|14,716 (2010, US census)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Related ethnic groups|
From 1821 to 1830, 16 African immigrants arrived in the United States; from 1841 to 1850, 55 more arrived. In immigration records until 1899 (and in census records until 1920), all Arabs were recorded together in a category known as "Turkey in Asia". Until the 1960s, North African Berbers were counted as "other Africans". Census records suggest that only a few hundred Muslim men migrated to the United States between 1900 and 1914.
Algeria was first introduced as an immigrant record category in 1975; 72 Algerians immigrated to the U.S. that year. Immigration numbers increased steadily, so that by 1984, 197 Algerian immigrants arrived in the United States. Fourteen were relatives of U.S. citizens, and thirty-one were admitted on the basis of occupational preference. In 1998, 1,378 Algerians were winners of the DV-99 diversity lottery. The diversity lottery is conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
The U.S. Census is not allowed to categorize by religion, so the number of Islamic followers in the United States can not be counted in this manner. However, the census is permitted to list Arab ancestry. In many cases, Algerian immigrants are listed as "Other Arabs" when statistics are cited. According to the 1990 U.S. Census, there were approximately 3,215 people of Algerian ancestry living in the United States. Of this group, 2,537 cited "Algerian" as their primary ancestry, and 678 people cited it as their secondary ancestry.
Of the "other Arabs" category in the 1990 U.S. Census, 45 percent were married, 40 percent were female, and 60 percent were male. During the 1990s, work visas for Algerians to the European Union were reduced, while the number of worker visas for Algerians and other North African people increased in the United States. This promoted the migration of Algerians to Chicago, seeking work and refuge from political persecution. They settled in a large area in the near Northwest Side of the city.
On November 1, 2009, an agreement between the U.S. and Algerian governments entered into effect, which extended the maximum length of time for which several categories of visas granted to Algerians entering the United States could last to 24 months.
Most Algerians speak Arabic, Berber, French, and, in the U.S., English. Algerian Americans have often settled in urban areas such as New York City, Miami, Washington and Los Angeles. The 1990 US Census lists New York City as the port of entry for 2,038 Algerians, followed by Washington with 357 Algerians, and Los Angeles with for 309. Of the 48 Algerians who became Americans in 1984, 12 settled in California looking better education or to flee instability and religious persecution. Employment opportunities for professionals such as scientists, physicians and academics result in a geographically wide settlement pattern of immigrants, often in communities without other Algerian Americans.
Algerian Americans also have created communities in universities, cities, and urban areas, such as New York City, Washington, D.C, Austin, Houston, Boston, Detroit, Seattle, San Diego, and the Inland Empire region east of Los Angeles. In the late 1990s, there were an estimated 12,500 African immigrants from a multitude of countries living in the Dallas area. A small Algerian population was established in Chicago prior to the 1990s, which mostly consisted of students and others with academic interests. However, a number of international events in Algeria, the EU, and the U.S. led to an influx of Algerian immigrants. According to Algerian community estimates, nearly 1,000 Algerians called Chicago home by the early 2000s. Chicago Algerians celebrate Algeria's independence from France on November 1.
Many Algerian Americans are highly educated with professional occupations. Most Algerians are Muslims. A study by Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi of Muslim immigrant communities in the West found that second generation Muslims compete for places at universities with ambitions of becoming doctors and engineers. These younger Muslims also plan to own homes and cars. Ummah, the Arabic word for "nation", makes no distinction between a citizen of a particular country and the worldwide Muslim community; thus, the universal Arab society may move from country to country without losing their distinct culture. Muslims pray at a mosque on Friday, and in this way an American city's Arab community comes together for the sharing of culture and identity. Most Algerian Americans observe Ramadan, a month of fasting. Algerian Americans follow the American custom of observing New Year's Day in January. Almost every night during the holy month of Ramadan, the Algerians join Moroccans and Tunisians in mosques, houses, and restaurants to break the fast during the day. Since 2000, a cafe on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago has donated food for the hundreds of North Africans who attended the feast ending Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr. During the rest of the year, coffee shops has served as informal meeting places for North African men before and after work.
Of the 197 Algerian immigrants in 1984, 116 were professionals and 81 had no occupation. Of this same group, 133 were spouses of Algerian Americans. Many Algerian Americans are employed as physicians, academics, and engineers. Overall, they had a better education than the average Algerian. Algerian American workers receive higher salaries and have more opportunities for advancement than those who remain in Algeria. The U.S. marketplace is more receptive to entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs. Back in Algeria, the entrepreneurial sector of society began to emerge as late as 1993. For most of Algeria's political history, the socialist orientation of the state precluded the development of a class of small business owners, and resulted in strong, public, anti-capitalist sentiment. Economic liberalization under Benjedid transformed many state-owned enterprises into private entities, and fostered the growth of an active and cohesive group of professional associations of small business owners, or patronat. The patronat, which consists of well over 10,000 members and counting, has strongly supported government reforms, and has persisted in its lobbying efforts. Some of its member associations include the Algerian Confederation of Employers, the General Confederation of Algerian Economic Operators, and the General Union of Algerian Merchants and Artisans. Many Algerians, most of them young, migrate illegally to the United States, and tend to spread throughout the country. At first, some end up working in fast food, bars, restaurants and gas stations, but most are determined to receive education and return to their country as their family's breadwinners.
Algerian Americans often form associations. For example, the Algerian American National Association, (AANA, founded in New York City in the early 1980s), and the Algerian American Association of Houston are two of many local communities which sponsor events, provide an environment to preserve and promote the Algerian heritage within the American fabric. Many of these organizations aim to strengthen ties of friendship and cooperation between the United States and Algeria. Other similar associations include the Algerian-American Association of New England, the Algerian American Association of Northern California, the Algerian-American Association of Northern California (AAA-NC), the Algerian-American Association of Greater Washington DC, the Algerian American Scientists Association, and the Algerian-American Foundation for Culture, Education, Science and Technology.
There are also important organizations created mainly by Algerian (and Moroccan) Americans in Chicago, whose function is to help newly arrived immigrants to the United States; these groups arose in the 1990s. These organizations emphasize the Assembly of the Maghreb which assists new immigrants from North Africa with adapting to American life and maintaining their culture and religion. Because most North African immigrants in Chicago have not been associated closely with the Muslim Middle East, they tend to come together as a distinct community whose organization has taught job skills and the English language among other things. The United Amazigh Algerian, a cultural association based in the San Francisco Bay area aims to promote the Berber culture in North America and beyond.