Open Access Articles- Top Results for Arab American

Arab American

Arab Americans
عرب أميركيون
Template:Image array
Total population


1.14% of the U.S. population (2009)
Regions with significant populations
California · Florida · Illinois · Massachusetts · Michigan · New Jersey · New York · Ohio · Oklahoma · Pennsylvania · Texas.
American English, Arabic
Christianity (Roman Catholicism · Orthodoxy · Protestantism)
Islam (Shi'a · Sunni)
 · Atheism · Agnosticism · Bahaism

Arab Americans (Arabic: عرب أميركا`Arab Amrīkā) are Americans of Arab ethnic, cultural and linguistic heritage or identity, who identify themselves as Arab. Arab Americans trace ancestry to any of the various waves of immigrants of the countries comprising the Arab World.

According to the Arab American Institute (AAI), countries of origin for Arab Americans include Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.[2]

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there are 1,697,570 Arab Americans in the United States.[3] 290,893 persons defined themselves as simply Arab, and a further 224,241 as Other Arab. Other groups on the 2010 Census are listed by nation of origin, and some may or may not be Arabs, or regard themselves as Arabs. The largest subgroup is by far the Lebanese Americans, with 501,907,[1] followed by; Egyptian American with 190,078, Syrian American with 148,214, Iraqi American with 105,981, Palestinian American with 93,438, Moroccan American with 82,073 and Jordanian American with 61,664. Approximately 1/4 of all Arab Americans claimed two ancestries, Arab Americans, and Arabs in general, comprise a highly diverse amalgam of groups with differing ancestral origins, religious backgrounds and historic identities. Instead, the ties that bind are a shared heritage by virtue of common linguistic, cultural, and political traditions.

A number of peoples from predominantly Arab countries resident in the United States are not classified as Arabs, including; Assyrians (aka Chaldo-Assyrians) Berbers, Jews, Kurds, Turkmen, Azeris, Mandeans, Circassians, Shabaki, Armenians, Turks, Mhallami, Georgians, Yazidis, Balochs, Greeks, Iranians and Kawliya/Roma.


The majority of Arab Americans, around 62%, originate from the region of the Levant, which includes Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan, although overwhelmingly from Lebanon. The remainder are made up of those from Egypt, Somalia, Morocco, Iraq, Libya, the GCC and other Arab nations.

There are nearly 3.5 million Arab Americans in the United States according to The Arab American Institute. Arab-Americans live in all 50 states and in Washington, D.C. - and 94% reside in the metropolitan areas of major cities. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city with the largest percentage of Arab Americans is Dearborn, Michigan, a southwestern suburb of Detroit, at nearly 40%. The Detroit metropolitan area is home to the largest concentration of Arab Americans (403,445), followed by the New York City Combined Statistical Area (371,233), Los Angeles (308,295), San Francisco Bay Area (250,000), Chicago (176,208), and the Washington D.C area. (168,208).[4] (NOTE: This information is reportedly based upon survey findings, but is contradicted by information posted on the Arab American Institute website itself, which states that California as a whole only has 272,485, and Michigan as a whole only 191,607. 2010 American Community Survey information from the American Factfinder website gives a figure of about 168,000 for Michigan.)

Sorting by American states, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, 48% of the Arab-American population - 576,000 - reside in California, Michigan, New York, Florida, and New Jersey, respectively; these 5 states collectively have 31% of the net U.S. population. Five other states - Illinois, Texas, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania - report Arab-American populations of more than 40,000 each. Also, the counties which contained the greatest proportions of Arab-Americans were in California, Michigan, New York, Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

The cities with 100,000 or more in population with the highest percentages of Arabs are Sterling Heights, Michigan 3.69%; Jersey City, New Jersey 2.81%; Warren, Michigan 2.51%; Allentown, Pennsylvania 2.45%; Burbank, California 2.39% and nearby Glendale, California 2.07%; Livonia, Michigan 1.94%; Arlington, Virginia 1.77%; Paterson, New Jersey 1.77%; and Daly City, California 1.69%.[5] Bayonne, New Jersey, a city of 63,000, reported an Arab-American population of 5.0% in the 2010 US Census.[6]

Arab Americans in the 2000[7] - 2010 U.S. Census[8][note 1]
Ancestry 2000 2000 (% of US population) 2010 2010 (% of US population)
23x15px Lebanese 440,279 0.2% 501,988 %
23x15px Syrian 142,897 0.1% 148,214 %
23x15px Egyptian 142,832 0.1% 190,078 %
23x15px Palestinian 72,096 0.04% 93,438 %
Template:Country data Jordan Jordanian 39,734 0.03% 61,664 %
23x15px Moroccan 38,923 0.03% 82,073 %
Template:Country data Iraq Iraqi 37,714 0.01% 105,981 %
23x15px Yemeni 11,654 0.005% 29,358 [9] %
23x15px Algerian 8,752 % 14,716 %
23x15px Saudi 7,419 % %
23x15px Tunisian 4,735 % %
Template:Country data Kuwait Kuwaiti 3,162 % %
23x15px Libyan 2,979 % %
23x15px Emirati 459 % %
23x15px Omani 351 % %
"North African" 3,217 % %
"Arabs" 85,151 % 290,893 %
"Arabic" 120,665 % %
Other Arabs % 224,241 %
TOTAL 1,160,729 TOTAL 1,697,570 %

Religious background

File:Arab American religions.png
The religious affiliations of Arab Americans

While the majority of the population of the Arab World is composed of people of the Muslim faith, most Arab Americans, in contrast, are Christian.[10]

According to the Arab American Institute, the breakdown of religious affiliation among persons originating from Arab countries is as follows:

The percentage of Arab Americans who are Muslim has increased in recent years, because most new Arab immigrants tend to be Muslim; this stands in contrast to the first wave of Arab immigration to the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, during which almost all immigrants were Christians. Most Maronites tend to be of Lebanese or Syrian extraction; those Christians of Palestinian background are often Eastern Orthodox. A small number are Protestants, either having joined a Protestant denomination after emigrating to the U.S. or being from a family that converted to Protestantism while still living in the Middle East (European and American Protestant missionaries were fairly commonplace in the Levant in the late 19th and early 20th centuries).

Arab Christians, especially from Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Egypt, continue to immigrate into the U.S. in the 2000s and continue to form new enclaves and communities across the country.[12]

Non-Arab Americans from Arabic countries

There are many immigrants to America from Arabic-speaking countries who are not classified as Arabs. Among these are Armenian Americans, Kurdish Americans, Azeris, and Jewish Americans of Mizrahi origin. It is very difficult to estimate the size of these communities. For example, some Kurds immigrated from Iraq, but also from Turkey and other non-Arabic speaking countries. Estimates place these communities at least in the tens of thousands.[13][14][15] Other smaller communities include Assyrians (aka Chaldo-Assyrians) Berbers, Turkmen, Mandeans, Circassians, Shabaki, Turks, Mhallami, Georgians, Yazidis, Balochs, Greeks, Iranians and Kawliya/Roma.

Most of these ethnic groups speak their own native languages (not Arabic) and have their own customs, though some (for example, Berbers) speak their own dialect of Arabic. Nor is the distinction between Arab and non-Arab identity always clear-cut. For example, Aviva Uri, in her study of Mizrahi Jews in America, writes that "activists and writers in the United States, both gentile Arab and Jewish, are legitimizing through their various activities and publications the identity of Mizrahim as Arab Jews."[16]

Arab-American identity

Paterson, New Jersey has been nicknamed Little Ramallah and contains a neighborhood with the same name, with an Arab American population estimated as high as 20,000 in 2015.[17]

The current U.S. Census definition of white is "people having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa."[18] This definition differs from that of some other countries, such as the United Kingdom, which classify Arabs as an ethnic group distinct from whites.[19] Additionally, Arabs were not considered to be white as a matter of law for most of American history. The change in legal classification of Arabs, from nonwhite to white, arose in a legal battle won by Arabs in the early 20th century, where Syrians previously barred by courts from immigrating to the United States (owing to their alleged "Asiatic" racial ancestry), won the right to be classified as "white" under federal law.

Today, many Arab Americans reject the U.S. Census classification, arguing that they are not perceived or treated as white by non-Arab Americans.[20] In 2010, a group of Arab-Americans in Orange County, California, launched a campaign with the slogan "Check it right, you ain't white"[21] to encourage Arabs to check the box that says "Other" when filling out their 2010 United States Census form and identify themselves as "Arab" or their specific country of origin. In 2014, the US Census Bureau announced it may establish an additional new racial category for populations from the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab world.[22]

The Arab American Institute and other groups have noted that there was a rise in hate crimes targeting the Arab American community as well as people perceived as Arab/Muslim after the September 11 attacks and the US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq.[23]

A new Zogby Poll International found that there are 3.5 million Americans who were identified as "Arab-Americans", or Americans of ancestry belonging to one of the 23 UN member countries of the Arab World (these are not necessarily therefore Arabs). Poll finds that, overall, a majority of those identifying as Arab Americans are Lebanese Americans (largely as a result of being the most numerous group), although proportionally, as a group by national origin, Lebanese Americans identifying as Arab Americans may be smaller than, for instance, Yemeni Americans.

The Paterson, New Jersey-based Arab American Civic Association runs an Arabic language program in the Paterson school district.[24] Paterson, New Jersey has been nicknamed Little Ramallah and contains a neighborhood with the same name, with an Arab American population estimated as high as 20,000 in 2015.[17]


In a 2007 Zogby poll 62% of Arab Americans vote Democratic, while only 25% vote Republican.[25] The percentage of Arabs voting Democratic increased sharply during the Iraq War. However, a number of prominent Arab American politicians are Republicans, including former New Hampshire Senator John E. Sununu, and California Congressman Darrell Issa, who was the driving force behind the state's 2003 recall election that removed Democratic Governor Gray Davis from office. The first woman Supreme Court Chief Justice in Florida, Rosemary Barkett, who is of Syrian descent is known for her dedication to progressive values.

Arab Americans gave George W. Bush a majority of their votes in 2000. However, they backed John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012.

According to a 2000 Zogby poll, 52% of Arab Americans are pro-life, 74% support the death penalty, 76% are in favor of stricter gun control, and 86% want to see an independent Palestinian state.[26]

The values of Arab Americans are more similar to those of the Arab world than those of the American population on average, by being more closely aligned to the strong traditional and strong survival values. This diminishes with secularization and second and subsequent generations.[27]

Arab American Heritage Month

In 2014, Montgomery County, Maryland designated April as Arab American Heritage Month in recognition of the contributions that Arab Americans have made to the nation.[28]


While the spectrum of Arab heritage includes 22 countries, their combined heritage is often celebrated in cultural festivals around the United States.

New York City

The Annual Arab-American & North African Street Festival was founded in 2002 by the Network of Arab-American Professionals of NY (NAAP-NY). Located in downtown Manhattan, on Great Jones Street between Lafayette & Broadway, the Festival attracts an estimated 15,000 people, in addition to over 30 Arab and North African vendors along with an all-day live cultural performance program representing performers from across the Arab world.

The New York Arab-American Comedy Festival was founded in 2003 by comedian Dean Obeidallah and comedienne Maysoon Zayid. Held annually each fall, the festival showcases the talents of Arab-American actors, comics, playwrights and filmmakers, and challenges as well as inspires fellow Arab-Americans to create outstanding works of comedy. Participants include actors, directors, writers and comedians.


Of particular note is ArabFest in Seattle, begun in 1999. The festival includes all 22 of the Arab countries, with a souk marketplace, traditional and modern music, an authentic Arab coffeehouse, an Arabic spelling bee and fashion show. Lectures and workshops explore the rich culture and history of the Arab peoples, one of the world's oldest civilizations. Also of new interest is the Arabic rap concert, including the NW group Sons of Hagar, showcasing the political and creative struggle of Arabic youth.


In 2008, the first annual Arab American Festival in Arizona was held on November 1 and 2 in Glendale, Arizona. There were more than 40,000 attendees over the two-day event; more than 35 international singers, dancers and musicians from all over the Arab World performed 20 hours of live entertainment on stage. Activities included folklore shows, an international food court, hookah lounge, kids rides and booth vendors, open to the public, and admission was free.[29]


The Annual Arab American Day Festival is a three-day cultural and entertainment event held in Orange County. Activities include book and folk arts exhibitions, speeches from community leaders in the county, as well as music and poetry, dancing singing, traditional food, hookah and much more.[30]


Since 1996, Milwaukee's Arab World Fest has been part of the summer festival season. It is held during the second weekend of August. This three day event hosts music, culture and food celebrating the 22 Arab countries. The festival features live entertainment, belly dancing, hookah rental, camel rides, cooking demonstrations, a children's area and great Arab cuisine. It constitutes family friendly festival on Milwaukee's lake front.[31]

Famous Arab Americans

Here are a few examples of famous Arab Americans and Americans with partial Arab ancestry in a variety of fields.




Writers and thinkers

  • Gibran Khalil Gibran, (Lebanese) writer, philosopher, and painter.
  • Suzy Kassem, (Egyptian) film director, philosopher, and writer.
  • Edward Said, (Palestinian) literary theorist and outspoken Palestinian activist.
  • Diana Abu-Jaber, (Jordanian) novelist, and professor.
  • Helen Thomas, (Lebanese) reporter, columnist and White House correspondent.
  • Ismail al-Faruqi, (Palestinian) philosopher and authority on Islam and comparative religion.
  • Laila Lalami, (Moroccan) novelist, journalist, essayist, and professor.
  • Hady Amr, (Lebanese father) diplomat and founding director, Brookings Doha Center.
  • Mona Simpson, (Syrian father Abdulfattah Jandali) novelist.
  • Susie Gharib, co-anchor of the Nightly Business Report, 100 most influential business journalists.
  • Hala Gorani, (Syrian) journalist and anchor of CNN's International Desk.Levantine Cultural Center.
  • Ameen al-Rihani, (Lebanese) writer
  • Abdisalam Aato, (Somali) film director, producer, entrepreneur and media consultant.
  • Steven Salaita, (Palestinian and Jordanian) expert on comparative literature and post-colonialism, writer, activist

Public figures and politicians



See also

Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Portal/images/u' not found.


  1. ^ In this list are not included Sudanese since, in 2000 and 2010, Sudan and South Sudan were yet one country and yet we only have quantitative data from these groups together. Only the people of Northern Sudan are Arabs, but most Sudanese Americans hailed from the South Sudan. The 2000 - 2010 US Census indicate not the number of Americans of Sudanese (excluding South Sudanese) origin or descent.


  1. ^ a b "B04003. TOTAL ANCESTRY REPORTED". 2008 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  2. ^ "Arab American Institute – Texas" (PDF). Arab American Institute. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). "American FactFinder - Results". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Arab American Population Highlights Arab American Institute Foundation
  5. ^ The Arab Population: 2000
  6. ^ Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). "American FactFinder - Results". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Table 1. First, Second, and Total Responses to the Ancestry Question by Detailed Ancestry Code: 2000". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  8. ^ "Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more ancestry categories reported 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  9. ^ "CITIZENSHIP STATUS IN THE UNITED STATES: Total population in the United States. 2006-2010 American Community Survey Selected Population Tables.". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-12-06. 
  10. ^ "Demographics". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "Presentation at Al". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "Arab Christians, minorities, reshaping US enclaves". Yahoo News. 11 November 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more ancestry categories reported 2011 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  14. ^ "2006–2010 American Community Survey Selected Population Tables". Government of the United States of America. Government of the United States of America. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  15. ^ Ben-Ur, Aviva (2009). Sephardic Jews in America: A Diasporic History. New York: NYU Press. p. 35. ISBN 9780814786321. 
  16. ^ Ben-Ur, Aviva (2009). Sephardic Jews in America: A Disasporic History. New York: NYU Press. p. 136. ISBN 9780814786321. 
  17. ^ a b Deena Yellin (2015-05-03). "Palestinian flag-raising is highlight of heritage week in Paterson". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  18. ^ "Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity". The White House. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "Ethnic Group." Office for National Statistics
  20. ^ "Not Quite White: Race Classification and the Arab American Experience." Arab American Institute
  21. ^ "Arab-American Census Activists Say 'Check It Right'". 29 March 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  22. ^ "Census Bureau explores new Middle East/North Africa ethnic category". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 3 November 2014. 
  23. ^ Paulson, Amanda. "Rise in Hate Crimes Worries Arab-Americans" (Christian Science Monitor, April 10, 2003). [1]
  24. ^ "Paterson school district restarts Arab language program for city youths". Paterson Press, North Jersey Media Group. 2014-12-10. Retrieved 2014-12-10. 
  25. ^ "US elections through Arab American eyes by Ghassan Rubeiz - Common Ground News Service". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  26. ^ "Arab american Demographics". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  27. ^ Detroit Arab American Study Group (2 July 2009). Citizenship and Crisis: Arab Detroit After 9/11. Russell Sage Foundation. pp. 22–23. ISBN 978-1-61044-613-6. 
  28. ^ "April is Arab American Heritage Month". Montgomery College. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  29. ^ "Arab American Festival - المهرجان العربي الأمريكي". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  30. ^ Arab American Festival
  31. ^ "Welcome -". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  32. ^ Thomas Omestad (11 May 2011). "Boustany Calls for Clear U.S. Strategy on Lebanon". Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  33. ^ Brandon Richards (28 August 2009). "Crowley native, wife of Kennedy at center of national spotlight". Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  34. ^
  35. ^ "Steve Jobs' Father Regrets Adoption, Hasn't Met Apple Founder"
  36. ^ "A CONVERSATION WITH/NAWAL NOUR; A Life Devoted to Stopping The Suffering of Mutilation", The New York Times, Claudia Dreifus, July 11, 2000

External links

Festival Links

Arab American Organizations

Template:Arab diaspora