in north america

Afghanistan consists primarily of four people groups: the Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, and Uzbek with Dari and Pashto being the official languages spoken.  Uzbek, Turkman, Urdu, Hazaragi and other languages are third official languages depending on the region of the country that people are from.  The country is mountainous and has many natural resources. The largest export in recent years has been opium. Saffron, however, has begun to be produced in place of some of the opium poppies. The history of Afghanistan is replete with war and instability. As a result, many Afghans have fled their homeland in various waves over the last few decades, and this is the main reason they arrive in North America. There are also thousands of Afghans in the United States who have received Special Immigrant Visas due to their work on behalf of the U.S. Military.

Afghans may be found in Toronto, Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, northern Virginia and New York, with smaller populations in other cities. There are an estimated 400,000 Afghans in North America, of which around 50% are Pashtun, 35% are Tajik, 10% are Hazara, and 5% are Uzbek (estimates from Afghan community leaders). They open restaurants and other businesses. They tend to live a middle-class lifestyle or higher. Some are involved in real estate and other such businesses. Young Afghans in North America are active in their community promoting Afghan music and culture. Due to recent upheaval in the Afghan government, North America is likely to see many new Afghan refugees.

Religious Life

Afghanistan is more than 99% Muslim. Most follow Sunni Islam, but some are Shia.  Afghanistan once had a Jewish population, but that population almost wholly exists outside Afghanistan now, with many in New York City. Among the Hazara people group there are a small number of Christians, but they are still an unreached people group. There are also Hindu and Sikh populations among Afghans.

Under the influence of the Taliban (an ultra-conservative Islamic group), women in Afghanistan were required to wear a burqa which covers the entire face of the woman. Afghans living in North America vary in the strictness of their religious adherence. There are Taliban-supporting Afghans in North America, there are progressive Afghan Muslims, there are Afghan Muslims who identify with Islam only in a socio-cultural way, and everything in between!

There are a handful of Afghan Christian churches in North America, all of which are very small.

These are the Afghan communities in North America most in need of gospel witness

People GroupMetropolitan AreaPopulation SizeConcentrated AreaPriority Score
AfghanLos Angeles15,567Irvine57
AfghanNew York9,871Flushing (Queens)49
AfghanSacramento21,783Elk Grove69
AfghanSan Diego6,061Carlsbad58
AfghanSan Francisco32,142Fremont69
AfghanMontreal9,215Saint-Martin (Laval)59
AfghanVancouver7,980West Minster51
AfghanWashington D.C.29,696Springfield73
Afghan Hindu/SikhNew York6,000Hicksville (Long Island)86
Algerian ArabMontreal54,635Little Maghreb71
BambaraNew York5,000Harlem69
BangladeshiNew York118,166Jamaica (Queens)43
BangladeshiDallas Fort Worth8,544Richardson47
BangladeshiToronto23,400Danforth Village46
BangladeshiWashington D.C.23,908York Town49
BangladeshiLos Angeles7,362Little Bangladesh46
BangladeshiMontreal6,920Parc Extension48
Belzer JewishNew York12,518Borough Park (Brooklyn)86
Bobover JewishNew York23,509Borough Park (Brooklyn)90
BosniakSt. Louis50,000Mehlville77
BosniakUtica5,000Bleecker St.60
BosniakDes Moines10,000Merle Hay63
BosniakGrand Rapids10,000Kentwood63
BosniakNew York10,000Astoria (Queens)63
BosniakBowling Green5,000Morgantown Road60
Breslov JewishNew York5,000Boro Park86
Bukharan JewishNew York60,000Rego Park (Queens)74
Chabad Lubavitch JewishNew York27,103Crown Heights (Brooklyn)91
Egyptian ArabLos Angeles23,765Anaheim40
Egyptian ArabMontreal8,733Saint-Laurent27
Egyptian ArabToronto36,340Mississauga45
Egyptian ArabNew York47,647Astoria (Queens)46
Egyptian ArabDallas Fort Worth5,621Richardson30
Egyptian ArabChicago8,276Hickory Hills25
Egyptian ArabNashville7,308South Nashville31
Egyptian ArabRiverside6,564San Bernardino30
Egyptian ArabWashington D.C.10,911Lanier Heights24
Egyptian ArabPhiladelphia5,249Center City33
Fouta TooroCincinnati5,000Lockland75
Fouta TooroNew York7,600Bed-Stuy (Brooklyn)78
Fulbe FutaNew York5,000Morrisania (Bronx77
Gerer JewishNew York8,791Borough Park84
Gorsky-Kavkazi JewishNew York10,000Kensington (Brooklyn)89
GujaratiNew York138,735Edison (NJ)70
GujaratiSan Francisco39,116Fremont52
GujaratiLos Angeles40,328Woodbury45
GujaratiAtlanta23,816Big Creek52
GujaratiHouston32,736Sugar Land 62
GujaratiMontreal7,830Dollard-Des Ormeaux56
GujaratiBoston17,364Town of Acton59
GujaratiCharlotte7,206Mallard Creek46
GujaratiEdmonton7,510Strathcona Industrial Park52
GujaratiBaltimore8,615Ellicott city44
GujaratiAustin8,364Walsh Creek44
GujaratiDallas Fort Worth32,132Plano48
GujaratiRiverside6,579Sierra del Oro50
GujaratiSan Diego7,746Miramar49
GujaratiPhoenix10,087Chandler-Kirby Estates47
GujaratiSan Jose34,825San Jose59
GujaratiSacramento9,972North Natomas50
GujaratiMinneapolis8,630Eden Prairie49
GujaratiColumbus, OH5,605Polaris37
GujaratiHartford5,297Rocky Hill49
GujaratiWashington D.C.34,109Calverton61
Gujarati Vancouver10,685South Vancouver58
Indian HindiNew York249,722Jersey City, Edison46
Indian HindiToronto171,095Etobicoke45
Indian HindiSan Francisco70,473Fremont40
Indian HindiChicago80,975Georgetown44
Indian HindiVancouver68,905South Vancouver39
Indian HindiHouston58,925Sugar Land38
Indian HindiLos Angeles72,590Artesia37
Indian HindiSacramento20,322Valley Hi/North Laguna44
Indian HindiBoston31,256Town of Acton54
Indian HindiMontreal18,163Parc Extension56
Indian HindiSeattle33,699Bellevue31
Indian HindiRaleigh12,038Morrisville45
Indian HindiDallas Fort Worth57,838Breckinridge Farms32
Indian HindiOttawa10,595Napean/Westboro56
Indian HindiEdmonton27,470SE Edmonton51
Indian HindiCharlotte12,972Mecklenburg41
Indian HindiPhoenix18,156Chandler-Kirby Estates55
Indian HindiMinneapolis15,533Edina50
Indian HindiAustin15,055Walsh Creek47
Indian HindiSan Diego13,942Miramar50
Indian HindiWinnipeg11,300Colony (Little India)53
Indian HindiCincinnati7,623Clifton Heights47
Indian HindiOrlando12,244Williamsburg 50
Indian HindiKitchener6,585West Mount36
Indian HindiCleveland6,268Glenwillow48
Indian HindiDenver8,191Sedalia52
Indian HindiPortland9,021Rockcreek44
Indian HindiTampa12,236Brandon52
Indian HindiMiami20,009Plantation55
Indian HindiBridgeport7,331Stamford53
Indian HindiBaltimore15,507Ellicott city35
Indian HindiSan Jose62,685San Jose50
Indian HindiHartford9,535Rocky Hill49
Indian HindiPittsburgh6,612Marshall Township48
Indian HindiRichmond6,588Three Chopt31
Indian HindiSt.Louis7,112Ballwin44
Indian HindiIndianapolis7,366Wayne Township51
Indian HindiMilwaukee5,679Brookfield58
Indian HindiColumbus, OH10,090Polaris36
Indian Hindi Atlanta42,868Big Creek36
Indian Hindi Alberta9,330Calgary 36
Indian Hindi Philadelphia43,694Eaglesville (Center City)57
Indian Hindi Detroit36,113Troy 56
Indian Hindi Washington D.C.61,396Ellicott city46
Indian Hindi Riverside11,842Sierra del Oro51
Indonesian MuslimLos Angeles7,500San Bernardino29
Iraqi ArabAtlanta5,988Clarkston38
Iraqi ArabAustin6,161Pflugerville43
Iraqi ArabBuffalo7,305North Park52
Iraqi ArabHouston11,914Mid-West41
Iraqi ArabSacramento5,173Arden-Arcade38
Iraqi ArabNew York5,520Astoria (Queens)47
Iraqi Arab Detroit68,626East Dearborn57
Iraqi Arab Chicago17,491Bridgeview53
Iraqi Arab Toronto29,045Vaughan47
Iraqi Arab San Diego16,591El Cajon56
Iraqi Arab Dallas Fort Worth22,987Richardson42
Iraqi Arab Phoenix12,758Jefferson at Steele Indian42
Iraqi Arab Seattle7,667South Seattle39
Iraqi Arab Washington D.C.7,238Lanier Heights42
Iraqi ArabVancouver5,205Surrey40
Israeli Sabra JewishToronto7,625North York49
Israeli Sabra JewishMiami12,299Plantation54
Israeli Sabra JewishNew York36,720Kew Gardens Hills (Queens)66
Israeli Sabra JewishChicago5,148Skokie47
Israeli Sabra JewishSan Francisco9,384Sunnyvale51
Israeli Sabra JewishLos Angeles18,885Pico Robertson & Fairfax60
Jordanian Arab MuslimNew York5,543Paterson39
Jordanian Arab MuslimChicago7,122Bridgeview40
JulaNew York5,000Harlem69
Kabyle BerberMontreal31,532Longue-Pointe50
KazakhNew York5,460Brighton Beach (Brooklyn)50
Kosovar AlbanianNew York40,000Pelham Parkway (Bronx)64
KurdsDallas Fort Worth6,500South Arlington52
KurdsNashville15,000Elysian Fields53
Lebanese Arab MuslimDetroit33,099East Dearborn42
Lebanese Arab MuslimNew York15,759Paterson33
Lebanese Arab MuslimToronto29,750Mississauga34
Lebanese Arab MuslimLos Angeles18,893Monterey Park35
Lebanese Arab MuslimBoston12,694Somerville34
Lebanese Arab MuslimDallas Fort Worth6,440Richardson27
Lebanese Arab MuslimHouston6,622Mid West27
Lebanese Arab MuslimMiami8,971Upper Eastside47
Lebanese Arab MuslimMontreal10,731Saint-Laurent34
Lebanese Arab MuslimWashington D.C.6,904Woodley Park 33
MandinkaNew York5,000Highbridge (Bronx)81
ManinkaNew York5,000Concourse (Bronx)76
Persian Jewish (Mashadi)New York5,000Great Neck (Long Island)88
Moroccan ArabBoston10,968Malden45
Moroccan ArabLos Angeles7,272Central LA-Beverly Wood44
Moroccan ArabNew York33,693Astoria (Queens)56
Moroccan Arab Chicago5,961Bridgeview44
Moroccan ArabDetroit6,660Hamtramck37
Moroccan Arab Miami9,935Upper Eastside47
Moroccan Arab Philadelphia9,409Center City41
Moroccan Arab Washington D.C.15,634Brockwood49
Moroccan Arab Montreal77,450Little Maghreb74
Moroccan BerberMontreal17,596Little Maghreb68
Moroccan JewishToronto5,000North York83
Moroccan JewishMontreal10,000Hampstead64
PakistaniToronto128,845East York51
PakistaniNew York105,236Midwood (Brooklyn)50
PakistaniDallas Fort Worth23,450Breckinridge Farms45
PakistaniSan Francisco12,654Diamond Heights39
PakistaniWashington D.C.42,941Fairfax couty, Mt. Vernon46
PakistaniLos Angeles23,831Central LA35
PakistaniAlberta19,500Calgary (castleridge)45
PakistaniVancouver14,610Burnaby and Surrey48
PakistaniMontreal15,920Parc Extension48
PakistaniEdmonton11,805Blue Quill37
PakistaniMiami8,054Miramar-Pimebrook Pines49
PakistaniSacramento6,970North Oak Park44
PakistaniBaltimore11,275Ellicott City29
PakistaniOrlando5,396Florida Center48
PakistaniSan Jose5,890Milipitas44
Pakistani Ottawa7,175Sandy Hill46
Pakistani Detroit10,101Canton36
Palestinian Arab MuslimNew York16,222South Paterson (NJ)50
Palestinian Arab MuslimToronto15,555Mississauga50
Palestinian Arab MuslimChicago24,832Chicago Lawn52
Palestinian Arab MuslimDallas Fort Worth5,052Richardson38
Palestinian Arab MuslimDetroit7,584Livonia36
Palestinian Arab MuslimLos Angeles12,064Anaheim44
Palestinian Arab MuslimSan Francisco7,609Soma42
Palestinian Arab MuslimWashington D.C.6,078Lanier Heights38
PersianToronto97,110North York41
PersianLos Angeles127,713Tehrangeles43
PersianNew York30,520Great Neck (Long Island)33
PersianSan Francisco50,170San Mateo25
PersianVancouver44,355West Vancouver23
PersianSan Diego17,282La Jolla20
PersianMontreal23,410Notre Dame de Grâce24
PersianHouston14,742Woodlake/Briar Meadow21
PersianDallas Fort Worth13,939Plano21
PersianPortland6,672Pearl District22
Persian Washington D.C.30,426Tysons Corner26
Persian Sacramento8,100El Dorado Hills17
Punjabi SikhAtlanta6,187Norcross55
Punjabi SikhBakerfield, CA10,000Panama56
Punjabi SikhDallas Fort Worth5,815Irving50
Punjabi SikhFresno10,000Muscatel47
Punjabi SikhHouston8,184Willowbrook51
Punjabi SikhNew York80,000Richmond Hill (Queens)69
Punjabi SikhToronto159,910Brampton75
Punjabi SikhVancouver155,945Surrey65
Punjabi SikhSacramento50,000South Yuba City54
Punjabi SikhLos Angeles30,000Buena Park59
Punjabi SikhChicago11,247West Ridge58
Punjabi SikhDetroit10,000Canton56
Punjabi SikhIndianapolis10,000McCordsville55
Punjabi SikhPhiladelphia5,360Millbourne55
Punjabi SikhWashington D.C.8,618Fairfax47
Punjabi SikhSeattle20,000Kent67
Punjabi SikhEdmonton20,425Southeast Edmonton64
Punjabi SikhSan Francisco40,000Fremont71
Punjabi SikhWinnipeg9,885The Maples43
Punjabi SikhAbbotsford28,235Clearbrook49
Punjabi SikhHamilton5,920Grayside50
Punjabi SikhCalgary30,420Castleridge59
Punjabi SikhMontreal9,205Parc Extension57
Pupa JewishNew York8,825Williamsburg (Brooklyn)90
Sanzer JewishNew York7,006Borough Park88
Satmar JewishNew York156,744Williamsburg (Brooklyn)99
Skver JewishNew York17,678New Square (Rockland Cty)91
SomaliCalgary6,607Northeast Calgary63
SomaliColumbus, OH45,000Northland79
SomaliNashville5,000Southeast Nashville61
Somali Ottawa25,650Ridgemont75
Somali San Diego15,000El Cerrito72
Somali BantuToronto6,000Etobicoke86
Somali BantuColumbus, OH5,000West side85
SoninkeNew York15,000Highbridge (Bronx)85
Sri Lankan SinhaleseToronto15,000Scarborough37
Sri Lankan SinhaleseNew York7,500Tompkinsville (SI)32
Syrian Arab MuslimNew York11,502Bay Ridge (Brooklyn)37
Syrian Arab MuslimMontreal7,275Ahuntsic-Cartierville38
Syrian Arab MuslimLos Angeles7,999Anaheim36
Syrian JewishNew York75,000Ocean Parkway (Brooklyn)96
Persian Jewish (Tehrani)Los Angeles40,000Beverly Hills88
Persian Jewish (Tehrani)New York20,000Great Neck (Long Island)86
ThaiNew York14,300Elmhurst (Queens)22
ThaiLos Angeles34,615East Hollywood (Thai Town)21
ThaiWashington D.C.12,811Shaw28
ThaiSan Francisco9,785Civic Center29
ThaiSeattle9,343University District24
ThaiChicago7,837Albany Park29
ThaiDallas Fort Worth8,154City Place19
ThaiLas Vegas8,018Paradise25
TibetanNew York13,000Jackson Heights (Queens)77
TibetanToronto8,000West Parkdale74
Tunisian ArabMontreal17,645Little Maghreb74
TurkAtlanta5,055Sandy Springs56
TurkBoston6,462North Brookline57
TurkChicago7,361Mount Prospect56
TurkMiami8,102Miami Beach56
TurkNew York41,367South Paterson (NJ)57
TurkHouston5,324Memorial Park56
TurkPhiladelphia7,179Riverside (NJ)57
TurkSan Francisco12,810Sunnyvale59
TurkWashington D.C.12,918Fairfax 59
TurkLos Angeles11,500Culver City58
UzbekNew York28,506Brighton Beach (Brooklyn)37
Vizhnitz JewishNew York18,382Kaser (Rockland Cty)90
WolofNew York20,000Harlem81
Yemeni ArabNew York20,000Bay Ridge (Brooklyn)72
Yemeni ArabDetroit25,000Hamtramck72
Yemeni ArabSan Francisco10,000Oakland62
Yeshivish JewishChicago5,894West Rogers Park68
Yeshivish JewishMiami10,726North Miami Beach72
Yeshivish JewishWashington D.C.9,921Glen (Baltimore)70
Yeshivish JewishToronto16,000York75
Yeshivish JewishNew York120,000Lakewood (NJ)91
Yeshivish JewishLos Angeles13,600Hancock Park74
Figures for matrix score formula (don't delete)
Helpful resources for sharing Jesus with Afghans
Pashto BiblesOnline Pashto written and audio Bible.pashto-bibles
Pashto RadioMusic, drama, teaching, dialogue, Bible studies, Scripture, and movies in Pashto.pashto-radio
The Prophets' StoryThis video presents the gospel in the Southern Pashto language simply and quickly through the stories of the Biblical prophets. prophets-story-thumbnail
JESUS FilmThe JESUS Film in Southern Pashto language, for streaming or download.Jesus-film-thumbnail
Mary Magdalena (Jesus Film)Southern Pashto version of the Mary Magdalena film. Very powerful among women. magdalena-thumbnail
Bible.isAudio, drama, and written Bible in Dari, the main language of Afghan
JESUS FilmThe JESUS Film in the Dari language (spoken by Afghan Tajiks), for streaming or download.Jesus-film-thumbnail
Mary Magdalena (Jesus Film)Dari version (spoken by Afghan Tajiks) of the Mary Magdalena film. Very powerful among women. magdalena-thumbnail
The Prophets' StoryGreat Creation to Christ video for Muslims. In Hazaragi (Hazara).prophets-story-thumbnail
JESUS FilmThe JESUS Film in the Hazaragi language (spoken by Hazara), for streaming or download.Jesus-film-thumbnail
Afghan BiblesBible in the languages of Afghanistan (Dari, Pashto, Hazaragi, Shughni)Afghan-electronnic-bible-thumbnail
Afghan AppsScripture and discipleship for mobile phones and tabletsAfghan-Apps-thumbnail
Interested in reaching Afghans? Have a suggested edit or want to help? Contact us!

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    100,000 Yemenis

    Statistics Canada 2016 counted 6,645 people whose ethnic origin was Yemeni. The 2019 American Community Survey counted 58,627 people born in Yemen now living in the United States. Counting U.S.-born children and typical undercounts of Arabs in the census, it is safe to assume there are at least 100,000 Yemenis in North America. The Wikipedia article on Yemeni Americans claims "there are an estimated 100,000-200,000 Yemenis living in the United States as of 2018,” but no source is given for that statistic.

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    350,000 Bosniaks

    The Congress of Bosniaks of North America estimate 300,000 Bosniaks live in the United States and 50,000 in Canada.

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    300,000 Somalis

    The America Community Survey 2019 estimated 182,951 people reporting Somali ancestry in the United States. Statistics Canada 2016 estimated 62,500 people with Somali ethnic origin in Canada. Census figures tend to undercount groups like Somalis who are suspicious of government authorities and census takers. Community estimates of Somalis in the Greater Toronto and Edmonton areas alone number 100,000. An estimated 300,000 Somalis in North America is a conservative estimate, and their population number could be much higher.

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    670,000 to 1,000,000 Sikhs

    In the 2011 Statstics Canada census, 454,965 Sikhs were estimated to live in Canada. The United States does not count religious affiliation in its census, and the language of Punjabi is also spoken by Hindus and Muslims which makes "language spoken at home" a difficult category for measuring Sikhs. However, the 2012 Pew Religious Survey indicates 5% of Indian Americans are Sikh. The 2019 American Community Survey estimated 4,240,466 Asian Indians living in the United States, and 5% of that population equals 212,023. The Sikh America Coalition, however, estimates 500,000 Sikhs living in the United States. Therefore, low estimates of Sikhs in North America are around 670,000 people and high estimates are around one million.

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    400,000 Afghans

    The diversity of the people groups who identify as Afghans contributes to the difficulty of using census information to estimate the number of Afghans in North America. The American Community Survey 2019 counted 156,434 people in the United States with "Afghan" ancestry. However, some Afghans would identify their ancestry as Tajik, Pashtun, and so forth. Statistics Canada 2016 counted 83,995 people with Ethnic Origin as Afghan, 4,810 as Pashtun, 2,905 as Tajik, and 1,515 as Hazara. So, adding those number together gives a good idea of a low estimate of the number of Afghans in Canada. Allied Media Corporation, who has worked extensively with the Afghan American Community, estimates 300,000 Afghans live in the United States. With adding Canada's number, a reasonable estimate of Afghans in North America is 400,000 people.

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    Estimated 40,000 Kurds in the United States and 16,315 Kurds in Canada

    A 2019 BBC article estimated 40,000 Kurds in the United States, as did a much earlier NBC News Report. A 2009 Kurdish Herald aricle estimated 50,000 Iraqi Kurds were living in the United States. The estimates of Kurds we have found in various cities seem to coincide with the more conservative 40,000 number. However, many Kurds from Turkey mix into the Turkish population and are harder to identify. Statistics Canada 2016 estimated 16,315 people in Canada had a Kurdish Ethnic Origin.

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    Between 275,000 and 350,000 Turks living in North America

    The Turkish Coalition of America gives a conservative community estimate of 350,000 Turks in the United States. According to American Community Survey 2019, 212,489 Turkish people were estimated to live in the United States. Statistics Canada 2016 reported 63,966 with a Turkish ethnic origin.


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