[P4058] Arabs in the U.S. Census

Created by Rita Stephan
Sunday, 11/22/15 4:30pm


In December 2014, the Census Bureau announced its intension to test a Middle Eastern and North Africa category for inclusion in the 2020 Census. This is a vitally important measure to correct the problematic under count of the community. Federal data on Arab Americans have historically been derived from a question on ancestry in the American Community Survey. Since 1980, the Census Bureau has compiled ancestry data on Arab Americans in conjunction with demographic, social, economic, and health information.
This panel aims to explore the formation and evolution of Arab classification in the Census by examining how the Census Bureau has constructed Arab Americans in different periods. It also investigates why the Census Bureau has experienced difficulties reaching and counting the Arab American population; how would a MENA ethnic category reflect the changing lives and experiences of Arabs in the United States? And, how useful is the American Community Survey (ACS) in understanding the demographic and socio-economic characteristics, especially health, educational and economic disparities of Arab Americans?


Arab American Studies Association






Rita Stephan

(North Carolina State University)
Rita Stephan is a visiting researcher at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She works at the U. S. Department of State as a Foreign Affairs Analyst. She was previously the Arab-American analyst with the...
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;