Jump to content

Middle Eastern Americans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Middle-Eastern Americans)

Middle Eastern Americans
Total population
3.5 million[1] (2020)
1.06% of the population
10.5-11.0 million including American Jews
Regions with significant populations
Mostly in the major metropolitan areas

Middle Eastern Americans are Americans of Middle Eastern background. Although once considered Asian Americans, the modern definition of "Asian American" now excludes people with West Asian backgrounds.[2]

According to the 2020 United States census, over 3.5 million people self-identified as being Middle Eastern and North African ethnic origin. However, this definition includes more than just the Middle East.[3]


One of the first large groups of immigration from the Middle East to the United States came by boat from the Ottoman Empire in the late 1800s. Although U.S. officials referred to them as Turkish, most referred to themselves as Syrian, and it is estimated that 85 percent of these Ottoman immigrants came from modern Lebanon. Later, new categories were created for Syrians and Lebanese.[4]: 4 

The number of Armenians who migrated to the U.S. from 1820 to 1898 is estimated to be around 4,000[5] and according to the Bureau of Immigration, 54,057 Armenians entered the U.S. between 1899 and 1917, with the vast majority coming from the Ottoman Empire.[6] The largest Armenian American communities at that time were located in New York City; Fresno; Worcester, Massachusetts; Boston; Philadelphia; Chicago; Jersey City; Detroit; Los Angeles; Troy, New York; and Cleveland.[7]

Another wave of immigration from the Middle East began in 1946, peaking after the 1960s. Since 1968, these immigrants have arrived from such countries as Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon.[4]: 11 

MENA census category[edit]

The U.S. Census Bureau is still finalizing the ethnic classification of MENA populations for the 2030 U.S. census. Middle Eastern Americans are currently counted as racially White on the census, although many do not identify as such. In 2012, prompted in part by post-9/11 discrimination, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee petitioned the Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency to designate the MENA populations as a minority/disadvantaged community.[8] Following consultations with MENA organizations, the U.S. Census Bureau announced in 2014 that it would establish a new MENA ethnic category for populations from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Arab world, separate from the "white" classification that these populations had previously sought in 1909. The expert groups felt that the earlier "White" designation no longer accurately represents MENA identity, so they successfully lobbied for a distinct categorization.[9][10] This process does not currently include ethnoreligious groups such as Sikhs, as the Bureau only tabulates these groups as followers of religions rather than members of ethnic groups.[11]

According to the Arab American Institute, countries of origin for Arab Americans include Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. As of December 2015, the sampling strata for the new MENA category includes the Census Bureau's working classification of 19 MENA groups, as well as Armenian, Afghan, Iranian, Israeli, Azerbaijani, and Georgian groups.[12]

The new category will identify "Israeli" as a choice and raises questions as to how the large U.S. Jewish population (7-8 million) will identify.[13] In prior censuses, American Jews were treated as a religion rather than an ethnicity and thus not enumerated.[13]

The new question on the U.S. census will identify members of the MENA category to include:[14]

"Individuals with origins in any of the original peoples of the Middle East or North Africa, including, for example, Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi, and Israeli."


Ancestry U.S. Census Bureau
Arab Americans 2,005,223 3,700,000[16][17]
Armenian Americans 485,970 500,000–1,500,000[18][19]
Iranian Americans 476,967 1,000,000–2,000,000[20][21][22][23]
Turkish Americans 222,593 1,000,000–3,000,000+[24][25][26]
Israeli Americans 139,127
Coptic Americans
Assyrian, Chaldean, or Syriac Americans 101,135 110,807–600,000[31][32][33][34][35]
Kurdish Americans
Berber Americans
Jewish Americans

The population of Middle Eastern Americans includes both Arabs and non-Arabs. In their definitions of Middle Eastern Americans, United States Census Bureau and the National Health Interview Survey include peoples (diasporic or otherwise) from present-day Iran, Israel, Turkey, and Armenia.[38][39]

As of 2013, an estimated 1.02 million immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) lived in the United States, making up 2.5 percent of the country's 41.3 million immigrants.[40] Middle Eastern and North African immigrants have primarily settled in California (20%), Michigan (11%), and New York (10%). Data from the United States Census Bureau shows that from 2009 to 2013, the four counties with the most MENA immigrants were Los Angeles County, California; Wayne County, Michigan (Detroit), Cook County, Illinois (Chicago), and Kings County, New York (Brooklyn); these four counties collectively "accounted for about 19 percent of the total MENA immigrant population in the United States."[41]

By ethnicity[edit]

Although the United States census has recorded race and ethnicity since the first census in 1790, this information has been voluntary since the end of the Civil War (non-whites were counted differently from 1787 to 1868 for the purpose of determining congressional representation).[42] As such, these statistics do not include those who did not volunteer this optional information, and so the census underestimates the total populations of each ethnicity actually present.[43]

Although tabulated, "religious responses" were reported as a single total and not differentiated, despite totaling 1,089,597 in 2000.[44]

Independent organizations provide improved estimates of the total populations of races and ethnicities in the U.S. using the raw data from the U.S. census and other surveys.

According to a 2002 Zogby International survey, the majority of Arab Americans were Christian; the survey showed that 24% of Arab Americans were Muslim, 63% were Christian and 13% belonged to another religion or no religion.[45] Christian Arab Americans include Maronites, Melkites, Chaldeans, Orthodox Christians, and Copts; Muslim Arab Americans primarily adhere to one of the two main Islamic denominations, Sunni and Shia.[45]

Notable people[edit]





See also[edit]


  1. ^ "3.5 Million Reported Middle Eastern and North African Descent in 2020". Census.gov. September 21, 2023. Retrieved May 21, 2024.
  2. ^ Cortellessa, Eric (October 23, 2016). "Israeli, Palestinian Americans could share new 'Middle Eastern' census category". The Times Of Israel. Retrieved September 21, 2020. This derives from a 1915 court ruling in Dow v. United States, in which a Syrian American, George Dow, appealed his being classified by the government as Asian. At the time, such a designation resulted in the denial of citizenship under the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.
  3. ^ "3.5 Million Reported Middle Eastern and North African Descent in 2020". Census.gov. September 21, 2023. Retrieved May 21, 2024.
  4. ^ a b Marvasti, Amir; McKinney, Karyn D. (2004). Middle Eastern Lives in America. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 0-7425-1957-0. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  5. ^ Peroomian & Avakian 2003, p. 34.
  6. ^ Malcom 1919, p. 67.
  7. ^ Malcom 1919, p. 73.
  8. ^ "Lobbying for a 'MENA' category on U.S. Census" Wiltz, Teresea. USA Today. Published October 7, 2014. Accessed December 14, 2015.
  9. ^ "Public Comments to NCT Federal Register Notice" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau; Department of Commerce. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  10. ^ Cohen, Debra Nussbaum. "New U.S. Census Category to Include Israeli' Option". Haaretz. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  11. ^ "2015 National Content Test" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. pp. 33–34. Retrieved December 13, 2015. The Office of Management and Budget is undertaking related mid-decade research for coding and classifying detailed national origins and ethnic groups, and is considering adding a Middle Eastern or North African checkbox in a combined race and ethnicity question. Our consultations with external experts on the Asian community have also suggested Sikh receive a unique code classified under Asian. The Census Bureau does not currently tabulate on religious responses to the race or ethnic questions (e.g., Sikh, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Lutheran, etc.).
  12. ^ "2015 National Content Test" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. p. 60. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
  13. ^ a b Mirsky, Maya (May 4, 2023). "Are Jews white? Proposed census change wades into issue". The Jewish News of Northern California – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "What Updates to OMB's Race/Ethnicity Standards Mean for the Census Bureau". United States Census Bureau. April 8, 2024.
  15. ^ "PEOPLE REPORTING ANCESTRY Universe: Total population more information 2017 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". factfinder.census.gov. United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 9 August 2019. PDF
  16. ^ Brown, Heather; Guskin, Emily; Mitchell, Amy (November 28, 2012). "Arab-American Population Growth". Arab-American Media. Pew Research Center. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  17. ^ "Demographics". Arab American Institute. Archived from the original on 23 October 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  18. ^ "Armenian American Song". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on 19 August 2019. Today, most of the 500,000-strong Armenian population...
  19. ^ "President Biden's message to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on the occasion of 30th anniversary of Armenia's Independence". am.usembassy.gov. U.S. Embassy in Armenia. 21 September 2021. Archived from the original on 23 September 2021. ...1.5 million Armenian-Americans...
  20. ^ "How many Iranians are in the U.S.A?". Shargh Newspaper (in Persian). Entekhab Professional News Site. 20 May 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  21. ^ "A country which has the largest number of Iranians after Iran". Tabnak (in Persian). Entekhab Professional News Site. 5 May 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  22. ^ "Revealing of the number of Iranians in the outside Iran". Hafte Sobh Newspaper (in Persian). Bartarinha News Portal. 9 September 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  23. ^ "The number of Iranians who live outside was announced/ 7 countries which have the largest number of Iraninas" (in Persian). Mehr News Agency. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  24. ^ "Remarks by Commerce Secretary Bryson, April 5, 2012", Foreign Policy Bulletin, 22 (3), Cambridge University Press: 137, 2012, Here in the U.S., you can see our person-to-person relationships growing stronger each day. You can see it in the 13,000 Turkish students that are studying here in the U.S. You can see it in corporate leaders like Muhtar Kent, the CEO of Coca-Cola, and you can see it in more than one million Turkish-Americans who add to the rich culture and fabric of our country.
  25. ^ Remarks at Center for American Progress & Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey (TUSKON) Luncheon, U.S. Department of Commerce, 2012, retrieved 13 November 2020
  26. ^ Lucena, Jorge (2022), MEET MURAD ISLAMOV: THE FOUNDER AND CEO OF MAYA BAGEL EXPRESS, Flaunt, archived from the original on 26 March 2022, retrieved 26 March 2022, Over 3 million Turkish Americans live in various states across the united states. They have had a significant impact on the united states' culture, achievements, and history.
  27. ^ According to published accounts and several Coptic/US sources (including the US-Coptic Association), the Coptic Orthodox Church has between 700,000 and one million members in the United States (c. 2005–2007). "Why CCU?". Coptic Credit Union. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
  28. ^ "Coptics flock to welcome 'Baba' at Pittsburgh airport". Pittsburgh Tribune (2007). Archived from the original on March 19, 2009. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
  29. ^ "State's first Coptic Orthodox church is a vessel of faith". JS Online (2005). Archived from the original on August 21, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
  30. ^ "Coptic Diaspora". US-Copts Association (2007). Archived from the original on 2007-02-20. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
  31. ^ Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). "American FactFinder – Results". Archived from the original on 12 February 2020. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  32. ^ "Selected Population Profile in the United States : 2011 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". Factfinder2.census.gov. Archived from the original on 2020-02-12. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  33. ^ "Assyrian Genocide Resolution Read in Arizona Assembly". www.aina.org.
  34. ^ "Arizona HCR2006 – TrackBill". trackbill.com.
  35. ^ "HCR2006 – 542R – I Ver". www.azleg.gov.
  36. ^ "The Kurdish Diaspora". The Kurdish Institute of Paris. 2017.
  37. ^ Mitchell, Travis (2021-05-11). "1. The size of the U.S. Jewish population". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 2024-06-09.
  38. ^ "2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Public Use Data Release" (PDF). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. June 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  39. ^ Fernández-Kelly, Patricia; Portes, Alejandro (31 October 2013). Health Care and Immigration: Understanding the Connections. Taylor & Francis. p. 157. ISBN 978-1-317-96724-8. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  40. ^ "To Capture The Middle East & North Africa's Population Of 400 Million, Look To This Country". Forbes.
  41. ^ Jie Zong & Jeanne Batalova, Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants in the United States, Migration Policy Institute (June 3, 2015).
  42. ^ Pratt, Beverly M.; Hixson, Lindsay; Jones, Nicholas A. (November 2, 2015). "Measuring Race And Ethnicity Across The Decades: 1790–2010". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on November 6, 2015. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  43. ^ "Arab and other Middle Eastern Americans". minorityrights. 19 June 2015.
  44. ^ "Table 1. First, Second, and Total Responses to the Ancestry Question by Detailed Ancestry Code: 2000" (XLS). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  45. ^ a b "Arab Americans: An Integral Part of American Society" (PDF). Arab American National Museum. pp. 15–16.
  46. ^ Chemical Engineering - People - Ilhan A. Aksay Archived 2007-12-31 at the Wayback Machine
  47. ^ Elias James Corey – Autobiography
  48. ^ "Michael e. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas". Archived from the original on 2006-09-25. Retrieved 2006-08-05. "The Lebanese American University honored Michael E. DeBakey..." [1] "His parents were Lebanese immigrants Raheehja DeBakey and Shaker Morris"
  49. ^ "2003 Honorary Degree". Purdue University. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  50. ^ http://www.starsofscience.com/phase-2/temps/arab_inventors.asp[permanent dead link]
  51. ^ http://publicweb.unimap.edu.my/~ptrpi/v1/index2.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=36&Itemid=248[permanent dead link]
  52. ^ Sheridan, Mary Beth, "Leader Named at Mosque; Falls Church Site Selects Activist," Washington Post, June 11, 2005, accessed November 7, 2009
  53. ^ "AU Sociology Professor Samih K. Farsoun Dies". The Washington Post. June 14, 2005. Retrieved May 8, 2010.
  54. ^ Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy Biographical Data on Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad
  55. ^ Minaret.org staff description.
  56. ^ "Abass Alavi, MD". Archived from the original on 2009-04-25. Retrieved 2009-01-17.
  57. ^ "MEALAC | Hamid Dabashi". Archived from the original on 2006-07-16. Retrieved 2006-07-06.
  58. ^ "Ghaffari, Roozbeh | Faculty | Northwestern Engineering". www.mccormick.northwestern.edu.
  59. ^ "Carnegie Corporation - About". Archived from the original on 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
  60. ^ "Payam Heydari". Ece.uci.edu. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  61. ^ "Hamid Jafarkhani's Web Page". Ece.uci.edu. 2001-12-18. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  62. ^ "MIT Department of Physics". Archived from the original on 2011-09-06. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
  63. ^ "The Center for Persian Studies ::". Archived from the original on 2006-03-08. Retrieved 2006-04-17.
  64. ^ "Homayoon Kazerooni | Mechanical Engineering". Me.berkeley.edu. Archived from the original on 2015-07-19. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  65. ^ "Faculty Profile". Archived from the original on 2009-07-18. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  66. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2011-09-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  67. ^ "Mars Exploration: Features". Archived from the original on 2008-01-20. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
  68. ^ "Mars Exploration: Features". Mars.jpl.nasa.gov. Archived from the original on 2016-08-14. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  69. ^ Daron Acemoglu: A Turk of Armenian descent Archived February 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  70. ^ Economics: Permanent Faculty Members Archived 2008-01-01 at the Wayback Machine
  71. ^ "Robotic Prostate Surgery – NYC – The Mount Sinai Hospital". Mountsinai.org. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  72. ^ "JPL Robotics: People: Homayoun Seraji". Robotics.jpl.nasa.gov. Archived from the original on 2012-08-06. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  73. ^ "California State University, Fresno". Csufresno.edu. 2016-07-13. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  74. ^ "Global Finance Association". Glofin.org. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  75. ^ "Columbia University: Directory". Directory.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  76. ^ "Narratives and Testimonies". College of Liberal Arts | University of Minnesota. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  77. ^ "Asim Orhan Barut". phys.lsu.edu. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  78. ^ Harvard Üniversitesi'nde Türk Profesör
  79. ^ "Homepages of Turkish Faculty Members". www.turkishnews.com. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  80. ^ P-ROK| Vol. 2 Num.2 | The Color of Leadership: On psychological biography of Ataturk: An Interview With Norman Itzkowitz, Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies[permanent dead link]
  81. ^ Nur O. Yalman Archived 2007-10-18 at the Wayback Machine
  82. ^ "Professor Osman Yasar Named One of "Top 30 Most Successful Turks in the World"". hub.mspnet.org. Archived from the original on 2019-12-25. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  83. ^ Daughters of Ataturk – Biographies
  84. ^ "Free Internet Security and Antivirus | Security Solutions from Comodo". comodo.com. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  85. ^ "2003 Honorary Degree". Purdue University. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  86. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-02-01. Retrieved 2019-12-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  87. ^ US Dept of State – Arab Americans and the 2004 U.S. Elections Archived 2006-06-06 at the Wayback Machine
  88. ^ Lycos Movies – Celebrity – Mario Kassar Archived 2006-05-01 at the Wayback Machine
  89. ^ "The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans: John J. Mack". Archived from the original on 2006-10-22. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
  90. ^ Ovadia, Avishai (Jun 6, 2018). "Freedom for Developers, Entrepreneurs and Business". Forbes.
  91. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2010-07-16.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  92. ^ "Apple - Photos - Sina Tamaddon". Archived from the original on 2011-03-05. Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  93. ^ American Chronicle | An Interview with James Abourezk, the First Arab American to Serve in the U.S. Senate Archived 2006-08-23 at the Wayback Machine
  94. ^ Omestad, Thomas (11 May 2011). "Boustany Calls for Clear U.S. Strategy on Lebanon". Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  95. ^ Richards, Brandon (28 August 2009). "Crowley native, wife of Kennedy at center of national spotlight". Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  96. ^ Shumway, Julia (2023-11-02). "Oregon Republicans target lawmaker over pro-Palestine statement • Oregon Capital Chronicle". Oregon Capital Chronicle. Retrieved 2024-03-18.
  97. ^ "George A. Kasem, 82; First Arab American in House". Los Angeles Times. February 14, 2002. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  98. ^ Steinhauer, Jennifer (6 January 2014). "From Petraeus Scandal, an Apostle for Privacy". The New York Times.
  99. ^ a b c d e f Adalian, Rouben Paul (2010). Historical Dictionary of Armenia. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. pp. 254–255. ISBN 978-0-8108-7450-3.
  100. ^ "Armenian-American Anthony Brindisi from upstate New York elected to U.S. Congress, several other ANCA-endorsed candidates win in midterms". Armenpress. 7 November 2018.
  101. ^ Bakalian, Anny (2011). Armenian-Americans: from being to feeling Armenian. Somerset, N.J.: Transaction. p. 176. ISBN 9781412842273.

Further reading[edit]