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Diaspora Greeks Survey: How representative is it for Greek-Americans?

The results of  the  «Global Survey on Hellenism and Research in Five Continents” conducted by Greek research agency Kapa Research in collaboration with the Hellenic Center of Harvard University were presented at an event Thursday in Washington DC last Thursday.

The survey results have been met with the criticism of  diaspora media in US, that were neither invited to the event nor consulted in any away during and after the survey.

“From the identity of the sample we have serious doubts if it represents the demographics of the Greek American Community,” writes Washington-based media, saying that “the data cannot represent the Greek American Community that includes 5th generation of immigrants.”

According to the Survey, 37% of the sample is from the United States, 12% from Australia, 9% from Germany, 9% from Canada, 7% UK and the rest from 40 countries.

55% of these people was born in Greece and 45% in other countries.

The Survey was taken in two stages, the first in the Summer of 2016 and the second from March 2017 – March 2018.

The sample included 4,000 people in Greece (1st stage = 2,164 – 2nd stage = 1,826) and 8,000 in the Greek Diaspora (1st stage = 897 – 2nd stage = 7,103).


The 65% of the sample holds Greek citizenship; 61% live for more than 10 years in the country of residence and the rest for less than 10. From the latter, 57% have immigrated in the 80s or later.

32% in the sample of the people born in Greece have immigrated between 2010 and 2017.

“This definitely doesn’t represent the United States, were we had the smaller flows due to the strict immigration,” notes the Washington-based GNO.


The Survey seeks answers on questions like:

Who are the Greeks of Diaspora?

What unites Greeks around the world?

Which ‘words’ define Hellenism today?

According to the key findings of the Survey, the Greeks of the Diaspora are:

  • Economically active middle and upper class, well off, and technologically literate
  • Mostly satisfied with life and very optimistic about the future
  • Religious and fairly close to the Church
  • Pro-West, free-market centrists and socially liberal
  • Lawful and respectful of institutions in their country of residence
  • Cultural heritage, History, and Natural beauty
  • Greek pride & deep sense of belonging to Hellenism
  • Language – frequent use of the Greek language
  • Family – maintaining the Greek language, history, and culture over time
  • Orthodox faith
  • Communication and technological revolutions
  • Greek cuisine
  • Crisis in Greece – feeling concerned and responsible to help
  • Gods, heroes, philosophers, poets, places, sounds, concepts and values, that go beyond national borders, time periods, political, social and economic systems.

The data challenges some generally accepted perceptions, such as:

1.“Hellenism is weakened by the financial crisis”

  • Data indicate that Greece is one of the most enduring brand names in the world, standing above crises of economic and political systems
  • There seems to be an enduring myth that binds Greeks around the world: The Parthenon, the sea, Odysseus, religion, family, heroes and philosophy compose an invincible ‘capsule’ travelling through time.
  1. “The last wave of migration (2010-2017) is a national catastrophe”
  • The term brain-drain implies an unbearable trauma;
  • Underestimates the fact that Greek history has been shaped by the diaspora phenomenon. An inherent need of the nation to survive, both individually and collectively, has sparked several waves of migration.
  • Even those who left recently are still proud to be Greek, optimistic, adaptive, competitive, respectful, open – all while maintaining their unique national identity
  • Would the current structures and institutions of the Greek state be able to accommodate their skills and aspirations?
  1. “Globalization erodes national identity”
  • Technological advances, communications and transportation revolution – all outcomes of globalized economies – seem to act as means of maintaining national identities beyond nation-state borders




69% get informed about current events in Greece almost every day

52% visit Greece at least once a year – only 14% of those without Greek citizenship have never visited

79% feel close to Greece today

65% feel disappointment and concern about the current situation in Greece

Full survey results in


PS I suppose doubts are also with regards to the Greek communities in Australia and Canada countries to where thousands of Greeks migrated in the first half of the 20th century and where o there is also a “5th generation of migrants.”

At the same time, I dare say that Greeks who migrated to Germany, for example, in the 1960’s have been maintaining closer relations to their homeland due to the geographical closeness.

I suggest, here must be a distinction between Diaspora Greeks and the New Diaspora Greeks.

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  1. costa sakellariou

    and ‘new’ diaspora greeks will eventually become ‘old’ diaspora greeks with the passage of time…once they make children they will remain a diaspora and will be left with ‘opa, yiasou, yiayia and syrtaki’…

  2. A _major_ difference between the emigrations of the 20th century versus those of older times is that, in older times, people left to make a living or a fortune abroad, but their families usually remained back in the village, and when they finally made their fortune, they also returned home- thus ensuring another generation would grow up. Especially since the second world war, the emigration has been of a different nature, where people leave and either take their families with them, or else marry abroad and the continuity is broken.
    The geographic closeness of western europe has allowed a lot of people to keep some contact, even though still the language and identity get lost after a generation or two.. those in america, canada, australia, dissolve into their new environs even more rapidly, just the fact of the distance from home. even going back once a year with the family, that will burn down every spare penny a family might have, and sooner or later (specially in recent years when money is tight for almost everyone) The Big Trip Back To The Village gets postponed one year, and then it stretches to two or three and thats the end of it. Maybe someone might go back for a funeral or something, and the next generation is lost. One in a thousand in the next generation might by some fluke of circumstance feel strongly enough to keep up contact or even come back to greece.. and the current political climate of injustice and corruption certainly deters most of them, even the most adamantly patriotic are likely to eventually give up and go back to some country where they can make an honest living without being flayed alive by the state.
    i know this category of the diaspora very well, being part of it myself- grew up abroad, by some chance managed to absorb a love of the patrida, spent enough just on the airfare two or three times a year to come back to keep up connections with family, that i could have bought a house with it over the years, eventually even came back and did my army service, tried to find a way to legitimately move back to greece for good and make some kind of simple life, but the irrational , arbitrary, and corrupt system in greece has repelled me from it, and i’m for years now just going back and forth, keeping a life and making a living abroad and travelling back to gr constantly, probably before long all the plane tickets will amount to a second house i could have bought!