Algerian Americans

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Algerian Americans
Total population
14,716 (2010 US Census)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Related ethnic groups

Algerian Americans are Americans of Algerian descent. The 2010 census counted some 14,716 people of Algerian ancestry.[1] This figure added to all persons descended from Algerians, as people in the census could claim more than one source.


From 1821 until 1830, only 16 immigrants from all of Africa arrived in the United States. From 1841 until 1850, 55 more arrived. In immigration records until 1899 and in census records until 1920, all Arabs were recorded together in a category known as "Turkey in Asia." Until the 1960s, North African Berbers were counted as "other African." Mass migrations of Muslims to the United States did not happen because Muslims feared that they would not be permitted to maintain their traditions. Census records suggest that only a few hundred Muslim men migrated between 1900 and 1914.

Algeria was introduced as an immigrant record category in 1975, and 72 Algerians immigrated that year. Immigrant numbers increased gradually so that by 1984 there were 197 immigrants. Fourteen were relatives of U.S. citizens, and 31 were admitted on the basis of occupational preference. In 1998, 1,378 Algerians were winners of the DV-99 diversity lottery. The diversity lottery is conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

The U.S. Census is not allowed to categorize by religion so the number of Islamic followers can not be counted. However, the census is permitted to list Arab ancestry. In many cases, Algerian immigrants are listed as "Other Arabs" when statistics are cited. According to the 1990 U.S. Census, there were approximately 3,215 people of Algerian ancestry living in the United States. Of this group, 2,537 cited Algerian ancestry as their primary ancestry, and 678 people cited Algerian as second ancestry. Of the "other Arabs" category in the 1990 U.S. Census, 45 percent were married, 40 percent were female, and 60 percent were male.[2] During the 1990´s, were reduced work´s visas for Algerians to the European Union, but, however, increased in the U.S. work visas for Algerians and other North African people. This promoted the migration of Algerians to Chicago seeking work and refuge from political persecution. They settled in a large area in the northwest, near Side of Chicago.[3]

On November 1, 2009 entered into force an agreement was concluded between the Government of Algeria and the Government of the United States, pursuant to which the maximum validity for several categories of visas granted to Algerian citizens that coming to the United States was extended to 24 months.[4]


Most Algerians speak Arabic, Berber, French and (in the U.S.) also English. Algerian Americans have settled in urban areas such as New York City, Miami, Washington, and Los Angeles. The 1990 US Census lists New York City as the port of entry for 2,038 Algerians, followed by Washington with 357 Algerians, and Los Angeles as entry for 309 Algerians. Of the 48 Algerians who became Americans in 1984, 12 settled in California looking better education or to flee instability and religious persecution. Employment opportunities for professionals such as scientists, physicians, and academics result in a geographically wide settlement pattern of immigrants, often in communities without other Algerian Americans.

Algerian Americans also have created communities in university cities and urban areas such as Dallas, Austin and Houston, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Detroit, Michigan; Seattle, Washington state; Arizona; the Inland Empire, California region east of Los Angeles; and Northern California. There is also a sizable community in San Diego, California, where the community has come together and meets regularly at the local mosque and a celebration for the Algerian independence occurs in Mission Bay every 5th of July. In the late 1990s, there were an estimated 12,500 African immigrants from many different countries living in the Dallas area.[2] Moreover, many Algerians were also established in Chicago since the 1990s. Most of these immigrants differed from the Algerians already living in this city in the fact that those were less educated and more religious than other Algerians in the city.

According to estimates by the Algerian Community in Chicago, these were about 1,000 people in the 2000s. The Chicago Algerian independence from France held each November 1.[3]

Acculturation and assimilation

Many Algerian Americans are highly educated with professional occupations. Most Algerians are Muslims, although the U.S. Muslim customs are not so deeply rooted as in Algeria, especially when living in the U.S. for several generations. Most Algerian American women leave the hijab, the head scarf veil worn with a loose gown as a symbol of modest Islamic dress, when they arrive. Generally, they have fewer children, cook fewer meals, and gradually adapt to American social customs. There is no segregation of sexes at social gathering in homes and churches except among the most traditional Muslims. Algerian Americans sometimes have as much difficulty gaining acceptance among American-born African Americans a they do among whites. Algerian Americans who hold to Muslim beliefs purposely resist many aspects of assimilation as an expression of their religious beliefs. However, their children learn English and adapt to the new culture so that by the second and third generations, Algerian Americans are well assimilated and better educated than their parents. A study by Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi of Muslim immigrant communities in the West found that second generation Muslims compete for places at universities with ambitions of becoming doctors and engineers. The younger generation plans to own homes and cars. Between 70 and 80 percent of western Muslims do not feel bad about drinking, dancing, and dating. Most western couples select their own marriage partners. Algerian Americans continue the cultural traditions of Muslims. Ummah, the Arabic word for "nation," makes no distinction between a citizen of a particular country and the worldwide Muslim community. Thus, the universal Arab society may move from country to country without losing their distinct culture. Muslims pray at a mosque on Friday, and in this way an American city's Arab community comes together for the sharing of culture and identity. Once in a lifetime a devout Muslim makes the pilgrimage to Mecca, called the Hajj. Most Algerian Americans observe Ramadan, a month of fasting. Algerian Americans follow the American custom of observing New Year's Day in January.[2] Almost every night during the holy month of Ramadan, the Algerian join Moroccans and Tunisians in mosques, houses and restaurants to break the fast during the day. Since 2000, owned a cafe in Algeria in the Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, has donated food for the hundreds of North Africans who attended the feast ending Ramadan Eid Al-Fitr. During the rest of the year, coffee has served as informal meeting place for North African men before and after work.[3]

Employment and economic traditions

Of the 197 Algerian immigrants in 1984, 116 were professionals and 81 had no occupation. Of this same group, 133 were spouses of Algerian Americans. Many Algerian Americans are employed as physicians, academics, and engineers. Overall, they have more education than the average Algerian. Algerian American workers receive higher salaries and have more opportunities for advancement. In the United States, especially for women, the marketplace is more receptive to entrepreneurs. Back home in Algeria the entrepreneurial sector of society began to emerge as late as 1993. For most of Algeria's political history, the socialist orientation of the state precluded the development of a class of small business owners and resulted in strong public anti-capitalist sentiment. Economic liberalization under Benjedid transformed many state-owned enterprises into private entities and fostered the growth of an active and cohesive group of professional associations of small business owners, or patronat. The patronat has strongly supported government reforms, and has persisted in its lobbying efforts. The patronat consists of well over 10,000 members and is growing. Some of its member associations include the Algerian Confederation of Employers, the General Confederation of Algerian Economic Operators, and the General Union of Algerian Merchants and Artisans.[2] Many Algerians also migrate illegally to the United States and tends to spread throughout the country. Most of them are young. To start off, some end up working in fast food bars, restaurants and gas stations, but most are determined to receive education and return to their country as their family's breadwinners.[5]


The Algerian Americans often form association such as the Algerian American Association of Houston, a local community sponsoring events, providing an environment to preserve and promote the Algerian heritage within the American fabric. Many of these organizations aim at strengthening ties of friendship and cooperation between the United States and Algeria. Have they have others associations as the Algerian-American Association of New England, Algerian American Association of Northern California or Algerian American National Association.[2]

Other Algerian American associations are The Algerian Association of Northern California (AANC),[6] the Algerian-American Association of Greater Washington DC,[7]the Algerian American Scientists Association,[8] and the Algerian-American Foundation for Culture, Education, Science and Technology.[9]

There are also some important organizations created mainly by Algerian (and Moroccan) Americans in Chicago, whose function is to help newly arrived immigrants to the United States. These arose in the 1990s. Of these organizations must emphasize the Assembly of the Maghreb. This assembly has tried to help new immigrants from North Africa to adapt to American life and maintain, in turn, the principles of Sunni Islam. Because most North African immigrants in Chicago have not been associated closely with the Muslim Middle East, the North African come together as a common community. Often, in relation to the area of the mosque, the organization has taught job skills, English language, the importance of Sirat al-Mustaqim and moderation, among other things. Have been trained women to balance paid work with traditional household chores.[3] The United Amazigh Algerian, a nonreligious association based in the San Francisco bay area, also have like goal boost the Berber culture in North America and beyond. [10]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "CITIZENSHIP STATUS IN THE UNITED STATES: Total population in the United States. 2006–2010 American Community Survey Selected Population Tables". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-12-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Olivia Miller. A Countries and Their Cultures: Algerian Americans. Posted in November 26, 2008. Consulted in May 22–26, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Stephen R. Porter (December 26, 2005). "Algerians". The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Retrieved December 8, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Embassy of Algeria to the United States of America. Tuesday May 25, 2010 (accessed May 26, 2010), by Abdallah Baali
  5. The story of Algerian illegal immigrants in US. Retrieved on December 8, 2010, at 16:54 pm.
  6. Algerian Association of Northern California
  7. Algerian-American Association of Greater Washington DC.
  8. Algerian American Scientists Association
  9. New institute to foster Algerian–American research. Published online 27 December 2010. Retrieved in December 20, 2013, to 21:40pm.
  10. United Amazigh Algerian

External links