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According to the 2017 American Community Survey, 478,278 Americans indicated Romanian as their first or second ancestry. Other sources provide higher estimates for the numbers of Romanian Americans in the contemporary US; for example, the Romanian-American Network Inc. supplies a rough estimate of 1.2 million who are fully or partially of Romanian ethnicity. There is also a significant number of persons of Romanian Jewish ancestry, estimated at about 225,000.

The first Romanian known to have been to what is now the United States was Samuel Damian (also spelled Domien), a former priest. Samuel Damian’s name appears as far back as 1748, when he placed an advertisement in the South Carolina Gazette announcing the electrical demonstrations he planned to give and inviting the public to attend. Letters written in 1753 and 1755 by Benjamin Franklin attest to the fact that the two had met and had carried on discussions concerning electricity. Damian remained in the States some years living in South Carolina, then travelled on to Jamaica. 

The majority of these immigrants particularly those from Transylvania and Banat that were under Austro-Hungarian rule left their native regions because of economic depression and forced assimilation, a policy practiced by Hungarian rulers. They settled mostly in the industrial centers in Pennsylvania and Delaware as well as in areas around the Great Lakes such as Cleveland, Chicago, and Detroit.

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The migrants from the Romanian Old Kingdom were mostly Jews, most of whom settled in New York. One of their prominent organizations was the United Rumanian Jews of America. 75,000 Romanian Jews emigrated in the period 1881–1914, mostly to the United States. The states with the largest estimated Romanian American populations are: New York (161,900), California (128,133), Florida (121,015), Michigan (119,624), Pennsylvania (114,529), Illinois (106,017), Delaware (84,958), Ohio (83,228), Georgia (47,689). Embassy of Romania in Washington DC.