Making Sure Arab Americans Count: Adding a MENA Category to the Census

Posted by Margaret Lowry on July 06, 2015 in Blog

The Iraqi American community is one of the fastest growing populations of Americans with origins in the Middle East or North Africa, but it’s impossible to get an accurate number of how large the population actually is. The most recent count by the Census Bureau estimates that there are 116,190 Iraqi Americans in the United States, but other data on the community suggests that this number is much too low. For instance, the Office of Immigration Statistics at the Department of Homeland Security found that in only the past decade, 103,487...

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The U.S. Census

Posted on May 21, 2015 in Research

AAI has been involved in three decennial censuses and works continually with the Census Bureau to advocate on behalf of the Arab American community through the Census Information Center and the Decennial Census Advisory Committee. AAI makes demographic data available on our website and does custom research on the Arab American community. We continue to work on questions of classification of the Arab American community on the census and encourage the Census Bureau to broaden its options pertaining to ancestry.


Arab American Leadership Days Kick Off on Capitol Hill

Posted by on April 29, 2015 in Blog
Today, AAI hosted a select group of Arab American community leaders from across the country on Capitol Hill as part of its annual Leadership Day.
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Make Sure You’re Counted - Tell the Census Bureau You Support the MENA Checkbox

Posted on December 18, 2014 in Action Alerts

Last month, the US Census Bureau announced that it will be testing the MENA category for inclusion in the 2020 Census. This is a vitally important measure to correct the problematic under count of our community. Now that the Census Bureau has officially announced it's plans to test the category over the course of 2015, the Bureau is soliciting public opinions on the MENA category's inclusion.

Please join our campaign to support the MENA category's inclusion on the 2020 Census by contacting the Federal Registrar now.

To read more about our efforts to include the MENA category on the 2020...

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New AAI Poll Reveals Arab American Identity Trends and Political Concerns

Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Blog

By Kristyn Acho Fall Intern, 2014

This morning, Dr. Jim Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute, released a new Zogby Analytics poll, Arab American Voters 2014: Their Identity and Political Concerns.

The poll revealed that Arab Americans are extremely proud of their ethnic heritage. Sixty-three percent of respondents identified as Arab American. This high percentage is a continuation of an upward trend that began in the 1990s, when only 51% described themselves as Arab American by country of origin or as Arab Americans alone.

This reveals that a stronger sense of...

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The U.S. Census Is Trying To Get A More Accurate Count Of Arab Americans

Posted by FiveThirtyEight on November 24, 2014 in News Clips

The first time Rashad Al-Dabbagh saw a census form, he didn’t know how to respond.

Sex? Male. Age? 20. But race? Al-Dabbagh, who moved to the United States from Saudi Arabia in 1998, scanned the 2000 census form looking for himself. He wasn’t white or black or Chinese or Samoan or any of the 10 other categories listed.

This is how the U.S. Census currently asks about race.

“I went through it and looked for Arab or Middle Eastern or Palestinian or anything I could identify...

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The U.S. Census Is Trying To Get A More Accurate Count Of Arab Americans

Posted by FiveThirtyEight on November 24, 2014 in News Clips

The first time Rashad Al-Dabbagh saw a census form, he didn’t know how to respond.

Sex? Male. Age? 20. But race? Al-Dabbagh, who moved to the United States from Saudi Arabia in 1998, scanned the 2000 census form looking for himself. He wasn’t white or black or Chinese or Samoan or any of the 10 other categories listed.

This is how the U.S. Census currently asks about race.

“I went through it and looked for Arab or Middle Eastern or Palestinian or anything I could identify...

Read more Original Article

Lobbying for a ‘MENA’ category on U.S. Census

Posted by USA Today on August 14, 2014 in News Clips

For many Americans, checking the right box on the U.S. Census form is a reflexive gesture, whether it's marking "black," "white," "Hispanic," "Asian," "American Indian" — or all of the above.

But for Americans of Middle Eastern and North African descent, or "MENA," it's a real head-scratcher. They come in a variety of phenotypes and shades—ranging from pale to deepest ebony, and hail from 22 different countries, from Iran to Egypt to Sudan. And yet, for the census, since the beginning of the last century, the MENA community has been lumped into the "white" category.

Back in 1909, such a...

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Lobbying for a ‘MENA’ category on U.S. Census

Posted by USA Today on August 14, 2014 in News Clips

For many Americans, checking the right box on the U.S. Census form is a reflexive gesture, whether it's marking "black," "white," "Hispanic," "Asian," "American Indian" — or all of the above.

But for Americans of Middle Eastern and North African descent, or "MENA," it's a real head-scratcher. They come in a variety of phenotypes and shades—ranging from pale to deepest ebony, and hail from 22 different countries, from Iran to Egypt to Sudan. And yet, for the census, since the beginning of the last century, the MENA community has been lumped into the "white" category.

Back in 1909, such a...

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Arab Americans seek a new place on the Census form

Posted by AAJA Voices on August 13, 2014 in News Clips

When 33-year-old Rashad Al-Dabbagh sat down to fill out the U.S. Census form for the first time in 2000, he was stumped.

“You had all these ethnicities and nationalities and races, and nothing that said Arab or Middle Eastern,” said Al-Dabbagh, whose ethnic background is Palestinian and Armenian.

So, for the past two censuses, he checked the box for “some other race” and called on others in an eight-second video and through outreach to Arab Americans to do the same using the slogan: “Check it right; you ain’t white!”

Nearly 200,000 people did just that in 2010, despite 2006-10...

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