practiced the Lutheran faith (Susel, 1980).




According to the 2000 census, the five states with the largest Slovene populations were:

  • Ohio – 58,402
  • Pennsylvania – 19,006
  • Illinois – 15,519
  • Minnesota – 10,420
  • California – 9,489

These five states are followed, in descending order, by Colorado, Michigan, Florida, New York, Texas, Indiana, Washington, Kansas, and Maryland. The state with the smallest Slovene American population is North Dakota (107). There is no American state without Slovene descendants among its population.


The 1910 census reported 183,431 persons of Slovene mother tongue, 123,631 "foreign-born" and 59,800 born in America. These numbers are clearly an underestimate of the actual Slovene population since descendants of earlier settlers often no longer knew Slovene. In the 2000 US Census, 176,691 Americans declared that they were of Slovene origin (of those, 738 have attained the Ph.D.). The number of reported Americans of Slovene descent undoubtedly is an underestimate. Some Slovenes coming from the Austro-Hungarian Empire avoided anti-Slavic prejudice by identifying themselves as Austrians[5]. Many others were recorded as Slav, Slavic, Slavish, or Slavonian (see above). The true number of Americans of Slovene descent is probably between 200,000 and 300,000[6]; if persons with only one-quarter or one-eighth Slovene ancestry are counted, the number could be as high as 500,000.[7]

Notable individuals

See List of Slovenian Americans

Fraternal organizations

A number of fraternal organizations were founded by Slovene immigrants to the United States[8][9]. These organizations allowed members to preserve old traditions as well as to provide insurance against illness and death[10]. This was especially important because other insurance companies at the time discriminated against immigrants or in some cases defrauded them [11]. A number of mergers and name changes took place during the 20th Century[12], so the history of Slovene fraternalism in the United States is difficult to trace. The major extant Slovene fraternals in the United States are:

  • Jugoslovenska katoliška jednota (South Slavic Catholic Union), founded 1898, became American Fraternal Union (AFU) in 1941.
  • Slovenska dobrodelna zveza (Slovenian Mutual Benefit Association), founded 1910, became American Mutual Life Association (AMLA) in 1966.
  • Kranjsko-slovenska katoliška jednota, founded in 1894, became Ameriško-slovenska katoliška jednota or American Slovenian Catholic Union (KSKJ).
  • Napredne Slovenke Amerike (Progressive Slovene Women of America) (PSWA), founded in 1934.
  • Slovenska ženska zveza Amerike, founded in 1926, became Slovenian Women's Union of America (SWUA).
  • Slovenska narodna podporna jednota, founded in 1904, became Slovene National Benefit Society (SNPJ).
  • Zahodna slovanska veza, founded in 1908, became Western Slavonic Association (WSA).

For a longer discussion of the history of Slovene fraternalism in the United States, see the following article: Fraternal Benefit Societies and Slovene Immigrants in the USA.

The Slovenian Genealogy Society, International [13] helps members to trace their Slovene roots.

See also


  1. ^ Slovenian Americans
  • Gobetz, E. 2009. Selected Slovenian Trailblazers in America. Slovenian American Times. Vol. 1. Issue 5, Page 12. 23 March 2009.
  • Shipman, A. 1912. The Slavs in America. In: The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • Susel, R.M. 1980. Slovenes. Pp. 939-942 in: Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups.

External links


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