Palestinian Americans

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Palestinian Americans
فلسطينيو أمريكا
Total population
85,186 (2009-13 American Community Survey)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Northern New Jersey and New York City Metropolitan Area; also Michigan, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Arizona
American English
Palestinian Arabic
Islam (Sunni) and
Christianity (Eastern Orthodox, Catholic)
Related ethnic groups
Jordanian Americans, Syrian Americans, Lebanese Americans, and other Arab Americans

Palestinian Americans (Arabic: فلسطينيو أمريكا‎‎), are Americans of Palestinian ancestry. It is difficult to say when the first Palestinian immigrants arrived in the United States; however, most of the first immigrants to arrive were Christians escaping persecution in Ottoman Palestine in the late 19th century. Later immigrants came to the country fleeing the Arab–Israeli or Palestinian conflicts.


The New York City Metropolitan Area, including Northern New Jersey, is home to the largest Palestinian population in the United States.

The first Palestinians who emigrated to the United States arrived after 1908[citation needed]. Palestinian emigration began to decline after 1924, with the law limiting the number of immigrants, as well as the Great Depression. The population began to increase after World War II: the Arab-Israeli War, the Nakba, and the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948 caused many Palestinians to immigrate, most as refugees. However, the greatest wave of Palestinian immigration began in 1967 after the Six-Day War, or as Arabs call it the June War. This wave of immigrants reached its peak in the 1980s. Most Palestinians that immigrated to the United States in this period were more educated than the Palestinians that arrived until 1967, thanks to the schools sponsored by the ONU and the increased number of universities in the Middle East.[2]


Paterson, New Jersey, within the New York metropolitan area, is home to Little Istanbul or Little Ramallah,[3][4] the largest Palestinian American and Turkish American enclave.

Many Palestinians settled in the metropolitan areas of New York City and Paterson[3][4] in northern New Jersey, as well as in California, Phoenix, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland, alongside other Mediterranean communities, including the Lebanese, Syrians, Greeks, Italians, Egyptians and Turks.

Paterson, New Jersey has been nicknamed Little Ramallah and contains a neighborhood with the same name, with an Arab American population estimated as high as 20,000 in 2015.[5]

According to the 2000 United States Census, there were 72,112 people of Palestinian ancestry living in the United States, increasing to 85,186 by the 2009-2013 American Community Survey.[1]


In the United States approximately 46% of Palestinians have obtained at least a college degree, compared to 18% of the American population.[6] The study of culture and the Arabic language is increasingly important among Palestinians, especially in college and graduate school. Thus, some Palestinian or Arab organizations are working to monitor and improve the teaching of Arab history and culture in the American schools.[2]

Language and culture[edit]

Palestinian culture is a blend of Eastern Mediterranean influences. Palestinians share commonalities with nearby Levantine peoples, including Egyptians, Lebanese, Syrians, and Jordanians. Palestinians speak Palestinian Arabic.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "First Ancestry Reported (B04001): 2009–2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 30, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Palestinian Americans by Ken Kurson. Retrieved December 07, 2011, to 19:11 pm.
  3. ^ a b Hannan Adely (2014-07-19). "Hundreds of Palestinians rally in Paterson in protest of Israeli military campaign". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  4. ^ a b Richard Cowen (2014-05-18). "Paterson's Palestinians celebrate annual flag-raising at City Hall". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  5. ^ Deena Yellin (2015-05-03). "Palestinian flag-raising is highlight of heritage week in Paterson". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  6. ^ Educational Attainment in the United States: 2012 - USCB. Retrieved June 25, 2013.

External links[edit]