The Slovenian community in the United States
Slovenes started massively emigrating to the USA in the 19th century and in the first decades of the 20th century. The next wave of emigrants came after 1945. The structure of the Slovenian ethnic community has changed during the past century. At the beginning of the 20th century, the majority of the national community living in the USA were Slovenes born in their home country. Nowadays, the majority of the present generation were born in the USA. The descendants of emigrants born in America represent 90% of the entire Slovenian emigrant community.
In the 1990 census, 124,437 persons declared themselves to be of Slovenian descent. Among them, 87,500 (70.3%) declared Slovenian descent as their only or primary origin (the census allowed declaring one or more origins). Slovenian national awareness has risen significantly since Slovenia gained independence in 1991; consequently, during the 2000 census, 175,099 people declared themselves to be of Slovenian descent. Three quarters of these Slovenes live in six states: Ohio (49,598), Pennsylvania (14,584), Illinois (11,743), Minnesota (6,614), Wisconsin (6,478) and California.
Unofficial estimates of the number of Slovenes in the United States and their descendants are even higher, varying from 300,000 to 600,000. Over the decades and with the arrival of new generations, the majority have blended into American society, leaving only a small number of those taking an active part in Slovenian associations and cultural and other organizations. However, larger-scale events bring together hundreds if not thousands of Slovenes.
Slovenian centers, associations, Catholic parish churches and support organizations are of key significance for preserving the national identity. The majority of organizations use English and Slovene, and also publish weekly, monthly and occasional newspapers and magazines such as: Slovenski ameriški časi – Slovenian American Time (Cleveland), Ave Maria (Lemont), Glasilo Amerikanski Slovenec - KSKJ, Glasilo Prosveta - SNPJ, Our Voice - AMLA and Zarja - The Dawn (Joliet, Slovenian Women's Union of America).
Radio programs and electronic media are becoming of increasing significance. In Cleveland alone, there are four Slovenian radio programs, and the majority of groups have their own websites. Over the last two years, the website ClevelandSlovenian.com, containing news from Cleveland and other parts of the world, and various links to other media, associations, parishes, etc., has established itself as the central Internet source of information.
Descendants of Slovenian emigrants also refresh their knowledge of the Slovenian language and culture in Slovenian schools. The Slovenian Saturday School in the Slovenian St. Vitus parish is attended by some 65 children. A similar number of children attend the Slovenian Saturday School in St. Mary's parish in Cleveland. There is a similar Slovenian school in Lemont (Chicago). Adults, they can attend the Slovenian Saturday School for adults in St. Vitus parish in Cleveland or enroll in full-time Slovenian studies at the Lectorate of Slovenian language at Cleveland State University. Classes are organized by a lecturer from Slovenia, Luka Zibelnik, PhD.
In 2008, the Slovenian Museum and Archives was established.
At the beginning of 2009, the Center for Slovenian Studies was established at Cleveland State University with the purpose of encouraging cooperation between Slovenian and American universities, exchanges of professors, lecturers and students, and to promote Slovenian science and culture at American universities.