Posted by Sabrin Qadi on August 17, 2015 in Blog
"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” These famous words once spoken by John F. Kennedy that inspired an entire generation were first written by the legendary Arab American writer, Kahlil Gibran in his story The Prophet. Arab Americans have been an integral part of the United States and have made major contributions to American culture and society. From politics and business, to entertainment to science and medicine, Arab Americans have been a part of these progressions; giving, influencing, and learning from the culture around them and integrating it into their own.
Because of their lifelong investment in the economy, it is no surprise that the top concerns of Arab Americans currently are jobs and the economy. A poll taken by the Arab American Institute illustrates the top concerns of the community from 2010-2014 ranking jobs and economy as highest and taxes as lowest concern.
The socioeconomic status of Arab Americans sheds light on this leading poll. Native born and immigrant Arab Americans have a higher level of educational achievement—graduate and post-graduate degrees—than the average U.S. Population; 46 percent in comparison to 28 percent of the population. The labor force makes up 66 percent of Arab American workers with only a 5 percent unemployment rate. The median income of Arab American households is $59,012 compared to the median income of $52,029 for all other households. The highest concentration of Arab Americans is in ten states with California, New York, and Michigan leading with the majority. Of the entire Arab American population, 94 percent live in metropolitan cities where the cost of living is relatively higher.
It is important to understand why this is a top concern than to assume the prevailing notion that majority of Arab Americans are concerned with foreign policy issues, which is true in the case of recent immigrants who are deeply connected to their countries, and more recent generations of Arab decent. Arab Americans want to know that their educational and economic investments will be prioritized when it comes to issue voting, just like the rest of Americans. So, Arab American citizens will undoubtedly continue to be involved in the affairs and concerns of the country; living to the standard set for us by the famous quote above written by Lebanese American Khalil Gibran and spoken by John F. Kennedy.
Sabrin Qadi is an intern with the Arab American Institute