110,000 Iraqi Refugees in US, Where Are They?

January 31, 2015 Updated: October 8, 2018

It has been seven years since the United States opened its borders to tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees. And they keep coming. Last year, over 20,000 crossed the border—a record number. More than 1,500 more have come so far in 2015, as of Jan. 31, foretelling another high year. So where are they settling?

Since the Iraq War started in 2003, some 2 million people fled the country, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

For years, the United States only accepted a handful of refugees, fomenting criticism.

In 2007, U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, called on President George W. Bush to guarantee save haven to all the Iraqis who aided the United States during the war, possibly tens of thousands. They were facing violent threats in the unstable country, Crocker said, according to Washington Post.

Since then over 110,000 have come to the United States.

The largest chunk, over 23,000 settled in California. Close to 18,000 ended up in Michigan and another almost 11,000 in Texas.

California is the biggest host state for refugees. Out of some 600,000 refugees that have come to the country in the past decade, more than 65,000 went to California—over two thirds of them were from Iraq and Iran.

El Cajon, a town of 100,000 on the outskirt of San Diego, accepted over 9,000 of the Iraqi refugees. One of its main streets is even dubbed “Little Baghdad,” according to The Progressive.

Iraqis in Michigan make up two thirds of all the refugees in the state.

Texas, on the other hand, hosts over 56,000 refugees, but majority are from Burma, Bhutan, and Somalia.

More than one in five Iraqi refugees came with college education and over a quarter of them are children under 14, according to the Department of State data. Almost a third of them are Christians, most of others are Muslims.

Cities and towns with the highest incoming Iraqi refugee population in the past 10 years
El Cajon California 9,568
Southfield Michigan 4,417
San Diego California 3,742
Phoenix Arizona 3,723
Houston Texas 3,532
Sterling Heights Michigan 3,505
Chicago Illinois 3,104
Source: U.S. Department of State, Jan .31, 2015


States sorted by the highest incoming Iraqi refugee population in the past 10 years
California 23,140
Michigan 17,582
Texas 10,853
Arizona 6,981
Illinois 6,677
Massachusetts 3,962
Virginia 3,768
New York 3,455
Washington 3,276
Pennsylvania 2,479
Ohio 2,435
Tennessee 2,410
Florida 2,282
Georgia 2,275
Kentucky 2,132
North Carolina 1,763
Colorado 1,740
Missouri 1,628
Utah 1,521
Maryland 1,351
Idaho 1,346
Oregon 1,209
Wisconsin 984
Connecticut 923
Minnesota 830
New Jersey 694
Maine 667
North Dakota 666
Nebraska 600
Nevada 586
Iowa 572
Indiana 471
New Hampshire 446
New Mexico 441
Louisiana 425
Alabama 421
Kansas 334
South Dakota 269
South Carolina 219
Oklahoma 214
Rhode Island 172
Vermont 169
District of Columbia 124
West Virginia 60
Alaska 46
Arkansas 43
Mississippi 12
Delaware 8
Montana 8
Hawaii 4
Source: U.S. Department of State, Jan. 31, 2015


Follow Petr on Twitter: @petrsvab