Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants in the United States

Report Author: 
Mattea Cumoletti and Jeanne Batalova
Original Date of Publication: 
January, 2018

This report updates a 2015 MPI profile of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) immigrants. These immigrants now represent 3 percent of the approximately 44 million immigrants in the U.S. The report discusses the socioeconomic characteristics of the MENA population as gleaned from census and other data. Each data point is compared with the immigrant population in general and the native-born population. For example, in 2016, 43 percent of MENA immigrants (ages 25 and above) had a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 30 percent of all immigrants and 32 percent of native-born adults. Nevertheless, 27 percent of MENA immigrant families lived in poverty, compared to 17 percent of all immigrant families and 14 percent of U.S.-born families. There are, of course, wide variations among the various MENA national origin populations. For example, 63 percent of immigrants from Egypt have finished college, compared to only 16 percent of immigrants from Yemen. Labor force participation for female MENA immigrants (41 percent) lags behind immigrant women in general (56 percent) and U.S.-born women (59 percent), "a disparity possibly attributable to the more conservative culture in many Muslim countries." The report features interactive maps that allow the reader to track changes in the size of MENA country populations over time and to pinpoint the distribution of these populations by state, city, and metropolitan area. (Diversity Dynamics)

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Cumoletti, M., & Batalova, J. (2018). Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants in the United States (Spotlight) (p. 14). Washington, D.C.: Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved from https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/middle-eastern-and-north-african-immigrants-united-states

Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute