Lebanese diaspora

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Lebanese diaspora
Total population
From 8[1] to possibly 14 million[2]
Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, French, English, Lebanese Arabic, Armenian

Christianity, mainly Maronite, as well as Eastern Orthodox, Melkite, Roman Catholic, Protestant, and non-native to Lebanon like Armenian Orthodox, Armenian Catholic, Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholic.

Muslim, mainly Shia, Sunni, in addition to Druze, Alawite,

Lebanese Jews

Lebanese diaspora refers to Lebanese migrants and their descendants who, whether by choice or coercion, emigrated from Lebanon and now reside in other countries. There are more Lebanese living outside of Lebanon (8-14 million), than within (4 million). The majority of the diaspora population consists of Lebanese Christians; however, there are some who are Muslim, Druze, and Jewish. They trace their origin to several waves of Christian emigration, starting with the exodus that followed the 1860 Lebanon conflict in Ottoman Syria.

Under the current Lebanese nationality law, diaspora Lebanese do not have an automatic right of return to Lebanon. Due to varying degrees of assimilation and high degree of interethnic marriages in the Lebanese diaspora communities, regardless of religious affiliation; most diaspora Lebanese have not passed on the Arabic language to their children, while still maintaining a Lebanese ethnic identity.

Although there are no reliable figures, the diaspora is estimated to be around 14 million people, far more than the internal population of Lebanon of around 4 million.[2][3] According to other estimates the number of Lebanese living outside the country is thought to at the very least double the number of citizens living inside,[1] which means at least 8 million people. Of the diaspora, 1.2 million are Lebanese citizens.[4]


The Lebanese diaspora, while historically trade-related, has more recently been linked to the Lebanese Civil War, with many Lebanese emigrating to Western countries. Because of the economic opportunities, many Lebanese have also worked in the Arab World, most notably the Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Currently around 60% of Lebanese citizens resident in Lebanon are Muslim and around 40% are Christian.[5]

The Americas have long been a destination for Lebanese migration, with Lebanese arriving in some countries at least as early as the nineteenth century. The largest concentration of Lebanese outside the Middle East is in Brazil, which has, according to some sources, at least 6 million Brazilians of Lebanese ancestry, making Brazil's population of Lebanese more than twice that of the entire population of Lebanon. The population of Brazil of either full or partial Lebanese descent is estimated at 7 [6] million people by Arab-Brazilian organizations. According to a research conducted by IBGE in 2008, covering only the states of Amazonas, Paraíba, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso and Distrito Federal, 0.9% of white Brazilian respondents said they had family origins in the Middle East [7]

There are also other large Lebanese communities in Latin American countries, namely Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Dominican Republic. Many Lebanese have also been settled for quite some time in the United States, Canada, Australia and in the European Union member states. There are also sizable populations in francophone West Africa, particularly Ivory Coast.

Lebanese abroad are not presently permitted the right to vote in Lebanese elections. A law passed in late 2008 gives expatriates the right to vote in elections in 2013.[8]

Economic impacts[edit]

Lebanese abroad are considered "rich, educated and influential"[9] and over the course of time immigration has yielded Lebanese "commercial networks" throughout the world.[10] As a result, remittances from Lebanese abroad to family members within the country were estimated at $8.9 billion in 2014 and accounted for 18% of the country's economy.[11]

Lebanese populations in the diaspora[edit]

There are no reliable statistics about the actual number of people of Lebanese descent. The list below contains approximate figures for people of Lebanese descent by country of residence, largely taken from the iLoubnan diaspora map.[12] Additional reliable cites have been provided where possible. Additional estimates have been included where they can be cited; where applicable, these are used in place of the iLoubnan figures.

Country Estimate Upper Estimate Region Country article in English Wikipedia List of personalities of Lebanese origin
 Brazil 5,800,000;[12] according to a research conducted by IBGE in 2008, covering only the states of Amazonas, Paraíba, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso and Distrito Federal, 0.9% of white Brazilian respondents said they had family origins in the Middle East[7] 7,000,000[13](Brazilian/Lebanese governments)[14] Latin America Lebanese Brazilian Brazil
 Argentina 1,200,000[12][15] 1,500,000[15] Latin America Lebanese Argentine Argentina
 United States 500,000[16][note 1] 950,000 [17][note 2] North America Lebanese American USA
 Venezuela 341,000[12] 500,000[18] Latin America Lebanese Venezuelan Venezuela
 Australia 271,000[19][20] 350,000[21] Oceania Lebanese Australian Australia
 Mexico 240,000[12] 400,000[22] - 505,000[23] Latin America Lebanese Mexican Mexico
 Canada 190,275[24] 250,000[25] - 270,000[12] North America Lebanese Canadians Canada
 Colombia 125,000[12] 700,000[26] Latin America Lebanese Colombian Colombia
 Saudi Arabia 120,000[12] 299,000[27] Arab World Lebanese people in Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia
 Syria 114,000[28] Arab World Lebanese people in Syria Syria
 France 100,000[29][30] 225,000[12] - 250,000[31] European Union Lebanese French France
 Ecuador 98,000[12] Latin America Lebanese Ecuadorian Ecuador
 United Arab Emirates 80,000[3] 156,000[32] Arab World Lebanese people in the United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates
 Uruguay 53,000[12] 70,000[33] Latin America Lebanese Uruguayan Uruguay
 Germany 50,000[34] European Union Lebanese German Germany
 Ivory Coast 50,000[35] 90,000[36] Sub-saharan Africa Lebanese people in Ivory Coast
 New Zealand 45,300[12] Oceania
 Kuwait 41,775[37] 106,000[38][39] Arab World Lebanese people in Kuwait
 Senegal 30,000[40][41] Sub-Saharan Africa Lebanese Senegalese
 Qatar 25,000[42] 191,000[43] Arab World Lebanese people in Qatar
 Spain 11,820[12] European Union Lebanese Spanish Spain
 South Africa 5,100[44] 20,000[45] Sub-Saharan Africa Lebanese people in South Africa South Africa
Caribbean[note 3] 545,200[12] Latin America Lebanese Jamaican Caribbean  · Cuba  · Haiti  · Jamaica
Rest of Latin America, ex. Caribbean[note 4] 181,800[12] Latin America Lebanese Chileans Chile  · Guatemala  · Dutch Antilles
Scandinavia 108,220[12] European Union Lebanese Swedish Sweden  · Denmark
Rest of GCC[note 5] 105,000[12] Arab World
Rest of European Union[note 6] 96,780[12] European Union Lebanese British  · Lebanese Bulgarian** · Lebanese Greek Bulgaria  · Cyprus  · Germany  · Italy  · Monaco  · Netherlands  · Switzerland  · UK
Rest of Sub-Saharan Africa[note 7] 42,510[12] Sub-Saharan Africa Lebanese Sierra Leonean Ghana  · Sierra Leone
North Africa[note 8] 14,000[12] North Africa Lebanese Egyptian Egypt
Asia[note 9] 2,600[12] Asia

Note: An important percentage of Arabs in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Portugal and Spain are of Lebanese ancestry. They are denoted ** for this purpose.

Notable persons of Lebanese descent[edit]

Prominent Lebanese Figures
وجوه من لبنان

StJhonMaron.jpg Charbel.jpg Estephane-Douaihi.jpg Peter Hoayek.JPG
Camille chamoun.jpg Fairuz in btd concert 2001.jpg Khalil Gibran.jpg

Carlos Slim Helú.jpg Sabah - Al Mawed.jpg Carlos Ghosn - India Economic Summit 2009.jpg Elie Saab in Beirut 2005.jpg
CharlesElachi.jpg John Abizaid.jpg Elissar Zakaria Khoury.jpg
Donna Shalala - Knight Foundation.jpg Ray LaHood official DOT portrait.jpg Michel Temer.jpg Naderspeak.JPG Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih.jpg UNICEF UK (14281378624) (cropped).jpg
Cardinal Nasrallah Peter Sfeir.jpg Béchara-Raï.jpg


Famous scientists of Lebanese descent include: Peter Medawar (Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine), Elias Corey (Nobel Prize in Chemistry), Michael Atiyah (Fields Medalist, Mathematics).

Prominent members of the Lebanese diaspora include Presidents and Vice-Presidents, e.g. Julio Teodoro Salem, Abdalá Bucaram, Alberto Dahik, Jamil Mahuad (all in Ecuador), Jacobo Majluta Azar (Dominican Republic), Julio Cesar Turbay (Colombia) and Alberto Abdala (Uruguay). Other famous politicians include Philip Habib US Politician and Peace Envoy, George J. Mitchell US Politician and Peace Envoy, Ralph Nader, 2004 and 2008 US presidential candidate, Edward Seaga Prime Minister of Jamaica.

Very famous businessmen of Lebanese descent include Carlos Slim Helú, Carlos Ghosn and Nicolas Hayek and famous names in entertainment like Danny Thomas, Salma Hayek, Shakira, Tony Shalhoub, Paul Anka, Mika and sportsmen like Doug Flutie, and Rony Seikaly.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 26% of 1.9m Americans of Arab descent
  2. ^ 26% of 3,665,789 Americans of Arab descent
  3. ^ Includes Cuba, Guadalupe & Haiti
  4. ^ Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru
  5. ^ Excludes Saudi Arabia & Kuwait, includes Iraq & Jordan
  6. ^ Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Monaco, Switzerland, United Kingdom
  7. ^ Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria & Sierra Leone
  8. ^ Egypt, Libya & rest of North Africa
  9. ^ Iran & Philippines

External links[edit]

  • The Lebanese Demographic Reality Lebanese Information Center, reviewed by Statistics Lebanon. 14 January 2013.
  • KUSUMO, Fitra Ismu, "ISLAM EN AMERICA LATINA Tomo I: La expansión del Islam y su llegada a América Latina (Spanish Edition)"[2]
  • KUSUMO, Fitra Ismu, "ISLAM EN AMÉRICA LATINA Tomo II: Migración Árabe a América Latina y el caso de México (Spanish Edition)" [3]
  • KUSUMO, Fitra Ismu, "ISLAM EN AMÉRICA LATINA Tomo III: El Islam hoy desde América Latina (Spanish Edition)"[4]


  1. ^ a b Bassil promises to ease citizenship for expatriates
  2. ^ a b "Country Profile: Lebanon". FCO. 3 April 2007. 
  3. ^ a b Lebanese Living in UAE Fear Deportation Al-Monitor, accessed December 2, 2013
  4. ^ "Petition for expatriate voting officially launched". The Daily Star. 14 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Study shows stable Christian population in Lebanon". The Daily Star. 7 February 2013. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ a b IBGE. IBGE: Características Étnico-Raciais da População.
  8. ^ "Lebanon approves new election law". BBC News. 30 September 2008. 
  9. ^ "The invisible occupation of Lebanon". The Christian Science Monitor. 18 May 2005. 
  10. ^ "Background Note: Lebanon". US Department of State. 1 December 2011. 
  11. ^ "IMF lowers Lebanon growth forecast to sluggish 2 percent". The Daily Star. 22 April 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Geographical Distribution of the Lebanese Diaspora". The Identity Chef. 
  13. ^ Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affaires
  14. ^ "Sleiman meets Brazilian counterpart, Lebanese community". The Daily Star. 23 April 2010. 
  15. ^ a b "Argentinian President's visit to the Lebanese Parliament". The Lebanese Parliament. 7 June 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-06-07. 
  16. ^ "Demographics". Arab American Institute. 
  17. ^ "Demographics" (PDF). Arab American Institute. 
  18. ^ historico.notitarde.com/1999/08/09/memoria/memoria6.html "In Venezuela currently reside five hundred thousand Lebanese citizens or of Lebanese ancestry..." (SPANISH)
  19. ^ "Australian Population: Ethnic Origins". Monash University. 1999. 
  20. ^ "Lebanese in Australia: Facts & Figures". General Consulate of Lebanon in Melbourne. 
  21. ^ "Lebanon country brief". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. March 2013. 
  22. ^ "The biggest enchilada". The Sunday Telegraph. 8 July 2007. 
  23. ^ Arab, Lebanese in Mexico
  24. ^ Statistics Canada (2011). "2011 National Household Survey: Data tables". 
  25. ^ "Canada and Lebanon, a special tie". CBC News}. 1 August 2006. 
  26. ^ "Colombia awakens to the Arab world". Brazil-Arab News Agency. 21 July 2009. 
  27. ^ Arab, Lebanese in Saudi Arabia
  28. ^ Arab, Lebanese in Syria
  29. ^ "Painting a Picture of Exile". New York Times. 27 November 2009. 
  30. ^ "The Lebanese in the World: An Entrepreneurial Minority". RMIT University. February 2004. 
  31. ^ http://francelebanon.blogspot.com/2008/03/lebanese-cultural-shocks-when-moving-to.html
  32. ^ Arab, Lebanese in United Arab Emirates
  33. ^ "INTERVIEW - L’ambassadeur Jorge Jure (Khoury) raconte son pays et ses propres origines" (PDF). Embassy of Uruguay (Lebanon) (in French). 19 February 2008. 
  34. ^ http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Sports/Football/2012/Apr-14/170193-what-is-it-about-lebanon-and-german-football.ashx#axzz2lLHf4Kh8
  35. ^ "Lebanese Émigré Enclaves in Africa Await Presidential Visit". Al-Akhbar. 6 Feb 2013. 
  36. ^ "Lebanese business makes up 35 percent of Ivory Coast economy". The Daily Star. 23 May 2011. 
  37. ^ http://www.alraimedia.com/Articles.aspx?id=412118
  38. ^ "The Global Financial Crisis: Impact on Lebanese Expatriates in the Gulf" (PDF). LERC. December 2009. 
  39. ^ Arab, Lebanese in Kuwait
  40. ^ "Lebanese Immigrants Boost West African Commerce". Voice of America. 1 November 2009. 
  41. ^ "Suleiman Tells Lebanese Expats in Senegal that he Rejects Sectarian Vote Law". Naharnet. 14 March 2013. 
  42. ^ "Qatar´s population by nationality". bq magazine. 7 December 2014. 
  43. ^ Arab, Lebanese in Qatar
  44. ^ Arab, Lebanese in South Africa
  45. ^ "The Struggle Of The Christian Lebanese For Land Ownership In South Africa". The Marionite Research Institute.