Middle Eastern American

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Middle Eastern American
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Regions with significant populations
Continental United States, smaller populations in Alaska and Hawaii
English • Arabic • Aramaic • Azerbaijani • Armenian • Georgian • Greek • Hebrew • Persian • Turkish • others
Christianity: (Eastern Orthodoxy · Catholicism)
Islam · Judaism · Zoroastrianism · Atheism · Agnosticism · Deism

Middle Eastern Americans are Americans with origins or citizenship from the Middle East.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans from Western Asia or the Middle East include immigrants, and their descendants, from Arabic-speaking countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Georgia, Iran, Israel, and Turkey.[1][2][3][4] groups who have settled in the United States since the late nineteenth century and comprise a diverse series of communities.[5]


It is unclear as to when the first Middle Easterner came to the United States.[6] California has the largest Middle Eastern immigrant population, with nearly 400,000. Of states with the most Middle Eastern immigrants, Virginia has the fastest growing population, followed by Texas, Michigan, and New York.[7] The total population of Middle Eastern Americans is greater than 936,000, four percent of the US population. 82% of Middle Eastern Americans are U.S. citizens, with 63% born in the U.S. The majority of Arab Americans, and therefore the majority of Middle Eastern Americans as a whole, are Christian.[8][9] Most Maronites tend to be of Lebanese, Syrian, or Cypriot extraction; the majority of Christians of Cypriot and Palestinian background are often Eastern Orthodox.

Many of the leading Middle Eastern countries of immigration to the United States are non-Arab. The U.S. Census Bureau and the National Health Interview Survey include, in their definitions of Middle Eastern Americans, peoples from Armenia, Cyprus, Iran, Israel, and Turkey.[10][11] Additionally, many immigrants from Arab countries are not Arabs, including Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians (aka Chaldo-Assyrians), Berbers, Copts, Syriacs-Arameans, Mandeans, Kurds, Shabaki, Turcoman, Yazidi and Jews. However, at least one-fourth of immigrants from Israel are Arabs.[7]

Middle Easterners are one of the fastest growing immigrant groups in America.[7] The figure shows very dramatic growth in this population over the last 30 years. In 1970, fewer than 200,000 Middle Easterners lived in the United States—by 2000 the number had grown 650 percent to nearly 1.5 million. Over the same period, the total foreign-born population grew at half the rate of the Middle Eastern population. Since 1990, the Middle Eastern population has increased 80 percent.[7] Citizenship rates are relatively high among Middle Easterners.[7] With a total illegal alien population estimated at eight to nine million (150,000 from the Middle East) living in the United States, violations of immigration laws are very common, but there is no evidence that Middle Easterners violate U.S. immigration law at rates higher than other immigrant groups.[7]

Assuming a similar growth rate in this population as for the Middle East immigrant population overall, the number of young children in Middle Eastern families is likely to grow to roughly 950,000 over the next decade.[when?][7] In less than 10 years the number of Middle Eastern immigrants and their young children will grow to 3.4 million. indicating that the successful incorporation and assimilation of these immigrants and their children will be of increasing importance to the United States.[7]

Middle Eastern ancestries table[edit]

Middle Eastern Americans in the 2000[12] - 2010 U.S. Census[13]
Ancestry 2000 2000 (% of US population) 2010 2010 (% of US population)
Afghanistan Afghan 53,709 % 79,775 %
Arab 1,160,729 % 1,697,570 %
Armenia Armenian 385,488 % 474,559 %
Assyrian/Chaldo-Assyrian 81,749 % 106,821 %
Azerbaijan Azerbaijani 14,205 % %
Cyprus Cypriot 7,643 % %
Georgia (country) Georgian 6,298 % %
Iran Iranian 338,266 % 463,552 %
Israel Israeli 106,839 % 129,359 %
Iraqi Kurdistan Kurdish 9,423 % %
Syriac 606 % %
Tajikistan Tajik 905 % %
Turkey Turkish 117,575 % 195,283 %
"Middle Eastern" 28,400 % %
"North Caucasian" 596 % %
"North Caucasian Turkic" 1,347 % 290,893 %

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thomas Gryn; Christine Gambino (October 2012). "The Foreign Born From Asia: 2011". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Campbell Gibson; Emily Lennon. "Region and Country or Area of Birth of the Foreign-Born Population: 1960 to 1990". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Batalova, Jeanne. "Asian Immigrants in the United States". Migration Information Source. Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Terrazas, Aaron. "Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants in the United States". Migration Information Source. Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  5. ^ AMIDEAST Official Website
  6. ^ http://digital.library.okstate.edu/encyclopedia/entries/m/mi007.html
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h http://www.cis.org/MiddleEasternImmigrantsProfile
  8. ^ The Arab American Institute
  9. ^ Presentation at Al
  10. ^ "NHIS Survey Description 2010". National Health Interview Survey. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  11. ^ Fernández-Kelly, Patricia (2013). Health Care and Immigration: Understanding the Connections. Oxford and New York: Routledge. p. 157. ISBN 1317967259. 
  12. ^ "Table 1. First, Second, and Total Responses to the Ancestry Question by Detailed Ancestry Code: 2000". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  13. ^ "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.