Lebanese diaspora

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Lebanese diaspora
Total population
From 8[1][2] to possibly 14 million[3][4]
Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, French, English, Lebanese Arabic, Armenian
Christianity, mainly Maronite, as well as Eastern Orthodox, Melkite, Roman Catholic, Protestant, and non-native to Lebanon like Armenian Orthodox, Armenian Catholic, Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholic.

Muslim, mainly Shia, Sunni, in addition to Druze, Alawite,

Lebanese Jews

Lebanese diaspora refers to Lebanese migrants and their descendants who, whether by choice or coercion, emigrated from Lebanon and now reside in other countries. There are more Lebanese living outside of Lebanon (8-14 million),[5] than within (4 million). The majority of the diaspora population consists of Lebanese Christians; however, there are some who are Muslim, Druze, and Jewish. They trace their origin to several waves of Christian emigration, starting with the exodus that followed the 1860 Lebanon conflict in Ottoman Syria.

Under the current Lebanese nationality law, diaspora Lebanese do not have an automatic right of return to Lebanon. Due to varying degrees of assimilation and high degree of interethnic marriages in the Lebanese diaspora communities, regardless of religious affiliation; most diaspora Lebanese have not passed on the Arabic language to their children, while still maintaining a Lebanese ethnic identity.

Although there are no reliable figures, the diaspora is estimated to be around 14 million people, far more than the internal population of Lebanon of around 4 million.[3][6] According to other estimates the number of Lebanese living outside the country is thought to at the very least double the number of citizens living inside,[1] which means at least 8 million people. Of the diaspora, 1.2 million are Lebanese citizens.[7]


The Lebanese diaspora, while historically trade-related, has more recently been linked to the Lebanese Civil War, with many Lebanese emigrating to Western countries. Because of the economic opportunities, many Lebanese have also worked in the Arab World, most notably the Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Currently around 60% of Lebanese citizens resident in Lebanon are Muslim and around 40% are Christian.[8]

The Americas have long been a destination for Lebanese migration, with Lebanese arriving in some countries at least as early as the nineteenth century. The largest concentration of Lebanese outside the Middle East is in Brazil, which has, according to some sources, at least 6 million Brazilians of Lebanese ancestry, making Brazil's population of Lebanese more than twice that of the entire population of Lebanon. The population of Brazil of either full or partial Lebanese descent is estimated at 7 [9] million people by Arab-Brazilian organizations. According to a research conducted by IBGE in 2008, covering only the states of Amazonas, Paraíba, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso and Distrito Federal, 0.9% of white Brazilian respondents said they had family origins in the Middle East [10]

There are also other large Lebanese communities in Latin American countries, namely Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Dominican Republic. Many Lebanese have also been settled for quite some time in the United States, Canada, Australia and in the European Union member states. There are also sizable populations in francophone West Africa, particularly Ivory Coast.

Lebanese abroad are not presently permitted the right to vote in Lebanese elections. A law passed in late 2008 gives expatriates the right to vote in elections in 2013.[11]

Business networks and economic impacts

Many Lebanese entrepreneurs and business people worldwide have proved very successful, in all kinds of sectors and contexts. Therefore, Lebanese abroad are considered "rich, educated and influential."[12] Remittances from Lebanese abroad to family members within the country were estimated at $8.9 billion in 2014 and accounted for 18% of the country's economy.[13] Though, there remains a great untapped potential for further collaboration and cooperation between the diaspora and the Lebanese in their home-country. Foreign Direct Investment is indeed below 7% of GDP while almost half the Lebanese population is enrolled in tertiary education.

Throughout their history, the Lebanese diaspora used their Lebanese identity to create strong networks to help each other out and many used them to develop a productive and profitable activity. Over the course of time, immigration has indeed yielded Lebanese "commercial networks" throughout the world.[14]

Lebanese populations in the diaspora

There are no reliable statistics about the actual number of people of Lebanese descent. The list below contains approximate figures for people of Lebanese descent by country of residence, largely taken from the iLoubnan diaspora map.[15] Additional reliable cites have been provided where possible. Additional estimates have been included where they can be cited; where applicable, these are used in place of the iLoubnan figures.

Country Estimate Upper Estimate Region Country article in English Wikipedia List of personalities of Lebanese origin
 Brazil 5,800,000;[15] according to a research conducted by IBGE in 2008, covering only the states of Amazonas, Paraíba, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso and Distrito Federal, 0.9% of white Brazilian respondents said they had family origins in the Middle East[10] 7,000,000[16](Brazilian/Lebanese governments)[17] Latin America Lebanese Brazilian Brazil
 Argentina 1,200,000[15][18] 1,500,000[18] Latin America Lebanese Argentine Argentina
 United States 500,000[19][note 1] 950,000 [20][note 2] North America Lebanese American USA
 Venezuela 341,000[15] 500,000[21] Latin America Lebanese Venezuelan Venezuela
 Australia 271,000[22][23] 350,000[24] Oceania Lebanese Australian Australia
 Mexico 240,000[15] 400,000[25] - 505,000[26] Latin America Lebanese Mexican Mexico
 Canada 190,275[27] 250,000[28] - 270,000[15] North America Lebanese Canadians Canada
 Colombia 125,000[15] 700,000[29] Latin America Lebanese Colombian Colombia
 Saudi Arabia 120,000[15] 299,000[30] Arab World Lebanese people in Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia
 Syria 114,000[31] Arab World Lebanese people in Syria Syria
 France 100,000[32][33] 225,000[15] - 250,000[34] European Union Lebanese French France
 Ecuador 98,000[15] 250,000 Latin America Lebanese Ecuadorian Ecuador
 United Arab Emirates 80,000[6] 156,000[35] Arab World Lebanese people in the United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates
 Uruguay 53,000[15] 70,000[36] Latin America Lebanese Uruguayan Uruguay
 Germany 50,000[37] European Union Lebanese German Germany
 Ivory Coast 50,000[38] 90,000[39] Sub-saharan Africa Lebanese people in Ivory Coast
 New Zealand 45,300[15] Oceania
 Kuwait 41,775[40] 106,000[41][42] Arab World Lebanese people in Kuwait
 Senegal 30,000[43][44] Sub-Saharan Africa Lebanese Senegalese
 Qatar 25,000[45] 191,000[46] Arab World Lebanese people in Qatar
 Spain 11,820[15] European Union Lebanese Spanish Spain
 South Africa 5,100[47] 20,000[48] Sub-Saharan Africa Lebanese people in South Africa South Africa
Caribbean[note 3] 545,200[15] Latin America Lebanese Jamaican Caribbean  · Cuba  · Haiti  · Jamaica
Rest of Latin America, ex. Caribbean[note 4] 181,800[15] Latin America Lebanese Chileans Chile  · Guatemala  · Dutch Antilles
Scandinavia 108,220[15] European Union Lebanese Swedish Sweden  · Denmark
Rest of GCC[note 5] 105,000[15] Arab World
Rest of European Union[note 6] 96,780[15] European Union Lebanese British  · Lebanese Bulgarian** · Lebanese Greek Bulgaria  · Cyprus  · Germany  · Italy  · Monaco  · Netherlands  · Switzerland  · UK
Rest of Sub-Saharan Africa[note 7] 42,510[15] Sub-Saharan Africa Lebanese Sierra Leonean Ghana  · Sierra Leone
North Africa[note 8] 14,000[15] North Africa Lebanese Egyptian Egypt
Asia[note 9] 2,600[15] Asia

Note: An important percentage of Arabs in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Portugal and Spain are of Lebanese ancestry. They are denoted ** for this purpose.

Notable persons of Lebanese descent

Prominent Lebanese Figures
وجوه من لبنان

Charbel.jpg Estephane-Douaihi.jpg 90x90px
Camille chamoun.jpg Fairuz in btd concert 2001.jpg Khalil Gibran.jpg

Carlos Slim Helú.jpg 90x90px Carlos Ghosn - India Economic Summit 2009.jpg Elie Saab in Beirut 2005.jpg
CharlesElachi.jpg 90x90px Elissar Zakaria Khoury.jpg
Donna Shalala - Knight Foundation.jpg Ray LaHood official DOT portrait.jpg Michel Temer.jpg Naderspeak.JPG 90x90px UNICEF UK (14281378624) (cropped).jpg
Cardinal Nasrallah Peter Sfeir.jpg Béchara-Raï.jpg


Famous scientists of Lebanese descent include: Peter Medawar (Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine), Elias Corey (Nobel Prize in Chemistry), Michael Atiyah (Fields Medalist, Mathematics).

Prominent members of the Lebanese diaspora include Presidents and Vice-Presidents, e.g. Julio Teodoro Salem, Abdalá Bucaram, Alberto Dahik, Jamil Mahuad (all in Ecuador), Jacobo Majluta Azar (Dominican Republic), Julio Cesar Turbay (Colombia) and Alberto Abdala (Uruguay). Other famous politicians include Philip Habib US Politician and Peace Envoy, George J. Mitchell US Politician and Peace Envoy, Ralph Nader, 2004 and 2008 US presidential candidate, Edward Seaga Prime Minister of Jamaica.

Very famous businessmen of Lebanese descent include Carlos Slim Helú, Carlos Ghosn and Nicolas Hayek and famous names in entertainment like Danny Thomas, Salma Hayek, Shakira, Tony Shalhoub, Paul Anka, Mika and sportsmen like Doug Flutie, and Rony Seikaly.

See also


  1. 26% of 1.9m Americans of Arab descent
  2. 26% of 3,665,789 Americans of Arab descent
  3. Includes Cuba, Guadalupe & Haiti
  4. Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru
  5. Excludes Saudi Arabia & Kuwait, includes Iraq & Jordan
  6. Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Monaco, Switzerland, United Kingdom
  7. Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria & Sierra Leone
  8. Egypt, Libya & rest of North Africa
  9. Iran & Philippines

External links

  • The Lebanese Demographic Reality Lebanese Information Center, reviewed by Statistics Lebanon. 14 January 2013.
  • KUSUMO, Fitra Ismu, "ISLAM EN AMERICA LATINA Tomo I: La expansión del Islam y su llegada a América Latina (Spanish Edition)"[5]
  • KUSUMO, Fitra Ismu, "ISLAM EN AMÉRICA LATINA Tomo II: Migración Árabe a América Latina y el caso de México (Spanish Edition)" [6]
  • KUSUMO, Fitra Ismu, "ISLAM EN AMÉRICA LATINA Tomo III: El Islam hoy desde América Latina (Spanish Edition)"[7]


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