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Although some writers claim that these immigrants left their native countries for religious or political reasons, the evidence suggests that they were drawn to the United States and other countries by economic opportunity.Of the approximately 60,000 Arabs who emigrated to the United States between 18, approximately half were illiterate, and 68 percent were single males.The Arab world consists of 21 countries that span from North Africa to the Persian Gulf. and its phenomenal expansion over parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe, Arabic culture and language spread to the newly conquered peoples.Ethnic Arabs inhabited the Arabian Peninsula and neighboring areas. Over time the Arab identity lost its purely ethnic roots as millions in the Middle East and North Africa adopted the Arabic language and integrated Arab culture with that of their own.The major exception to this pattern was a small group of Arab writers, poets, and artists who took up residence in major urban centers such as New York and Boston.The most famous of the group was Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931), author of The Prophet and numerous other works.The discrepancy is partly due to the standardization of Arabs in the United States, leading many to conceal their ethnic affiliation.The traditional suspicion of Middle Easterners toward government authorities seeking information of a personal nature compounds this problem.
Arab Americans are geographically concentrated in a handful of cities and states.Early immigrants settled in the urban areas of the Northeast and Midwest, in states like New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio.By 1940, a fifth of the estimated 350,000 Arabs resided in three cities—New York, Boston, and Detroit.Arab Christians, particularly in the countries of Egypt and the Fertile Crescent (Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Jordan) constitute roughly ten percent of the population.In Lebanon, Christians of various sects approach just under half of the population, while in Egypt, Christians comprise between ten and 15 percent of the population.
Others homesteaded on the Great Plains and in rural areas of the South.