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Italian and Italian-American communities / Comites

The dome of the U.S. Capitol
The dome of the U.S. Capitol was completed by Italy’s  
Constantino Brumidi in true fresco technique in 1865
(Credits: United States Government Work)


Italian and Italian-American communities

Relations between Italy and the United States rely on the presence of a large and talented Italian and Italian-American community which has created an impressive network of associations and cultural centersmuseumsfestivalsmagazines, newspapers and blogs. Several media focused on the Italian community receive support from the Italian government.

The number of Italians registered with the Register of Italians Living Abroad (Anagrafe degli Italiani Residenti all’Estero – AIRE) in the United States is approximately 313,450 (data updated to December 31, 2020), distributed as follows among the 10 Italian Consular Districts: Boston: 21,193; Chicago: 26,801; Detroit: 18,787; Philadelphia: 25,973; Houston: 12,916; Los Angeles: 30,197; Miami: 47,785; New York: 95,305; San Francisco: 26,335; Washington D.C.: 8,158

The “early generations” of Italians who arrived in the United States up until the early sixties have been joined by a more recent immigration wave which mainly consists of highly qualified citizens in possession of university degrees and beyond: from the young entrepreneurs who invest in the United States while maintaining the focus of their interests in Italy, to university professors, scientists and researchers who, for instance, have applied their discoveries and inventions in the industrial sector, particularly in information technology and high tech.

Among the bodies representing the Italian community in the United States:

  • The members of the Italian Parliament elected in the North and Central America district: Senator Francesca Alderisi, Hon. Fucsia Fitzgerald Nissoli and Hon. Francesca La Marca
  • Ten Committees of Italians Abroad (COMITES). To learn about COMITES, click here
  • Two Counselors of the General Council of Italians Abroad (CGIE): Vincenzo Arcobelli; Silvana Mangione
  • Six “Patronati” with multiple locations in the United States (Inca-Cgil, ACLI, Ital-Uil, Inas-Cisl, Epasa, Encal-Cisal)

According to the most recent census, there are 17.3 million Americans of Italian origin, making Italian Americans the fourth largest ethnic group of European origin after Germany, Ireland, and the UK. The two main Italian-American organizations, the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) and the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America (OSDIA) believe, however, that a more realistic figure is at least 25 million.

For several years now, there has been renewed attention directed toward our country by the Italian-American community, which is explained by several factors including the growing attraction for the Italian way of life perceived as producing wellbeing and quality of life and the admiration for the country’s image in all fields, from culture to fashion, from design to gastronomy and enology, from research to advanced technology. This renewal has been confirmed by the increase in tourism to our country, the increasing number of those studying Italian language and culture, and requests for Italian citizenship.

Italians in America have traditionally advanced in all areas of national life (politics, economics, art, cinema, science and research, sport) and have therefore contributed to the increasing prestige of Italy in the United States. Through their contribution to the development and reinforcement of bilateral relations, their presence is a true bridge between Italy and the US.
President Trump, during the celebrations for Italy’s National Day at the White House on June 1, 2018 underlined “the deep and enduring bonds that link our two countries”, and the contribution to the history of “American Greatness” by the Italian-American community.


COMITES Committees of Italians Abroad (COMITES)


What are the COMITES?
They are elected bodies that represent Italian citizens residing abroad in dealing with consular offices and designed to allow Italian nationals residing overseas to actively participate in the life of their community.

They are made up of 12 members in districts with Italian residents numbering up to 100,000 Italian citizens. The number of members is increased to 18 in districts with more than 100,000 resident Italian citizens.

COMITES members hold unpaid offices with terms of five years.

In collaboration with the consular authorities, with the regions and local governments and other organizations and associations working in the consular district, the COMITES promote the interests of local Italian residents through valid initiatives of a social, cultural, educational, and/or charitable nature, or that deal with vocational training or leisure and recreational pursuits. The COMITES members, after consultation with the consular authorities, may represent their constituent Italian community before other Authorities and local institutions.

Who is on the ballot?
The members of COMITES are elected based on lists of eligible candidates assembled and signed by fellow residents in each consular district.

For more information on COMITES and on the regulatory guidelines of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, click here.

The COMITES election took place on December 3, 2021.