In Hungary Today’s new weekly series “Thursday Top Ten” our readers can learn about the most interesting things one can find about Hungary and Hungarians in connection with a given topic. In this week’s edition we are focusing on the Hungarian diaspora around the world. You may now the saying “Hungarians can be found everywhere in the world”. Well, there are about 5 million Hungarians living all around the world in diaspora. Although the Hungarian diaspora is a term that encompasses the total ethnic Hungarian population located outside of current-day Hungary, the expression is mainly used to describe the ’western-diaspora’ of Hungarians, meaning those Hungarians living outside the Carpathian Basin.
In the following article, you can read about the ten countries outside of the Carpathian Basin that have the most Hungarian inhabitants
U.S.A. ~ 1.400.000 Hungarians; Cities with major Hungarian population: New York, Jersey City, Cleveland
While this may not come as a surprise to many of our readers, the largest number of Hungarians outside the Carpathian Basin can be found in the Unites States of America. The ‘new world’ was a top destination for emigrating Hungarians from 1800s onward. Most Hungarians live in the Northeast of America. On the east-coast, New York City and New Brunswick, located in New York and New Jersey respectively, have the largest Hungarian populations. In the Midwest, Cleveland, which for many years was known as the “2nd largest Hungarian city,” has the largest population of Hungarian-Americans. In the West, Los Angeles, California is a major Hungarian hub, as is San Francisco. The Hungarian Scout Association in the US is one of the most influential and largest Hungarian organizations in the diaspora. Here is a quick look at the annual Hungarian Scout Festival in Cleveland:
In the US, there are strong Hungarian communities with long histories, who have been living as Hungarian-Americans for generations. This can be seen in New York City, where there was an active Hungarian-district around E 82nd street and Lexington Avenue, with Hungarian churches, cultural and community hall, shops, and Hungarian schools. Today there are not nearly as many Hungarians in the area, but the city’s Hungarian House, as well as the Hungarian Reformed Church, remain in the neighborhood to this day.
Canada ~ 316.000 Hungarians; Cities with major Hungarian population: Toronto; Montreal
Half of the Hungarians in Canada lives next to the American border, in the province of Ontario. The Hungarian minority is the 23rd largest ethnic group in the land of maple syrup and polar bears. Immigrants flowed to Canada from Hungary, particularly after the World War II, with the wave peaking after the 1956 Hungarian revolution against communist rule; following the defeat of the Revolution, over 100,000 Hungarian refugees made their way to Canada. Canada is well-known for its colorful multiculturalism, a country built and colored by the ethnic groups of the country, including Hungarians. In Toronto, you can find a Hungarian dance group, music band, restaurant, while a Hungarian-English Cultural Magazine, the Kalejdoszkóp, is edited from here; and of course, there are Hungarian churches and community halls.
Israel ~ 200.000 Hungarians; Cities with major Hungarian population: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv
Most immigrants are Hungarian Jews who left Hungary for Israel. In the beginning of the 20th century, a great Jew population lived in Budapest. An impressive legacy of this large community can still be seen today: Budapest’s Dohány Street Synagogue, also known as the Great Synagogue, is the largest in Europe, and the third-largest on earth. Most of the members of Hungarian diaspora in Israel, came from Hungarian-Jewish communities, fleeing the horrors of the Second World War and the Holocaust. Although the Hungarian population in Israel may be large (200.000), here 2nd and 3rd generation Hungarian-Israelis don’t take part in Hungarian culture, nor are they as interested in Hungarian identity, as the younger generations are in the USA or in Canada; this difference is due in large part to the organizations that keep traditions ‘alive’ in America, such as dancing, scouting, and other Hungarian cultural communities.
United Kingdom – London ~ 150.000+ Hungarians
The looming specter of Brexit will impact many Hungarians living in Britain, namely those London-based Hungarians who came to the UK for work. Since 2004, when a number of Central an Eastern European countries joined the European Union, the number of Hungarians in London has doubled. Apart from Eastern Europe, most of the job seekers going to Britain come from the south of the Euro-zone. More than 100.000 have people left Hungary in the last few years for the better labour conditions and greater opportunities that are available in the United Kingdom. It is really hard to guess how many Hungarians are in London, but that there are a great many is certain. Every person in Hungary has a friend or at least a friend-of-a-friend who has gone to London to work, for a short or long-term stay…
In truth, we can say the second biggest Hungarian city after Budapest is, in fact, London (sorry Cleveland). Several great cultural initiatives and organizations have been formed as a response to this huge demographic shift, such as the New Generation Centre London.
Germany ~ 120.000 Hungarians; Cities with major Hungarian population: Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich
Hungarians have emigrated to Germany since the Middle Ages. However, after World War I, their number began to grow at an increased pace. Only about 60% arrived with a Hungarian passport, as many of them arrived from areas of the former Kingdom of Hungary that were lost in the 1920 Treaty of Trianon.
Major Hungarian immigration waves to Germany would follow: About 30,000 arrived after 1945, while after the Revolution of 1956 only about 25.000 Hungarian went to Germany. After 1975 many Hungarians moved there from Transylvania. Today, thanks to the opportunities provided by EU membership,those who might otherwise go to London end up moving to one of the larger German cities such as Stuttgart, Frankfurt or Munich. Hungarian communities have a colorful life here, as scouting, dancing thrive, and performers from Hungary can arrive easily as well. They have built up a little Hungary for themselves, organizing fairs and other community events.
Brazil ~ 75.000 Hungarians; Cities with major Hungarian population: São Paulo
Although ethnic Hungarians live in all the countries of South America, active community life and organizations exist only in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela and Uruguay. According to data received from local Hungarian communities, the number of grandparents and parents who immigrated from Hungary to Brazil is between 33,000 and 65,000. Their descendants were already born in the country.
In the case of Argentina and Brazil, the discrepancy between estimates may originate from the fact that the Hungarian diasporas in those two countries can look back to one-and-half century of history, and the fact that the ethnic identity of the non-first generation population of Hungarian origin is already vague in many cases. In terms of organization and social cohesion, the strongest Hungarian communities are those in Brazil and Argentina.
Australia ~ 67.000 Hungarians; Cities with major Hungarian population: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide
The constant movement of Hungarian immigrants has included several waves to Australia as well. Most of the Hungarian immigrants to the continent came after World War II and after 1956. Hungarian Australians mostly live in state capital cities.
Generally, before and after the founding of the Australian federation, Hungarian immigration to Australia has been the result of severe politico-economic crisis in Hungary which devastated the country forcing portions of the population to a marginal existence. Revolutions, wars and their consequence misery created mass refugee-waves to the outside world. Today the center of the Hungarian communities are Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide.
Argentina ~ 40.000 Hungarians; Cities with major Hungarian population: Buenos Aires
The presence of Hungarians in Argentina dates back to the 18th century, when a number of Hungarian Jesuit priests came to North Argentina and Paraguay and settled in Jesuit Reductions. After the fall of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 a number of Hungarian officers fled to Argentina.Today, there are between 40,000 and 50,000 people of Hungarian descent living in Argentina, mostly in Buenos Aires.
In Argentina there is a very strong and active Hungarian folk-movement. The South-American dance groups and ensembles annually hold reunions in Argentina, and together host the South-American táncháztalálkozó. In addition, there are Hungarian churches and schools there. What’s more, in Argentina there is a village (Coronel Du Graty)in the province of Chaco, where the people speak Hungarian with a Transylvanian dialect; even the Mayor is Hungarian!
“Benelux States” – Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg ~ 30.000 Hungarians; Cities with major Hungarian population: Brussels, Amsterdam
In the “Benelux” States of Europe there is a very interesting situation with the Hungarian diaspora. Of course, there are traditional emigre communities, but for the most part, while Hungarians are famous in Amsterdam, it is not for their goulash. In the capital of the Netherlands, prostitution is legal. According to magyarnarancs.hu, there are about 20-25 thousand “sexual workers” in Amsterdam; most of them are Hungarians, Romanians and Bulgarians working in the “red light district”.
Not far from here in Belgium there is a totally different type of Hungarian emigre. Most of them are entrepreneurs, politicians, or students who work and live mainly in Antwerp and Brussels as it is the capital of the European Union. In Brussels you can find Hungarian restaurants, and the Hungarian diaspora organizes an annual ball there as well.