Demographics

DEMOGRAPHICS

To see the most current Arab American demographic information, visit the Arab American Institute’s Demographics page.

Population*

  • Arab immigrants began coming to the U.S. in sizable numbers during the 1880s. Today, it is estimated that nearly 3.6 million Americans trace their roots to an Arab country.
  • The population who identified as having Arabic-speaking ancestry in the U.S. Census grew by more than 72% between 2000 and 2010. The Arab diaspora is among the fastest growing diaspora populations in the world.
  • About 90% of Arab Americans live in urban areas.
  • The cities with largest metropolitan Arab American populations are Los Angeles, Detroit, New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. These areas are home to one-third of the Arab American population.

*NOTE: Arab Americans are not officially recognized as a federal minority group and because of this, reporting numbers are almost never exact.

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.

Religion

  • Arab Americans are a religiously diverse community.
  • Nearly every major religion is represented in the Arab American community. Not all Arabs are Muslims and not all Muslims are Arab.
  • Among Christians, Arab Americans hail Maronite Catholic, Melkite Catholic, Syrian Catholic, Chaldean Catholic, Roman Catholic, Antiochian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox and various Protestant denominations.
  • Among Muslims, Arab Americans are Sunni, Shia and Druze.

Education

  • Eighty-five percent of Arab Americans have at least a high school diploma.
  • More than 4 out of 10 Arab Americans have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Seventeen percent of Arab Americans have a post-graduate degree, which is nearly twice the American average (9%).
  • Of the school age population, 13% of Arab Americans are in pre-school, 58% are in elementary or high school, 22% are in college, and 7% are in graduate school.

Income

  • The median income for Arab American households in 1999 was $47,000, compared with $42,000 for all households in the U.S.
  • Approximately 30% of Arab Americans 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 8% higher than the national average of $56,644.
  • The average income of Arab Americans is 22% higher than the U.S. national average.

Major Funding for Arab American Stories: A National Discussion and Outreach provided by

Special Thanks to:


Betty H. Sams

Detroit Public TVAANM