Lebanese American

Lebanese American

Infobox Ethnic group


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group =flagicon|Lebanon Lebanese Americans flagicon|USA
population = 481,675 (3 million descendents) 0.16% of total population (2005) [ [http://www.factfinder.census.gov American FactFinder ] ]
popplace = Michigan, California, New York, Florida, Ohio, Massachusetts, Texas. [ [http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Le-Pa/Lebanese-Americans.html Every Culture - Lebanese American] ]
languages = American English, Arabic, French, Armenian
religions = Predominantly Christianity (mostly Catholic), with minorities of Islam and Judaism.
related-c = Other Lebanese people, Syrian Americans, Armenian Americans, Greek Americans

Lebanese Americans are American citizens of Lebanese descent. This includes both those who are native to the United States as well as Lebanese immigrants to America. The vast majority of them are Christians, in particular Maronites. Lebanese Americans are the largest Arab group in America, comprising 0.16% of the American population as of the American Community Survey estimations for year 2006, and 32.4% of all Arabs. [ [http://www.factfinder.census.gov American FactFinder ] ] Over three million Americans are claimed at least partial Lebanese ancestry by Lebanese American activists. [ [http://www.phoenician.org/leb_americans.htm Lebanese Americans ] ]

History

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. [ [http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~gstudies/mideast/mecurr.htm Middle East Curriculum ] ] Large scale Lebanese immigration began in the late 19th century, when immigrants from what was at the time part of Syria began entering America. 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 the Lebanese and Syrians worked as peddlers. This wave continued through the 1920s. During the first wave, an estimated 100,000 Lebanese had immigrated to America. [ [http://www.answers.com/topic/lebanese-americans Lebanese Americans: Information and Much More from Answers.com ] ] Eventually, many of these immigrants set out west, with Detroit, Michigan gaining a large number of all Lebanese immigrants. Others bought farms in states such as Texas, South Dakota and Iowa.

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 predominately Muslim, different from the predominately Christian population of immigrants during the first wave.

Religion

Around 90% of all Lebanese Americans are Christians, with many of them being followers of the Maronite and Greek Orthodox faith. Most of the Lebanese immigrants during the first and the early part of the second waves were Christians. Muslims followed in large numbers beginning in the late 1960s. Among Muslims, the Shi'ite and Sunni communities are the largest. A number of Jews fled Lebanon for the United States due to fears of persecution, and populations of Druze and Atheists also exist. [ [http://www.lgic.org/en/lebanese_americans.php Lebanese Americans, Celebrities, Photos and Information ] ] This information has been distributed by all American organizations, including the Arab American Institute and the United States census team.

Places with sizeable populations

Dearborn, Michigan has the highest concentration of Arab Americans in the United States, at over 30%. Of these Arab Americans, two thirds are Lebanese Americans. [ [http://media.www.michigandaily.com/media/storage/paper851/news/2003/12/04/News/U.s-Arab.Population.Doubles.Over.20.Years-1420866.shtml U.S. Arab population doubles over 20 years - News ] ] The vast majority of them belong to the Shi'ite branch of Islam. The rest of Metro Detroit has Lebanese residents as well. 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 predominately 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.

Other cities: San Diego, California, Jacksonville, Florida, Sterling Heights, Michigan, Los Angeles County, Wichita, Kansas, San Francisco, California, Miami, Florida, Fall River, Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts, East Grand Rapids, Michigan and Houston, Texas also have sizeable Lebanese communities. [ [http://media.www.michigandaily.com/media/storage/paper851/news/2003/12/04/News/U.s-Arab.Population.Doubles.Over.20.Years-1420866.shtml U.S. Arab population doubles over 20 years - News ] ]

The Arab American Institute claims that the top five states where Lebanese Americans live are Michigan (11%), California (9%), Ohio (6%), Florida (6%), and Massachusetts (5%). [ [http://www.aaiusa.org/issues/2549/who-are-lebanese-americans The Arab American Institute ] ]

References


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