Lebanese American

Lebanese American

Lebanese Americans
Spencer AbrahamCasey KasemRalph Nader
William Peter BlattyNicholas Nassim TalebMichael E. DeBakey
Helen ThomasDarrell Issa. Tiffany
Tony ShalhoubJohn E. SununuJames Abourezk
Rima FakihRay LaHoodDanny Thomas
Spencer Abraham • Casey Kasem • Ralph Nader • Kathy Najimy
William Peter Blatty • Nicholas Nassim Taleb • Michael E. DeBakey
Helen Thomas • Darrell Issa • Tiffany
Tony Shalhoub • John E. Sununu • James Abourezk
Rima Fakih • Ray LaHood • Danny Thomas
Total population
504,499 (born)
500,000 - 3,000,000 (Ancestry)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Michigan, California, New York, Florida, Ohio, Massachusetts, Texas, Louisiana.,[2] Illinois, Pennsylvania, Arizona, New Jersey, Washington
American English, Arabic
Majority: Christianity (Maronite Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Melkite Catholic)
Minorities: Muslim (Shia / Sunni) and Judaism.
Related ethnic groups
Other Lebanese people · Arab Americans · Armenian Americans

Lebanese Americans (Arabic: أمريكيون لبنانيون‎) are Americans of Lebanese descent. This includes both those who are native to the United States as well as Lebanese immigrants to America.

Lebanese Americans comprise 0.79% of the American population as of the American Community Survey estimations for year 2007, and 32.4% of all Americans who originate from the Middle East.[3] Lebanese-Americans have historically excelled in business, academia, arts and entertainment and have had a significant participation in American politics and social and political activism. Lebanese Americans are one of the most successful groups in the United States, and are part of a diaspora often speaking many languages including French, Arabic, Portuguese, Italian and English, for historical reasons. This is because Lebanon has seen a mingling of many religions including Maronite Catholicism, Greek Orthodoxy, and Sunni and Shia Islam. And there was a diaspora to many different countries around the world. There are more Lebanese outside of Lebanon today than within. Lebanese-Americans have also tended to be more Republican than other immigrant groups.


The first known Lebanese immigrant to the United States was Antonios Bishallany, a Maronite Christian, who arrived in Boston Harbor in 1854. He died in Brooklyn, New York in 1856 on his 29th birthday.[4] Large scale Lebanese immigration began in the late 19th century. They settled mainly in Brooklyn and Boston, Massachusetts. While they were marked as Syrians, the vast majority of them were Christians from Mount Lebanon. Upon entering America, many of them worked as peddlers. This wave continued through the 1920s. During the first wave, an estimated 100,000 Lebanese had immigrated to America.[5] Many immigrants settled in Northern New Jersey, in towns such as Bloomfield, Paterson, Newark, and Orange. Some immigrants set out west, with Detroit, Michigan and Peoria, Illinois, gaining a large number of all Lebanese immigrants. Others bought farms in states such as Texas, South Dakota and Iowa. Large numbers came via the United Kingdom including a large number on the ill-fated liner RMS Titanic.

The second wave of Lebanese immigration began in the late 1940s and continued through the early 1990s, when Lebanese immigrants had been fleeing the Lebanese Civil War. Between 1948 and 1985, over 60,000 Lebanese entered the United States. Since then, immigration has slowed down to an estimated 5,000 immigrants a year, and those who do settle these days are predominantly Muslim, different from the predominantly Christian population of immigrants during previous waves.


Most of the Lebanese immigrants during the first and the early part of the second waves were Arab American Institute and the United States census team.

Places with sizable populations

Dearborn, Michigan has the highest concentration of Arab Americans in the United States, at over 40%.[7] The rest of Metro Detroit has an even larger population of Lebanese residents. Brooklyn, New York has one of the oldest Lebanese populations in America, dating over 125 years; one large center is in the Bay Ridge section. Once predominantly Christian, the Lebanese in Bay Ridge are today equally split between Muslims and Christians. South Paterson, New Jersey historically had a large Lebanese Christian population dating back to the 1890s, but only a few remain, and the neighborhood has largely been replaced by new Palestinian immigrants. Brooklyn holds a significant Lebanese community, with a Maronite Cathedral the center of one of two eparchies for Maronite Lebanese in the United States, the other being in Los Angeles.

Utica, New York; San Diego, California; Jacksonville, Florida; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Los Angeles County; San Francisco, California; Peoria, Illinois; Grosse Pointe, Michigan; Miami, Florida; Wichita, Kansas; Bloomfield, Michigan; Fall River, Massachusetts; Worcester, Massachusetts; Boston, Massachusetts; Methuen, Massachusetts; Lawrence, Massachusetts; Salem, New Hampshire; Lansing, Michigan; East Grand Rapids, Michigan; Lafayette, Louisiana; St. Clair Shores, Michigan; Toledo, Ohio and Houston, Texas also have sizeable Lebanese communities.[7]

The Arab American Institute reports the top five states where Lebanese Americans reside are: Michigan (11%), California (9%), Ohio (6%), Florida (6%), and Massachusetts (5%).[8]

Notable individuals


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  7. ^ a b U.S. Arab population doubles over 20 years - News
  8. ^ The Arab American Institute

Further reading

  • Price, Jay M., and Sue Abdinnour, “Family, Ethnic Entrepreneurship, and the Lebanese of Kansas,” Great Plains Quarterly, 33 (Summer 2013), 161–88.
  • Thernstrom, Stephan, Ann Orlov, and Oscar Handlin, eds. Harvard encyclopedia of American ethnic groups (Harvard UP, 1980).

External links

Media related to Lebanese American at Wikimedia Commons