Posted on July 02, 2010 in Arab American Institute

Primary ethnic identification is derived from responses to the ancestry question on the long (sample) form of the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). ACS data on “Arabs” include the responses Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian, Iraqi, Jordanian, Palestinian, Moroccan, Arab or Arabic, and the following countries collapsed as “Other Arab”: Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. We also include Arabic-speaking persons who identify as Assyrian/Chaldean, Somali or Sudanese, identities which are not aggregated as Arab in Census reports.

California

The population who identified an Arabic speaking ancestry in the U.S. Census grew by more than 28% between 2000 and 2008. California's Arab American community has shown significant increases in growth over the past two decades more than doubling its size since the 1980 Census. The state's Arab/Chaldean ancestry population grew by an average of more than 60,000 in each decade. It is estimated that the statewide population, adjusting for underreporting,* is close to 715,000.

Arab American Population Growth

In California, persons of Lebanese ancestry comprise about one fifth of the total Arab American population in California, down from one fourth in 2000. The number of Iraqis has increased slightly, while the number of Syrians has gone down slightly since the 2000 Census from 9%.

The Arab American community is represented in 50 out of 51 counties in California counted in the 2006-2008 ACS 3-year estimates, with significant clusters in the greater Los Angeles area, San Diego and the seven northern counties around the San Francisco Bay. 

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Florida

The population who identified an Arabic-speaking ancestry in the U.S. Census grew by more than 28% between 2000 and 2008. Florida's identifiable Arab American community more than tripled since the Census of 1980. The Arab ancestry population increased by over 22,000 in the last eight years alone. It is estimated that the statewide population, adjusting for underreporting*, is close to 255,000.

Arab American Population Growth

 Though it has decreased since the 2000 Census, the Lebanese community still makes up almost a third of Florida’s Arab American population. The Moroccan population saw the largest increase, from 5% to 9%.

Arab Americans reside in 52 of 54 counties in Florida counted in the 2006-2008 ACS 3-year estimates, with significant numbers in the coastal counties of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Orange, with other concentrations in Duvall and Palm Beach Counties.  

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Illinois

The population who identified an Arabic-speaking ancestry in the U.S. Census grew by more than 41% between 2000 and 2008. Since ancestry was first tabulated by the Census in1980, the number of Illinois residents who claim an Arab or Chaldean/Assyrian background has almost tripled. It is estimated that the statewide population, adjusting for underreporting,* is close to 220,000.

Arab American Population Growth

Surprisingly Lebanese and Syrian do not make up the largest percentages (14% and 4%, respectively). In Illinois, the older Lebanese and Syrian population has been surpassed by the large and growing second wave Chicago-based community which features significant percentages of Assyrians, Palestinians and Jordanians. The Chicago area is home to one of the largest Palestinian communities in the country, with many choosing to identify as Arab or Arabian.

Arab Americans can be found in 42 of the 57 counties counted in Illinois in the 2006-2008 ACS 3-year estimates. More than three quarters of those who claim and Arab or Assyrian ancestry reside in the metropolitan counties of Cook and DuPage. 

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Massachusetts

The population who identified an Arabic-speaking ancestry in the U.S. Census grew by almost 20% between 2000 and 2008. Massachusetts' identifiable Arab American community increased by about 80% since the Census of 1980. It is estimated that the statewide population, adjusting for underreporting*, is close to 175,000.

Arab American Population Growth

In Massachusetts, according to the 2000 Census, those of Lebanese and Syrian descent account for the largest percentage of the state's Arab ancestry population. Among the emerging subgroups identified in the census are communities from Egypt and Morocco.

Arab Americans can be found in all 12 counties counted in Massachusetts in the 2006-2008 ACS 3-year estimates. While a slightly larger concentration can be found in Middlesex County, the Arab community is more evenly distributed around the state than in most other U.S. regions. 

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Michigan

The population who identified an Arabic speaking ancestry in the U.S. Census grew by more than 65% between 1990 and 2000. Since ancestry was first tabulated by the Census in 1980, the population who claim an Arab or Chaldean ancestry has more than doubled. It is estimated that the statewide population, adjusting for underreporting,* is close to 490,000.

Arab American Population Growth

In Michigan, according to the 2008 ACS 1-year estimates, half of the community identify as having either Lebanese or Iraqi/Chaldean heritage. These groups are well represented in greater Detroit along with sizable numbers of Yemeni and Palestinian Americans. Descendants of the earlier wave of Lebanese and Syrian immigrants also live in Flint.

The Arab American community is represented in all 64 of Michigan’s counties counted in the 2006-2008 ACS 3-year estimates, with more than 80% of the state's population residing in the three Detroit metro counties of Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne. Roughly one third of the city of Dearborn claims some Arab heritage. 

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New Jersey

The population who identified an Arabic-speaking ancestry in the U.S. Census grew by more than 14% between 2000 and 2008. New Jersey's identifiable Arab American community almost tripled since the Census of 1980 and is one of the fastest growing Arab populations in the country. It is estimated that the statewide population, adjusting for underreporting*, is close to 240,000.

Arab American Population Growth

In New Jersey, according to the 2008 ACS 1-year estimates, more than one in three Arab Americans in the state have Egyptian roots, one of the few places where the first wave Syrian and Lebanese communities, still 30% of the total, has been overtaken by new immigration. One in seven ancestry respondents chose the generic identity of "Arab/Arabic."

Arab Americans reside in all 21 counties counted in the 2006-2008 ACS 3-year estimates, with concentrations in Hudson, Bergen and Passaic, where more than one half the state's Arab population can be found. 

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New York

The population who identified an Arabic-speaking ancestry in the U.S. Census grew by almost 23% between 2000 and 2008, stabilizing a growth trend at the same rate from 1980. It is estimated that the statewide population, adjusting for underreporting*, is close to 405,000.

Arab American Population Growth

In New York, Lebanese and Syrian Americans still comprise almost 40% of total ancestry responses—though their percentages have dropped slightly since 2000—and are disbursed throughout the state. Second wave subgroups of Palestinians, Egyptians, Yemenis and Moroccans also have settled in metropolitan New York City, Westchester County and upstate cities.

Arab Americans reside in all 60 of New York’s counties counted in the 2006-2008 ACS 3-year estimates. Close to half of the population is located in the New York City metropolitan area, with other significant clusters in Syracuse and Buffalo. 

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Ohio

The population who identified an Arabic-speaking ancestry in the U.S. Census grew by more than 25% between 2000 and 2008. The Arab ancestry population doubled since the Census first measured ethnic origin in 1980. It is estimated that the statewide population, adjusting for underreporting*, is close to 185,000.

Arab American Population Growth

In Ohio, according to the 2008 ACS 1-year estimates, almost half of the Arab Americans in the state have roots in Lebanon and Syria, a legacy of the first major wave of Arab immigration in the early 1900s. Persons of Egyptian identity showed small growth since the last Census and about 15% of ancestry respondents chose the generic identity of "Arab/Arabic."

Arab Americans in Ohio reside in 73 of the 82 counties counted in the 2006-2008 ACS 3-year estimates. Cuyahoga and Franklin counties are the most populous, with 21% and 19% respectively. 

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Pennsylvania

The population in Ohio of Arab ancestry grew by 31% between 2000 and 2008. According to 2008 ACS 1-year estimates, Ohio’s Arab American population almost doubled since the 1980 Census. It is estimated that the statewide population, adjusting for underreporting,* is close to 160,000.

Arab American Population Growth

In Pennsylvania, more than 50% of Arab Americans trace their roots to Lebanon and Syria. Descendents of the early wave of Syrian immigrants settled in Allentown, Bethlehem and Wilkes-Barre; since 2000, the percentage of Syrian and Lebanese has dropped while the number of those who identify themselves as simply “Arab” has increased slightly.

Arab Americans are represented in 60 of 61 counties in Pennsylvania counted in the 2006-2008 ACS 3-year estimates. In addition to clusters in the communities in Western Pennsylvania, concentrations are found in Allentown, Bethlehem, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton and Philadelphia. 

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Texas

The population who identified an Arabic-speaking ancestry in the U.S. Census grew by more than 53% between 2000 and 2008. The number of Texans who claim an Arab ancestry more than tripled since the Census first measured ethnic origin in 1980 and is among the fastest growing Arab populations in the country. It is estimated that the statewide population, adjusting for underreporting*, is close to 210,000.

Arab American Population Growth

In Texas, according to the 2006-2008 ACS 3-year, more than two in five Arab Americans in the state have Lebanese or Syrian roots. Since 2000, the percentage of Arab Americans with Egyptian and Moroccan ancestries has increased by 1%. More than one in five ancestry respondents chose the generic identity of "Arab/Arabic."

Arab Americans in Texas reside in 79 of the 94 counties counted in the 2006-2008 ACS 3-year estimates. Concentrations can be found in the Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and El Paso metropolitan areas. 

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Virginia

The population who identified an Arabic-speaking ancestry in the Census grew by almost 45% between 1990 and 2000. The number of Virginians who claim Arab ancestry has increased five fold since the census of 1980. It is estimated that the statewide population, adjusting for underreporting,* is close to 135,000.

Arab American Population Growth

In Virginia, nearly one in four Arabs identify with Lebanese heritage, while a significant number come from Palestine, Egypt and Morocco.

Arab Americans in Virginia reside in 56 of 66 counties counted in the 2006-2008 ACS 3-year estimates. Approximately three out of four live in the northern suburbs near Washington D.C. 

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