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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.

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Others homesteaded on the Great Plains and in rural areas of the South.

Very few Arabic-speaking immigrants made their way across the Atlantic during the interwar period marked by the Great Depression and anti-immigrant sentiment.

Today, the term Arab is a cultural, linguistic, and to some extent, political designation.

It embraces numerous national and regional groups as well as many non-Muslim religious minorities.

Arabic-speaking immigrants arrived in the United States in three major waves.

The first wave between the late 1800s and World War I consisted mainly of immigrants from Greater Syria, an Arab province of the Ottoman Empire until the end of World War I.

Arab Americans trace their ancestral roots to several Arab countries.

Lebanon is the homeland of a majority of Arab Americans, followed by Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, and Jordan.

These two factors, along with standard problems in collecting census data, probably explain the discrepancy between the estimates of scholars and the actual census count.

Considering these factors, a revised estimate likely would place the number of Arab Americans in the range of one to two million.

The remainder were from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq.

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