There are an estimated 350,000-400,000 Yemenis living in the United States as of 2010.
Yemenis first arrived to the United States in 1869. These early immigrants became farmers in the West and worked in automobile factories in Midwestern and Northern states; most settled in New York, Michigan, and California.
The first Yemeni entrepreneurs in the United States were owners of cafes, gas stations, and businesses that are not characteristic of Yemeni culture. It is likely that Yemenis became owners of cafes connected with the more established Lebanese and Palestinian communities.
Although the overwhelming majority of Yemeni Americans are Muslim, there are also some American Jews of Yemeni ancestry, most of whose parents or ancestors came to the U.S. via Israel. Today, significant Yemeni communities exist in Brooklyn, New York; Buffalo, New York; Lackawanna, New York; Dearborn, Michigan; Hamtramck, Michigan; Falls Church, Virginia; Chicago, Illinois; Bakersfield, California; and Fresno, California. About 15,000 Yemeni Americans live in Michigan.
Many Yemenis worked in factories in the Midwest, particularly in the cities of Detroit, Canton, Weirton, and Buffalo, as well as on farms in the San Joaquin Valley in California. Between the Great Depression of 1929 and the end of World War II, Yemeni immigration to United States slowed dramatically, before again increasing from 1945.
In 1945, many Yemenis immigrated to United States from Vietnam, where they had worked in warehouses, shops, and on the docks. Many of these immigrants were illiterate. When in 1965 the quota system for immigration was eliminated, Yemenis could more easily gain Visas to reside in the U.S. and get a job in this country, prompting a great increase in the numbers of Yemeni immigrants. Whereas the first Yemeni immigrants were mostly adult males, after 1970 the demographic profile of Yemeni immigrants became more diverse.
Yemeni community upcoming events
International Yemeni Film & Arts Festival
The second International Yemeni Film & Arts Festival is coming to Washington on April 15-17! This five-day event will include screenings of narrative and documentary films, special presentations on Yemeni arts and crafts, and an exhibition of contemporary art and photography from Yemen.
Discounted tickets and a full schedule of events are available atwww.YemenFestival.com. Festival passes are $50; single-screening tickets are $13 online and $15 at the door.
Arab & Yemeni Associations the United States
To keep in touch with the Yemeni community in the United States, we suggest connecting with organizations active in our community, including: