Twilight of ethnic identity? Implication of mixed ancestries among Arab Americans

Document Type


Publication Date



Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Publication Title

Journal of International Migration and Integration


Utilizing the nationally representative 2010–2014 American Community Survey Public Use Micro Sample data, we examine patterns and determinants of ethnic identity among US-born Arab Americans, an increasingly visible and growing ethnic group in the USA. Specifically, this study examines how various socioeconomic and sociodemographic factors affect the probability of reporting Arab-only and mixed ethnic identities. Applying the tenets of assimilation theory, we identify the multiple pathways of identity found among Arab Americans. Descriptive analysis illustrated about half of Lebanese and Syrians were listed as “mixed” and most of them are mixed with whites. By comparison, more than 70% of Yemenis, Kurdish, Palestinians, and Jordanians indicated an “Arab-only” identity. Logistic regression analysis controlled for key demographics and showed that only two ancestry groups, Lebanese and Syrian, were more likely to be mixed with “whites” if they ever mixed with non-Arabs. Findings uncover the saliency of national origin and key demographics, highlighting factors that encourage the presence of options, as well as showcasing the multiple paths of identity assimilation.

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