Middle Eastern Americans

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Middle Eastern Americans
Total population
9,981,332
3.2% of the total U.S. population (2010)
Regions with significant populations
Continental United States, smaller populations in Alaska and Hawaii
Languages
English · Arabic · Aramaic · Azerbaijani · Hebrew · Kurdish · Persian · Turkish · others
Religion
Christianity: (Eastern Orthodoxy · Catholicism)
Islam · Judaism · Druze · Zoroastrianism · Atheism · Yezidism · Agnosticism · Deism

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

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, Iran, Israel and Turkey.[1][2][3][4] 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.

Population[edit]

Max Amini, Iranian American stand-up comedian

The population of Middle Eastern Americans totals at least 10 million, combining the estimates for Arab Americans (3.7 million[5]) and Jewish Americans (6.5 million).[6]

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 Iran, Israel, Turkey, Central Asia, and the Caucasus.[7][8]

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.[9] Middle Eastern and North African immigrants have primarily settled in California (20%), Michigan (11%), and New York (10%). 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."[10]

By ethnicity[edit]

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).[11] 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.[12]

Middle Eastern Americans in the 2000[13] - 2010 U.S. Census,[14] the Mandell L. Berman Institute, and the North American Jewish Data Bank[6]
Ancestry 2000 2000 (% of US population) 2010 2010 (% of US population)
Arab League Arab 1,160,729 0.4125% 1,697,570 0.5498%
Armenia Armenian 385,488 0.1370% 474,559 0.1537%
Assyria Assyrian/Chaldo-Assyrian 81,749 0.0290% 106,821 0.0346%
Azerbaijan Azerbaijani 14,205 0.0050% %
Georgia (country) Georgian 6,298 0.0022% %
Iran Iranian 338,266 0.1202% 463,552 0.1501%
Israel Israeli 106,839 0.0380% 129,359 0.0419%
Israel Jewish 6,155,000 2.1810% 6,543,820 2.1157%
Kurdistan Region Kurdish 9,423 0.0033% %
Syriac 606 0.0002% %
Tajikistan Tajik 905 0.0003% %
Turkey Turkish 117,575 0.0418% 195,283 0.0633%
"Middle Eastern" 28,400 0.0101% %
"North Caucasian" 596 0.0002% %
"North Caucasian Turkic" 1,347 0.0005% 290,893 0.0942%
Total 8,561,129 3.033718% 9,981,332 3.227071%
Armenian American dancers in New York City in July 1976 during the United States Bicentennial

Although tabulated, "religious responses" were reported as a single total and not differentiated, despite totaling 1,089,597 in 2000.[13]

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.

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.[6] Similarly, the Arab-American Institute estimated the population of Arab Americans at 3.7 million in 2012.[5]

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.[15] 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.[15]

Notable People[edit]

Academia[edit]

Business[edit]

The most famous ones include

Literature[edit]

Politics[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Maghbouleh, Neda (2017). The Limits of Whiteness: Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.