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Notable Estonian Americans

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Estonian Americans are Americans, by birth or immigration, who are of Estonian ancestry. Most are descendants of people who left Estonia before, and especially during, World War II. According to the 2013 American Community Survey, there were more than 27,000 Americans of full or partial Estonian descent, up from 26,762 in 1990.

Estonians first started coming to the United States in the late 19th century, and continued until the mid-20th century. The beginnings of industrialization and commercial agriculture in the Russian Empire transformed Estonian farmers into migrants. The pressures of industrialization drove numerous Estonian peasants to emigrate to the United States continuing until the outbreak of World War I. In 1944, in the face of the country being re-occupied by the Red Army, 80,000 people fled from Estonia by sea to Germany and Sweden, becoming war refugees and later, expatriates. Some thousand of them moved on from there and settled in the United States. After the war's end, these displaced persons were allowed to immigrate to the United States and to apply for citizenship. Some of these refugees and their descendants started returning to Estonia at the end of the 1980s.

Today, the states with the most Estonian Americans are California (3,465 in 2000), New York (2,892), New Jersey (2,331), Washington (1,401), and Florida (1,393).