The Arab American community is much larger and more diverse than it has ever been. The total population of Arab Americans is about 2 million according to the U.S. Census, and as large as 3.6 million according to the Arab American Institute.
This report was created by ACCESS, the largest Arab American community nonprofit in the nation, as a product of its Arab American Research Initiative to secure better data on the national community. As the leading Arab American community-based organization, ACCESS has worked, for nearly 50 years, as a service provider. The agency services approximately 70,000 individuals from disenfranchised communities—primarily those representing the Arab American community—on an annual basis. This on-the-ground experience has allowed for a comprehensive understanding of the needs and challenges facing this critically underrepresented community. ACCESS is committed to utilizing its resources to foster research on Arab Americans in the areas of health, economic mobility, education, community building, culture and philanthropy. Specifically, ACCESS’s Arab Health Summit is a platform that brings together academics, health leaders and practitioners to share their research on issues that affect Arab communities locally and globally.
The data in this report shows that although most Arabs and other Middle Easterners are counted within the “White” racial category on the U.S. Census, Arab Americans have distinct issues and experiences that are only apparent when Arabs are disaggregated from the White racial category. The unique issues that Arab Americans face vary depending on country of origin, immigration status, and city of residence. ACCESS hopes that this report will help make the case for Arab Americans to be counted as part of a broader Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) community in the Census.
Data for this report was compiled by disaggregating Arab ancestries from the White racial category on the American Community Survey, and therefore does not incorporate data from Arabs who may identify as Black, such as Sudanese or Somalis. The “Total Population” graph below is one exception, as it includes Arabs counted within the White and Black racial categories.