Thursday, April 17, 2008

ukrainians in America

The first major immigration of Ukrainians to the United States probably occurred around 1870, but it is impossible to determine the exact number of immigrants because the United States did not record their nationality, only their country of origin. The initial migration occurred as a result of the abolishment of slavery in the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires. The United States represented a new world with the hope of new jobs and escape from being limited to the poor working class. As soon as a substantial Ukrainian population was established in America they went to great lengths to ensure that they had a unified and organized community.

According the United States census of 1990, there were 750,000 individuals of Ukrainian descent living in America, but many people believe that the number today is closer to one, or even two million. Originally, the Ukrainian population was largely centered around major industrial cities, but today they are spread out all over the country. One of the largest single concentrations of Ukrainians living in the United States is now in the Chicago Metropolitan area, with close to 50,000 residents consider themselves to be of Ukrainian descent.

Originally the Ukrainian population in the Chicago Metropolitan area was mainly limited to West Town. Now there are significant concentrations in Cook, DuPage, and Lake Counties. In the Chicago area there is the Ukrainian National Museum as well as the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art. Chicago is often the site of many visits from touring groups from Ukraine, and new immigrants are making their homes their every day.

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