Middle Eastern Americans
3.2% of the total U.S. population (2010)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Continental United States, smaller populations in Alaska and Hawaii|
|English · Arabic · Aramaic · Azerbaijani · Armenian · Georgian · Greek · Hebrew · Kurdish · Persian · Turkish · others|
|Christianity: (Eastern Orthodoxy · Catholicism)|
Islam · Judaism · Druze · Zoroastrianism · Atheism · Yezidism · Agnosticism · Deism
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the term "Middle Eastern American" applies to anyone of Western Asian and North African extraction. This definition includes both indigenous Middle Eastern groups in diaspora (e.g. the Jewish diaspora, Kurdish Americans, Assyrian Americans, etc.) and current immigrants from modern-day countries of the Arab League, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Georgia, Iran, Israel and Turkey. Middle Eastern communities have been settling in America since at least the Dutch colonial period of New Amsterdam, when Sephardic Jews fleeing persecution in Brazil found refuge there in 1654.
The population of Middle Eastern Americans includes both Arabs and non-Arabs. In their definitions of Middle Eastern Americans, U.S. Census Bureau and the National Health Interview Survey include peoples (diasporic or otherwise) from present-day Armenia, Cyprus, Iran, Israel, Turkey, and Central Asia.
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. Middle Eastern and North African immigrants have primarily settled in California (20%), Michigan (11%), and New York (10 percent). U.S. Census Bureau data 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."
Although the U.S. 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). 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.
|Ancestry||2000||2000 (% of US population)||2010||2010 (% of US population)|
|"North Caucasian Turkic"||1,347||0.0005%||290,893||0.0942%|
Although tabulated, "religious responses" were reported as a single total and not differentiated, despite totaling 1,089,597 in 2000.
Independent organizations provide improved estimates of the total populations of races and ethnicities in the US using the raw data from the US Census and other surveys.
For example, although any respondents who self-identified as Jewish were previously included under the religious responses in the census, as Jews are an ethnoreligious group with culture and ethnicity intertwined, estimates from the Mandell L. Berman Institute and the North American Jewish Data Bank put the total population of Jews between 5.34 and 6.16 million in 2000 and around 6.54 million in 2010. Similarly, the Arab-American Institute estimated the population of Arab Americans at 3.7 million in 2012.
According to a 2002 Zogby International survey, the majority of Arab Americans are Christian; the survey showed that 24% of Arab Americans were Muslim, 63% were Christian and 13% belonged to another religion or no religion. 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.
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- Jie Zong & Jeanne Batalova, Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants in the United States, Migration Policy Institute (June 3, 2015).
- Beverly M. Pratt; Lindsay Hixson; Nicholas A. Jones (November 2, 2015). "Measuring Race And Ethnicity Across The Decades: 1790-2010". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
- "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.
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- Maghbouleh, Neda (2017). The Limits of Whiteness: Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.