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.
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 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.
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.
The vast majority of immigrants in this wave were members of Christian 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.
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.