State’s Rank by Arab American Population: 10

AAI Estimated Arab American Population:182,610*


Growth Trends

The population in Pennsylvania who identified as having Arabic-speaking ancestry on U.S. Census surveys grew by more than 42% between 2000 and 2015. The number of Pennsylvanians who claim an Arab ancestry has more than doubled since the Census first measured ethnic origins in 1980, and is among the fastest growing Arab populations in the country. The Census Bureau estimates the statewide population is close to 84,472*.


The largest number of new Arab immigrants to Pennsylvania came from Egypt, Iraq, and Morocco.

How Do Arab Americans Identify Themselves?

Primary Ethnic Identification is derived from responses to the ancestry question on the long (sample) form of the 2000 U.S. Census. Census data on “Arabs” include the responses: Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian, Iraqi, Jordanian, Palestinian, Moroccan, Arab or Arabic. The following countries are 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 that are not aggregated as Arab in Census reports. In Pennsylvania, according to the Census Bureau, the largest component of the Arab American community in the state has Lebanese or Egyptian roots. Since 2005, significant increases appear in the number of Pennsylvanians who are of Iraqi or Chaldean descent.

Where Do Pennsylvanian Arab Americans Live?

Arab Americans in Pennsylvania reside in 65 of the 67 counties in the state.

*Research by AAI and Zogby International suggests the number above is likely significantly lower than the actual number of Arab Americans in the state. The American Community Survey identifies only a portion of the Arab population through a question on “ancestry.” Reasons for the undercount include the placement and limitations of the ancestry question (as distinct from race and ethnicity); the effect of the sample methodology on small, unevenly distributed ethnic groups; high levels of out-marriage among the third and fourth generations; and distrust/misunderstanding of government surveys among recent immigrants.

Sources: American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates (2016), American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates (2012-2016), 2000 US Census– U.S. Census Bureau; Yearbook of Immigration Statistics 2009-2016—Office of Immigration Statistics, Department of Homeland Security

©2018 Arab American Institute Foundation.

Arab American Population Growth

Immigrants By Country of Origin (2009-2013)

Arab American Population by County, 2016

Firas Nasr