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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.
The Arab world consists of 21 countries that span from North Africa to the Persian Gulf. and its phenomenal expansion over parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe, Arabic culture and language spread to the newly conquered peoples.
Ethnic Arabs inhabited the Arabian Peninsula and neighboring areas. Over time the Arab identity lost its purely ethnic roots as millions in the Middle East and North Africa adopted the Arabic language and integrated Arab culture with that of their own.
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.
Arab Christians, particularly in the countries of Egypt and the Fertile Crescent (Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Jordan) constitute roughly ten percent of the population.
Previous estimates by scholars and Arab American community organizations placed the number of Arab Americans at between one and three 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.
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.