This page uses content from Wikipedia and is licensed under CC BY-SA.

Middle Eastern Americans

Middle Eastern Americans
Total population
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

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, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Georgia, 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.[5]


Max Amini, Persian American stand-up comedian

The population of Middle Eastern Americans totals at least 10 million, combining the estimates for Arab Americans (3.7 million[6]) and Jewish Americans (6.5 million).[7]

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.[8][9]

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 [10]. 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."[11]

By ethnicity

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).[12] 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. [13]

Middle Eastern Americans in the 2000[14] - 2010 U.S. Census,[15] the Mandell L. Berman Institute, and the North American Jewish Data Bank[7]
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% %
Cyprus Cypriot 7,643 0.0027% %
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 8,568,772 3.036418% 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.[14]

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

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.[16] 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.[16]

See also


  1. ^ Thomas Gryn; Christine Gambino (October 2012). "The Foreign Born From Asia: 2011" (PDF). American Community Survey Briefs, ACSBR/11-06. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  2. ^ Campbell Gibson; Emily Lennon (March 9, 1999). "Historical census statistics on the foreign-born population of the United - Region and Country or Area of Birth of the Foreign-Born Population: 1960 to 1990". Bureau of the Census. Population Division. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  3. ^ Jeanne Batalova (May 24, 2011). "Asian Immigrants in the United States". Migration Information Source. Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  4. ^ Gregory Auclair; Jeanne Batalova (September 26, 2013). "Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants in the United States". Migration Information Source. Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  5. ^ "Jews in America: New Amsterdam's Jewish Crusader (1655)". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Heather Brown; Emily Guskin; Amy Mitchell (November 28, 2012). "Arab-American Population Growth". Arab-American Media. Pew Research Center. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Ira Sheskin; Arnold Dashefsky (2010). "Jewish Population in the United States, 2010" (PDF). Mandell L. Berman Institute North American Jewish Data Bank, Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life University of Connecticut. Brandeis University. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ Patricia Fernández-Kelly; Alejandro Portes (31 October 2013). Health Care and Immigration: Understanding the Connections. Taylor & Francis. p. 157. ISBN 978-1-317-96724-8. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  10. ^ "To Capture The Middle East & North Africa's Population Of 400 Million, Look To This Country". forbes.
  11. ^ Jie Zong & Jeanne Batalova, Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants in the United States, Migration Policy Institute (June 3, 2015).
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "Arab and other Middle Eastern Americans". minorityrights.
  14. ^ a b "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.
  15. ^ "Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more ancestry categories reported: 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
  16. ^ a b "Arab Americans: An Integral Part of American Society" (PDF). Arab American National Museum. pp. 15–16.

Further reading

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