Iranian-Americans: A Popular Social History of a New American Ethnic Group

Author: Ansari, Maboud
Iranian immigration to the United States is a relatively new political phenomenon and constitutes one of the highest status foreign-born groups in the United States. More Iranians live in the U.S., today than in any other country in the world other than Iran. It began fifty-five years ago with the study abroad of young Iranians. They came to the United States in the 1950’s often as temporary residents (students and interns) but eventually changed their status to permanent residents. However, it was the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the establishment of the Islamic Republic, and the eight years of Iran-Iraq war that forced many of the best educated and most wealthy into exile in the United States and many other countries. Never before in Iran’s long history, have so many people involuntarily had to leave their country. In so far as the revolution ousted the Pahlavi dynasty, displaced the ruling class directly associated with it, it drastically changed the pattern and the nature of Iranian emigration to the United States. Consequently, the Iranian community in the United States has since undergone important structural changes in its character, its social composition, economic power, and notably, its political orientation and participation.


“Of the many immigrant groups to arrive in the United States in our lifetimes, Iranian-Americans seem to receive less scholarly, even journalistic, attention in comparison to many other groups. This is a bit perplexing because the Iranian presence is significant both in numbers and in socioeconomic importance. In 2010, the U.S. Census estimated that about 464,000 Iranian-Americans resided in the United States. Of this number, more than two thirds are first-generation Americans, arriving since 1980. Even more notable is the fact that 27 percent of the total have arrived since 2001. This book is the first detailed study of why Iranians chose to come to America and what their experiences are like once they arrive.”
Vincent N. Parrillo, William Paterson University

“It is high time for a book on Iranian-Americans. This fills a huge gap in both the sociological and general literature. Professor Ansari’s personal experience and extensive research in this area make him the ideal person to create this landmark book that will springboard further research in this area.”
Prof. Kathleen Odell Korgen,
William Paterson University

"... has written it in an easy-to-read style, for anyone interested in the Iranian-American community's evolution over the last few decades. ... Dr. Ansari's book book provides the most in-depth sociological examination of Iranian-Americans to date, a book that all of us, including those of us who felt so alone in our duality, can relate and find comfort in. And so, for now, the story of Us is complete and Dr Ansari has achieved his goal of providing "a springboard to further studies of the experiences of Iranian-Americans." -Shaghayegh Hanson