Somali Americans Demographics

Somali Americans are American citizens and residents born in, or with ancestors from Somalia.

The first Somalis to arrive in the United States were sailors who came in the 1920s and settled in New York.[2] In the late 1970s, more Somali immigrants followed suit. However, it was not until the 1990s when the Somali Civil War broke out that the majority of Somalis first arrived in the US.

The Somali community in the United States is the seventh largest in the world behind those of Ethiopia, Yemen, Kenya, Djibouti, the Middle East, the United Kingdom and Canada, respectively.

Local sociologists have dubbed the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul as the Somali capitol of the United States, boasting a Somali population of 60,000 persons. Other sub-Saharan immigrants such as Ethiopians are also settling in the region mostly in Minnesota and the Kansas City area. Arabic settlement has increased substantially in some Kansas counties since the 2000 Census.

The heaviest concentrations of Somalis in the US are found in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul), followed by Washington, DC; Columbus, Ohio; New York City; Buffalo, New York; Kansas City; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle metro areas.

Arizona has seen notable Somali migration in recent years, mostly to Phoenix (especially the suburb of Glendale) and Tucson. Other states with significant Somali communities include Ohio, California, Georgia, Washington, Texas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, Colorado and Florida.

An estimated 25,000 Somalis live in the US State of Minnesota, where it is possible to find Somalis in almost every small town, especially in South Minneapolis, St. Paul and Rochester. The Twin Cities now harbor the largest population of Somalis in North America,[3] with the city of Minneapolis hosting hundreds of Somali-owned and operated businesses. Colorful stalls inside several malls offer everything from halal meat, to stylish leather shoes, to the latest fashion for men and women, as well as gold jewelry, money transfer or hawala offices, banners advertising the latest Somali films, video stores fully stocked with nostalgic love songs not found in the mainstream supermarkets, groceries and boutiques.[4] The number of Somalis has especially surged in the Cedar-Riverside area (in particular, Riverside Plaza) of Minneapolis.

Somali Americans have managed to retain their culture and religion despite long-term residence in the United States.


Allied Media Corp.
6723 Whittier Ave.
Suite 204 
McLean, VA 22101