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Czech Americans
Total population
1,294,789 (2019)[1]
0.39% of the US population
Regions with significant populations
Texas, Nebraska, The Dakotas, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, New York Metropolitan Area, California
American English, Czech
Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, irreligion
Related ethnic groups
Other Czechs • Moravians • Czech Jews • Texan Silesians • Slovak Americans • Sorbian Americans • Austrian Americans • Polish Americans • Kashubian Americans
Number of Czech Americans
Year Number

Czech Americans (Czech: Čechoameričané), known in the 19th and early 20th century as Bohemian Americans, are citizens of the United States whose ancestry is wholly or partly originate from the Czech lands, a term which refers to the majority of the traditional lands of the Bohemian Crown, namely Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia. These lands over time have been governed by a variety of states, including the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Austrian Empire, Czechoslovakia, and the Czech Republic also known by its short-form name, Czechia. Germans from the Czech lands who emigrated to the United States are usually identified as German Americans, or, more specifically, as Americans of German Bohemian descent.[citation needed] According to the 2000 U.S. census, there are 1,262,527 Americans of full or partial Czech descent, in addition to 441,403 persons who list their ancestry as Czechoslovak. Historical information about Czechs in America is available thanks to people such as Mila Rechcigl.


The first documented case of the entry of Czechs to the North American shores is of Joachim Gans of Prague, a Bohemian Jewish mining engineer who came to Roanoke, North Carolina in 1585 with an expedition of explorers organized by Sir Walter Raleigh (1552–1618).

Augustine Herman (1621–1686) was the first documented Czech settler. He was a surveyor and skilled draftsman, successful planter and developer of new lands, a shrewd and enterprising merchant, a bold politician and effective diplomat, fluent in several languages. After coming to New Amsterdam (present New York), he became one of the most influential people in the Dutch Province which led to his appointment to the Council of Nine to advise the New Amsterdam Governor Peter Stuyvesant. One of his greatest achievements was his celebrated map of Maryland and Virginia commissioned by Lord Baltimore on which he began working in earnest after removing to the English Province of Maryland. Lord Baltimore was so pleased with the map that he rewarded Herman with a large estate, named by Herman "Bohemia Manor", and the hereditary title Lord.

There was another Bohemian living in New Amsterdam at that time, Frederick Philipse (1626–1720), who became equally famous. He was a successful merchant who, eventually, became the wealthiest person in the entire Dutch Province. Philipse was originally from Bohemia, from an aristocratic Protestant family who had to leave their native land to save their lives, after the Thirty Years' War.

The first significant wave of Czech colonists was of the Moravian Brethren who began arriving on the American shores in the first half of the 18th century. Moravian Brethren were the followers of the teachings of the Czech religious reformer and martyr Jan Hus (1370–1415), Petr Chelčický and Bishop John Amos Comenius (1592–1670). They were true heirs of the ancient "Unitas fratrum bohemicorum" - Unity of the Brethren, who found a temporary refuge in Herrnhut (Czech: Ochranov) in Lusatia under the patronage of Count Nikolaus Zinzendorf (1700–1760). Because of the worsening political and religious situation in Saxony, the Moravian Brethren, as they began calling themselves, decided to emigrate to North America.

Chicago's Czech-born mayor Anton Cermak

This group started coming in 1735, when they first settled in Savannah, Georgia, and then in Pennsylvania, from which they spread to other states after the American Revolution, especially Ohio. The Moravians established a number of settlements, such as Bethlehem and Lititz in Pennsylvania and Salem in North Carolina. Moravians made great contributions to the growth and development of the United States. Cultural contributions of Moravian Brethren from the Czech lands were distinctly notable in the realm of music. The trumpets and horns used by the Moravians in Georgia are the first evidence of Moravian instrumental music in America.

In 1776, at the time of the Declaration of Independence, more than two thousand Moravian Brethren lived in the colonies. President Thomas Jefferson designated special lands to the missionaries to civilize the Indians and promote Christianity. The free uncultivated land in America encouraged immigration throughout the nineteenth century; most of the immigrants were farmers and settled in the Midwestern states.[6] The first major immigration of Czechs occurred in 1848 when the Czech "Forty Eighters" fled to the United States to escape the political persecution by the Austrian Habsburgs.[7] During the American Civil War, Czechs served in both the Confederate and Union army, but as with most immigrant groups, the majority fought for the Union.

Immigration resumed and reached a peak in 1907, when 13,554 Czechs entered the eastern ports. Unlike previous immigration, new immigrants were predominantly Catholic. Although some of the anticlericalism of the Czechs in Europe came to the United States, Czech Americans are, on the whole, much more likely to be practicing Catholics than Czechs in Europe.

By 1910, the Czech population was 349,000, and by 1940 it was 1,764,000. The U.S. Bureau of the Census reported that nearly 800,000 Czechs were residing in the U.S. in 1970. Since that figure did not include Czechs who had been living in the U.S. for several generations, it is reasonable to assume that the actual number was higher. Additionally, Czech immigrants in America often had different claims of origin in records. Before 1918, many Czechs would be listed as from Bohemia or Moravia or vaguely Austria or Silesia.[8] Some were also counted as from Germany if they were German-speakers or rarely Polish if the recorder could not distinguish the language.[9][10] Slovaks were often listed as from Hungary.[11] After the formation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, Czechs and Slovaks were also listed under the new blanket category.[12]

The Czech American community gained a high public profile in 1911, with the kidnapping and murder in Chicago of the five-year old Elsie Paroubek. The Czech American community mobilized massively to help in the searches for the girl and support her family, and it gained much sympathy from the general American public.

While most Czech-Americans are white, some are people of color or are Latino/Hispanic. A small group of Black Czech-Americans of Ethiopian descent lives in Baltimore.[13] In Texas, many Tejanos have Czech ancestry. Czech immigrants to Texas had a deep influence on Tejano culture, particularly Tejano music.[14]


Distribution of Czech Americans according to the 2000 census.

The top 50 U.S. communities with the highest percentage of people claiming Czech ancestry

The top 50 U.S. communities with the highest percentage of people claiming Czech ancestry are:[15]

  1. Conway, ND 55.2% [16]
  2. West, TX 40.9%
  3. Oak Creek, NE 38.2%
  4. Wilber, NE 37.3%
  5. Shiner, TX 32.1%
  6. Montgomery, MN (township) 30.9%
  7. Lonsdale, MN 30.5%
  8. Wheatland, MN 29.9%
  9. Tyndall, SD 29.5%
  10. David City, NE 28.0%
  11. Montgomery, MN (city) 26.3%
  12. Franklin, WI 26.1%
  13. Lanesburgh, MN 25.2%
  14. Granger, TX 25.1%
  15. Port Costa, CA 24.0%
  16. Schulenburg, TX 23.7%
  17. (tie) New Prague, MN
  18. (tie) Erin, MN 23.5%
  19. Wahoo, NE 22.7%
  20. Carlton, WI 22.4%
  21. Wallis, TX 22.0%
  22. Hallettsville, TX 21.5%
  23. Hale, MN 20.8%
  24. Montpelier, WI 19.7%
  25. Flatonia, TX 19.5%
  26. West Kewaunee, WI 19.2%
  27. Schuyler, NE and Webster, NE 19.0%
  28. Gibson, WI 18.9%
  29. Hillsboro, WI 18.4%
  30. Kossuth, WI 18.2%
  31. Lexington, MN 18.1%
  32. Mishicot, WI 16.9%
  33. Kewaunee, WI and North Bend, NE 16.7%
  34. Franklin, WI 15.9%
  35. Oak Grove, WI and Caldwell, TX 15.7%
  36. Lake Mary, MN 15.4%
  37. Solon, IA 15.2%
  38. Mishicot, WI 15.0%
  39. Helena, MN 14.9%
  40. Marietta, NE 14.7%
  41. Stickney, IL 14.5%
  42. Ord, NE (township) and Weimar, TX 14.3%
  43. Crete, NE 14.2%
  44. Park River, ND 14.1%
  45. Ord, NE (city) and La Grange, TX 14.0%
  46. Wagner, SD 13.6%
  47. Needville, TX 13.2%
  48. Calmar, IA and Worcester, WI 13.0%
  49. Webster, MN 12.9%
  50. North Riverside, IL 12.4%
  51. Belle Plaine, IA 12.3%
  52. El Campo, TX 12.2%

U.S. communities with the most residents born in the Czech Republic (former Czechoslovakia)

The top U.S. communities with the most residents born in the Czech Republic (former Czechoslovakia) are:[17]

  1. Masaryktown, FL 3.1%
  2. Mifflinville, PA 2.2%
  3. Gulf Shores, AL 2.1%
  4. North Riverside, IL and Sharon Springs, NY 2.0%
  5. Lyons, IL 1.6%
  6. Rose, WI, North Lynbrook, NY and Anna Maria, FL 1.5%
  7. Oakbrook Terrace, IL and Danville, AR 1.4%
  8. Bee Ridge, FL, Cameron, TX, Lenox, MA, Verdigre, NE, and Willowbrook, IL 1.2%
  9. Lower Grand Lagoon, FL, Beachwood, OH, Allamuchy-Panther Valley, NJ, Mahopac, NY, Black Diamond, FL, and Glenview, KY 1.1%
  10. Key West, FL, Woodstock, NY, Madison Park, NJ, Belleair Beach, FL, South Amboy, NJ, Colver, PA, Herricks, NY, Horine, MO, Shelburne, MA, and Gang Mills, NY 1.0%

The states with the largest Czech American populations

The states with the largest Czech American populations are:[citation needed]

Texas 155,855
Illinois 123,708
Wisconsin 97,220
Minnesota 85,056
Nebraska 83,462
California   77,673
Ohio 70,009
Iowa 51,508
New York 44,942
Florida 42,890
Vermont 38,000

However, these figures are grossly understated when second and third generation descendants are included.

The states with the top percentages of Czech Americans

The states with the top percentages of Czech Americans are:[citation needed]

Nebraska 5.5%
South Dakota   2.3%
North Dakota 2.2%
Wisconsin 2.1%
Iowa 2.1%
Minnesota 2.1%
Illinois 1.2%
Montana 1.0%
Wyoming 1.0%

Notable people

For a more comprehensive list, see List of Czech Americans.


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Many cities in the United States hold festivals celebrating Czech culture and cuisine.

Czech and Slovak Heritage Festival in Parkville, Maryland, October 2014.
Welcome to Praha, Texas, "Czech Capital of Texas".

See also


  1. ^ "ACS Demographic and Housing 2019 1-Year Estimates".
  2. ^ "Rank of States for Selected Ancestry Groups with 100,00 or more persons: 1980" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
  3. ^ "1990 Census of Population Detailed Ancestry Groups for States" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. September 18, 1992. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
  4. ^ "Ancestry: 2000". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
  5. ^ "Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more ancestry categories reported 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 18, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
  6. ^ Jerabek, Esther. "The transition of a new world Bohemia" (PDF). Minnesota Historical Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 24, 2021. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  7. ^ Christine Molinari. "Czech americans". Countries and Their Cultures.
  8. ^ Cermak, Anton. "United States Census, 1900". FamilySearch.
  9. ^ Horack, Gottlieb. "United States Census, 1930". FamilySearch.
  10. ^ Svoboda, Peter. "United States Census, 1930". FamilySearch.
  11. ^ Bukva, Paul. "United States Census, 1910". FamilySearch.
  12. ^ Cermak, Anton. "United States Census, 1930". FamilySearch.
  13. ^ "Baltimore's Czech and Slovak Festival is a surprising reflection on heritage". Baltimore City Paper. Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  14. ^ "Conjunto". Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music. Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  15. ^ "Ancestry Map of Czech Communities". Archived from the original on June 25, 2019. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  16. ^ American FactFinder, community facts-Conway City, North Dakota- Origins and languages- Census 2000 Selected Social Characteristics (Household and Family Type, Disability, Citizenship, Ancestry, Language, ...) Archived 2015-01-08 at the Library of Congress Web Archives [1]
  17. ^ "Top 101 cities with the most residents born in Czechoslovakia (includes Czech Republic and Slovakia) (population 500+)". Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  18. ^ "Wilson, KS - Czech Festival". Archived from the original on May 12, 2012. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  19. ^ "Events". Retrieved June 5, 2022.
  20. ^ "DTJ Taborville Harvest Festival Patterned After 'Old Country' Original". Geauga County Maple Leaf | Your News Resource in Geauga County. August 4, 2014. Retrieved June 5, 2022.
  21. ^ "Czech Texans". Texas Almanac. November 17, 2017. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  22. ^ "Czech Festivals". Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  23. ^ Edita Rybak; Chris Rybak; Bernard Tupa. "Events". Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  24. ^ "Cesky Den". City of Hillsboro.
  25. ^ "NorthEastern Wisconsin CZECH & KOLACHE Festival". Agricultural Heritage & Resources. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  26. ^ "Vitame vas Phillips, Wisconsin Czech-Slovak Festival". Retrieved May 15, 2016.

Further reading