California Cultures

Russia in California, Russian-American Culture

Russian Festivals in California offer cultural fun, entertainment and education.

Russia in California

STATISTICS

More than 3 million U.S. citizens of Russian origin

Leading Russian populated States:
New York, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts.

Leading Cities:
New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Detroit

Percentage Distribution:
NY Tri-State Area — 24%
California — 16%
Illinois — 16%
Pennsylvania — 10%
Massachusetts — 8%
Florida — 7%
DC and Maryland — 3%

Language:
There are an estimated 5.5 million Russian-speaking people in the Unites States.

California Population

Approx. 1,100,000 Russian-speaking residents living in California.

Russian-speaking community includes over 150 ethnic minorities from the 15 republics of the former Soviet Union all united by one common language.

Slavic-American population incorporates people of multiple ancestry including Russian, Ukrainian, Armenian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Hungarian, Czech, Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Kazakh, Georgian, Moldavian, and other.

Although each ethnic group has its own cultural identity, a majority of Slavic people speak Russian as their first or second language at home.

WHERE THEY RESIDE

Residents of Slavic descent favor Greater Sacramento Valley, San Francisco and Bay Area, and Southern California.

Sacramento Valley is home to 250,000 Russian-speaking consumers.

There are more than 600,000 Russian-speaking people in Southern California.

10% of Beverly Hills 
10% Hollywood
11% West Hollywood

Major resident areas are: Hidden Hills, Calabasas, Los Angeles, Westlake Village, Agoura Hills and Simi Valley, in declining order of affluence.

Median household incomes range from $80,000 for Simi Valley to $200,000 for Hidden Hills.

Bachelor Degree holders range from 40% for Simi Valley to 75% for Calabasas.

Most Russian- speakers are bilingual but generally prefer to speak their native language at home, and turn to Russian-language media for the latest news and information.

CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD

Approx. 4,000 people or 11% of population identify a former country of the Soviet Union as their primary ancestry.

The City of West Hollywood has a Russian Advisory Board, which consists of nine Russian-speaking community members who advise the City Council on issues relating to the Russian-speaking Community. Five members are appointed by a Councilmember and four serve as at-large appointees.

Russian grocery stores in West Hollywood (Los Angeles's own version of New York's Brighton Beach) and Russian restaurants serve the Armenian community, the largest outside of Armenia, exceeding 1 million people.

West Hollywood hosts its Russian Arts and Culture Week, which has become an integral part of the Russian speaking community and the entire City of West Hollywood. Among the Russian-speaking community family values are dominated most. 

Chekhov Theater, Russian game show clubs, social and discussion clubs, many Russian language daycare centers, schools, and newspapers serve the local Russian community.

The Russian-speaking population of West Hollywood is the most concentrated single Russian-speaking region in US outside of New York consisting primarily of émigrés from different Republics of the former Soviet Union: Russian Federation, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, Latvia, Uzbekistan, etc.

HISTORY

Before 1825,  Russian, American and English fur hunters discovered and began exploiting California's enormous fur resources, creating the California Fur Rush. Harvesting northern and central California coast's southern sea otter  and fur seals, and then San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and San Joaquin River Delta's beaver, river otter, marten, fisher, mink, gray fox, weasel, and harbor seal, opened up the West to world trade. Before the Gold Rush  California's early fur trade, more than any other factor single factor stirred world attention and interest.

Russian-American Company RAC began expanded its operations to more abundant sea otter grounds in Northern California, where Fort Ross was built in 1812.

POLITICS

The Atlantic -- According to preliminary data from a survey being conducted by Sam Kliger, director of Russian-Jewish Community Affairs at the American Jewish Committee, between 60 and 70 percent of Russian-speaking Jews will vote Republican in this election. About that same percentage of American Jews backed Barack Obama in 2012.

They have experienced socialism and communism in a totalitarian regime, Kliger said. Anything that remotely resembles that, they hate it, they despise it.

Russian Americans have historically not been considered electorally significant. There hasn't been a single national political figure among the many Russian immigrants.

"Russian" votes are unlikely to be a significant factor in this year’s U.S. presidential election. But their importance is bound to grow."  Institute of Modern Russia  (imrussia.org)

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