Undercounted Everywhere

Demographers and statisticians have nightmares counting the Arabs in Latin America.

To see this in action one need merely go to: Lebanese-Argentine, on Wikipedia which lists 1.5 Million Lebanese in Argentina …
and then go to: Arab-Argentine, which lists a spread of 1,300,000 – 3,500,000 Arab-Argentines.

How in the world could Wikipedia even entertain 1.3 Million as the low end of the spread when it lists 1.5 Million Lebanese-Argentines, who are roughly half the Argentine-Arab population? The Lebanese alone would set the low end at 1.5 Million. Realizing that Syrian Orthodox Argentines are just as numerous, if not more, would fix the low end of Arab-Argentines at 3.0 Million, not 1.3 Million.

So how does this idiocy arise?

The Lebanese Maronites will often not self-identify as Arabs.

Actually, 3.5 to 4.0 Million Arab-Argentines is probably the more accurate spread. This is backed up by other sources, including FEARAB-Argentina which claimed 4 Million Arab-Argentines (probably a slight bit high).

In Argentina, the Arabs claimed 4 Million Population (1:00) – Mostly Christian
They were mad that a popular secular Arab-Argentine show was being cancelled to make
way for a Muslim show that most Arab-Argentines, being Christian, did not even want.

In the case of South America, I have found that a good rule of thumb – except for Chile – is to find the number of Lebanese and double it to account for Syrian Orthodox Christians, and then add another 10% to account for other Arabs to get a good estimate. The Maronites and Syrian Orthodox are roughly equal, and you add in 10% for the other Arabs – except in Chile where Palestinians abound. This tends to produce a more accurate figure; and when cross-checked will often bear out.


Take a look at this:

Source: Lebanese-American (Wikipedia)

Lebanese Americans comprise 0.79% of the American population as of the American Community Survey estimations for year 2007, …

Do the math: 0.79% x 301 Million Americans (2007) = ~ 2.4 Million Lebanese-Americans.

Yet, the same Wikipedia article lists American Lebanese as “504,499 (born)” and “489,702 (Ancestry).” That is a discrepancy of over 1 million people compared to the 2.4 Million predicated by caluclation above.

Wikipedia also lists 1,698,570 as the low estimate for Arab-Americans,; yet, as we have shown, there should be approximately 2.4 Million Lebanese-Americans alone.

What is going on is the common refusal of Christian-Lebanese Americans to identify as Arabs. It is infuriating and makes analysis much harder.

As the Canadian-American scholar, T.B. Irving, noted:

Source Islamic Renewal in Iberia and Latin America: Its Needs and Preconditions T.B. Irving 1981
a lecture delivered at the University of Brasilia

Frankly it has been hard to gather much data on this subject. Yet even the Christian Lebanese immigrants to South America (and I might include much of Africa where these Lebanese have also gone as mer­chants and entrepreneurs) owe much to their over‑all Arab heritage, even though many of them try to call themselves “Phoenicians”.

This is common throughout all our studies. In the end, we are forced to conclude that the number of Arabs in any country (even the United States) in the Western Hemisphere is usually grossly under reported, because Lebanese Christians, especially Maronite Catholics, will often refuse to identify as Arabs.

In Australia, this created an absurdity where Australians of Lebanese-Christian background were allowed to classify themselves as Syriac (an ancient language group, not the modern Syrian nationality) rather than Arabs.

One might aver: If the Lebanese Christian (Maronites) don’t want to be called Arab, then they are not Arab.  The problem is these Maronites will bring in Arabic cuisine, Arabic music, Arabic dance, and even speak Arabic, which belies their refusal to be considered as Arabic. They were often the initial introduction of Arab culture to any country in the Western Hemisphere, but they confound statisticians with their refusal to identify themselves as Arabs. Given their history, one may understand why, but it is very frustrating when one has to compile the statistics.

Lebanese really like to assimilate, but in their weaker moments, their Arab identity slips out.
Uncle Tonoose on Danny Thomas (who was of Maronite extraction) show

May 11, 2017 – Edited: Updated figures and texts.
November 24, 2017 – Edited: Added a link.