California tops in Latvian population, latest U.S. census estimates reveal

California is home to the greatest number of people in the United States who claim Latvian ancestry, with New York a close second, according to new population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In all, an estimated 91,096 people claim some Latvian ancestry in the American Community Survey, which is sent annually to a random sample of households. The figure has a margin of error of 2,282, meaning the range of people with Latvian ancestry could be between 88,814 and 93,378.

Updated data from the past five years of the ACS were released Dec. 8. More than 2 million households each year were sampled from 2006 through 2010, according to a press release from the Census Bureau.

An estimated 11,443 people with Latvian ancestry live in California, according to the data, followed by New York with 9,194. The data include both the first and second ancestry reported.

The top 10 states in terms of Latvian population also include Illinois with an estimated 6,982 persons; Florida with 4,921; Massachusetts with 4,706; Michigan with 4,265; New Jersey with 3,946; Pennsylvania with 3,754; Washington with 3,380; and Maryland with 3,289.

The greatest concentration of Latvians continues to be in the Northeast and Upper Midwest of the country, as it has for decades.

Here is a breakdown of the estimated Latvian ethnic population by state, according to the American Community Survey:

State Total Margin of error
Alabama 317 +/-142
Alaska 252 +/-107
Arizona 1588 +/-361
Arkansas 187 +/-112
California 11443 +/-893
Colorado 2142 +/-378
Connecticut 1876 +/-375
Delaware 180 +/-96
District of Columbia 297 +/-95
Florida 4921 +/-539
Georgia 1603 +/-390
Hawaii 338 +/-158
Idaho 376 +/-181
Illinois 6982 +/-720
Indiana 1490 +/-495
Iowa 942 +/-283
Kansas 327 +/-128
Kentucky 530 +/-209
Louisiana 265 +/-119
Maine 495 +/-253
Maryland 3289 +/-550
Massachusetts 4706 +/-531
Michigan 4265 +/-519
Minnesota 3010 +/-535
Mississippi 196 +/-103
Missouri 792 +/-226
Montana 337 +/-170
Nebraska 479 +/-149
Nevada 820 +/-244
New Hampshire 521 +/-188
New Jersey 3946 +/-563
New Mexico 411 +/-134
New York 9194 +/-919
North Carolina 1364 +/-242
North Dakota 102 +/-69
Ohio 2580 +/-330
Oklahoma 304 +/-125
Oregon 1701 +/-352
Pennsylvania 3754 +/-416
Rhode Island 127 +/-67
South Carolina 625 +/-160
South Dakota 147 +/-69
Tennessee 666 +/-218
Texas 2300 +/-361
Utah 300 +/-210
Vermont 357 +/-121
Virginia 1911 +/-383
Washington 3380 +/-521
West Virginia 96 +/-59
Wisconsin 2810 +/-468
Wyoming 55 +/-42
Puerto Rico 6 +/-9

When grouped by metropolitan areas in the United States, the region that includes New York City, Long Island and northern New Jersey accounts for the largest concentration of persons with Latvian ancestry, according to the data. A total of 9,098 Latvians were estimated to live there.

The Chicago metropolitan area is second with an estimated 6,560 Latvians, followed by the Los Angeles region with 4,176. The remaining metropolitan areas in the top 10 include Boston with 3,971; Philadelphia with 2,904; Washington, D.C., with 2,684; Minneapolis-St. Paul with 2,643; Seattle with 2,421; San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., with 2,201; and Miami and Fort Lauderdale with 1,846.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

6 thoughts on “California tops in Latvian population, latest U.S. census estimates reveal

  1. Vai doma kad vaidzet ielikt numurus no Kanadas? Mes ari dzivojam zeme kas nava tevu zeme!!! Mums ari ira berni kas ir dejosanas grupas un iet uz Latviesu skolu un brauc uz Latviju dejot dziesmas svetkos! Just a thought. Paldies Andri

  2. Here is the story we did on the most recent Canadian census results: Latvian ancestry rises in Canada, but purity drops. First results from the 2011 census will be released in February, according to Statistics Canada. As for the United States and Latvian language use, the American Community Survey’s three-year estimate for 2006-2008 was that 16,149 persons (with a margin of error of +/- 1,622) spoke Latvian at home.

  3. If I am not mistaken, the latest Canadian census had 28,000 people claiming Latvian ancestry. However, the Canadian census also listed those who still speak Latvian. That number was approx. 4,000, or 15% of those claiming ancestry. Does the US census list languages spoken?

  4. I`m an Estonian-American living in the southern part of Estonia and a big fan of Latvians. Since Latvia is so close, I drive to Latvia offen, mostly to Valmiera and 3-4 times a year to Riga. Lai dzivo Latvia. Visu labu, Hillar.

  5. Want to contact Latvians who were in German Displaced Person Camp near Weinheim on Strassebahn route to Heidelberg. Met Walli, beautiful sixteen year old girl while serving in Occupation with U.S. Army, writing movie script need contact with Walli, lived with mother and younger sister, with fifteen hundred women and children in D.P. camp.

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