The Arab American Community
The United States is home to nearly 3 million Arab Americans. The cities with largest Arab American populations are Los Angeles, Detroit, New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Diversity in the Arab-American Population
There are 22 Arab countries, including Palestine, which are members of the Arab League and share a common history, language and culture-the immigrants who migrated to America are from a select group of Arab countries.
Arab Americans are not officially recognized as a federal minority group and because of this, reporting numbers are almost never exact.
Arab American Origins
- The Arab World includes 22 countries stretching from North Africa in the west to the Arabian Gulf in the east.
- Arabs are ethnically, religiously and politically diverse but descend from a common linguistic and cultural heritage.
- Not all Arabs are Muslim.
- Not all Muslims are Arab.
- Arab Americans began arriving to the United States during the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Arab American Population
- Today there are approximately 3 million Arab Americans in the U.S.
- About one of every three Arab Americans lives in one of the nation’s six largest metropolitan areas.
- About 90 percent live in urban areas.
- 66 percent of Arab Americans live in 10 states.
- 33 percent live in California, Michigan and New York/New Jersey.
- The cities with largest Arab American populations are Los Angeles, Detroit, New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
U.S. Arab American Population
|Nationality Group||Population Estimates|
Arab American Religion
- The Arab American community is religiously diverse.
- Almost every major religion is represented in the Arab American community.
- Christians: Maronite Catholic, Melkite Catholic, Syrian Catholic, Chaldean Catholic, Roman Catholic, Antiochian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Protestant
- Muslims: Sunni, Shia and Druze
Arab American Education
- Arab Americans with at least a high school diploma number 85%
- More than 4 out of 10 Arab Americans have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- 17% of Arab Americans have a post-graduate degree which is nearly twice the American average (9%).
- Of the school age population, 13% are in pre-school, 58% are in elementary or high school, 22% are enrolled in college and 7% are in graduate school.
Arab American Income
- Median income for Arab American households in 1999 was $47,000 compared with $42,000 for all households in the U.S.
- Approximately 30% have an annual household income of more than $75,000 compared to 22% of all households in the U.S.
- Mean income for Arab American households measures at 8% higher than the national average of $56,644.
- Arab American incomes are 22% higher than the U.S. national average.
See “Arab Americans in Michigan 2005”
East Lansing: Michigan State University Press 2005
(part of the “Discovering the People of Michigan” series)
- Aswad, Barbara and Barbara Bilge, Eds. 1996 Family and Gender Among American Muslims: Issues Facing Middle Eastern Immigrants and their Descendents. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
- Aswad, Barbara, ed. Arabic Speaking communities in American Cities. New York: Center for Migration Studies, 1974.
- Hassoun, Rosina Arab Americans in Michigan 2005. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press 2005 (part of the “Discovering the People of Michigan” series)
- Khater, Fouad. 2001 Inventing Home: Immigration, Gender, and the Middle Class in Lebanon, 1870-1920. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- McCarus, Ernest, ed. 1994 The Development of Arab American Identity. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
- Strumm, Philippa, Ed. 2006 American Arabs and Political Participation. Washington: Woodrow Wilson International Center.
- Suleiman, Michael, ed. 1999 Arabs in America: Building a New Future. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.