Egyptian Americans

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Egyptian Americans
Total population
239,010 (2014 US Census)[1]
approximately 450,000 (2013 est.)[2]
Regions with significant populations
Northern New Jersey and the New York City Metropolitan Area;[3][4][5] as well as California, Illinois, Florida, and Texas
Egyptian Arabic, American English
Majority: Christianity (Coptic Orthodox, Coptic Catholic)[6]
Minority: Islam (Sunni, Shia), and a small Jewish community.

Egyptian Americans are Americans of Egyptian ancestry. In the 2007 U.S. census, the number of people with Egyptian ancestry was estimated at 195,000.[7] However, due to a recent spike in immigration, demographic researchers currently estimate a total population upwards of 450,000 people.


An early Egyptian immigrant is mentioned in the accounts of the Dutch settlers of the Catskill Mountains and recorded in the 1884 History of Greene County, New York. According to this tradition, an Egyptian named "Norsereddin" settled in the Catskills in the vicinity of the Catskill Mountain House. He befriended the Indian chief, Shandaken, and sought the hand of his daughter Lotowana in marriage. Rejected, he poisoned Lotowana and in consequence was caught and burned alive.[8][9]

Egyptians began to migrate to the U.S. in significant numbers in the second half of the twentieth century. The majority of Egyptians left their country for economic or educational reasons. However, many emigrated because they were concerned about the political developments that were occurring in Egypt after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. Thousands of Egyptians, mainly Copts, left Egypt in 1967 after its defeat in the Six Day War of 1967. From 1967 to 1977, more than 15,000 Egyptians immigrated to the United States alone. Since the 1981 assassination of Anwar Sadat and consequential inauguration of Hosni Mubarak as the President, the Egyptian economy has endured three decades of economic stagnation that has prompted a significant number of Egyptians to emigrate to more prosperous countries, such as the United States. Attracted by the higher standards of living and greater civil liberties, Egyptian expatriates have traditionally favoured permanent residence in countries such as the United States, and Canada, but sizeable numbers are also present in Australia, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, and Arab states of the Persian Gulf. The first wave of Egyptian immigrants to the United States were mostly educated professionals and skilled workers. Egyptian immigration to the United States was further eased by the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which allowed selective entry of certain professionals, especially scientists, from countries such as Egypt, which was up until then subjected to stringent emigration restrictions. As a result, most Egyptian Americans, especially first and second generation Egyptians, have in comparison, become generally very well educated relative to the American population as a whole.[10]

The New York City Metropolitan Area, including Northern New Jersey and New York City, is home to by far the largest Egyptian population in the United States.[3][4][5]


The largest concentration of Egyptians live in New Jersey, New York, California, Illinois, Florida, and Texas.[10] EgyptAir serves John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. Egyptian American communities are mainly concentrated in Jersey City, New Jersey; Bayonne, New Jersey; Levittown, New York; Steinway Village in Queens, New York; Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, New York; as well as in California, mainly in and around the Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas, parts of Florida, and increasingly, Philadelphia. There are also large communities of Egyptian Americans located in northern Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.


In contrast to the population of Egypt, where Muslims constitute approximately 90% of the population, the majority of Egyptian Americans are Coptic Christians, with Muslims forming a minority in the community.[6] The Copts began to immigrate to the United States as early as the late 1940s. There are hundreds of Coptic Orthodox churches in the United States (along with over 90 congregations in Canada). It is estimated that there are over one million Coptic Orthodox Christians in North America as a whole. A small number of Egyptian Christians who immigrated to the U.S. include Coptic Catholics and Protestants. In addition to Coptic Christians, there are also small groups of non-native Christians from Egypt, such as Armenians, Greeks, and Syro-Lebanese, who belong to Armenian, Eastern Orthodox, or Melkite Catholic churches. There is even a small Jewish community that exists, due to Egypt's expulsion of its Jewish community in the late 1950s.

Socioeconomic status

The first immigrants of Egypt that arrived in United States were mainly university graduates, and some Egyptians who had come seeking further education. Among these immigrants were doctors, accountants, engineers, lawyers and even teachers from major universities. The second wave had university degrees, but had to accept menial jobs (many of them drove taxicabs, or waited on tables in restaurants). Some citizens even became entrepreneurs.[10]

Relations with Egypt

Recently the Egyptian government has ramped up efforts to increase ties with its expatriate community, as it seeks to capitalize on the possibility of increased foreign direct investment, and multilateral business deals by wealthy Egyptians abroad. The Egyptian government has actively been encouraging investment in its economy, and views the Egyptians diaspora as an important source of income through remittances sent home to family members. Over the past few years, the Egyptian American Businessmen's Association has maintained a continual presence in Egypt, with representative delegates visiting Egypt on a regular basis and meeting with officials as well as conversing with local MPs on various economic matters. The Union of Egyptians is an organization created with the primary aim of meeting Egyptian needs abroad by securing economic links with the homeland. Several organizations also prefer focusing on educational and cultural ties between Egyptian Americans and their home country.

In 2001 Universal Union of Egyptian Expatriates was created in order to help Egyptian Expatriates. Today, more than 6 million Egyptians live, work and study abroad are connected. A fair percentage of Egyptian Expatriates settled in the USA. Almost 75% of Egyptian Expatriates holding the membership of the UUEE are Muslims and 25% are Coptic.

On February 11, 2012, a coalition of American Egyptians from around the United States launched a new advocacy organization, the American Egyptian Strategic Alliance.[10]

Notable Egyptian Americans

See also


  1. Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). "American FactFinder - Results". Retrieved 18 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Wallace, Bruce (January 4, 2013). "Amid Instability In Egypt, Coptic Christians Flee To U.S." Retrieved 18 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2012 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-04-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2011 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-04-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2010 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-04-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Estimates for the number of Coptic Orthodox Christians in the US range from 700,000 to more than one million out of a total 800,000 to 2,000,000 Egyptians in America NY Times[1][2][3]
  7. U.S. Census Bureau: Population by Selected Ancestry Group and Region: 2009
  8. Beers, Frederick L. (1884). History of Greene County, New York: with biographical sketches of its prominent men. New York: J. B. Beers & Co. pp. 20–22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Skinner, Charles Montgomery (1896). Myths and legends of our own land, Volume 1. New York: J. B. Lippincott & Co. pp. 24–25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "Egyptian Americans - History, Significant immigration waves, Acculturation and Assimilation, Cuisine, Traditional clothing". Retrieved 18 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links