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Since World War I, the Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac diaspora has steadily increased so that there are now more Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs living in western and eastern Europe, North America and Australia, than in the Middle East. When the Turks' massacres ended in 1923, about 20,000 Greeks, 10,000 Armenians and 30,000 Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs remained. The Civil War in Lebanon, the coming into power of the Islamic republic of Iran, the Ba'thist dictatorship in Iraq, and the present-day unrest in Iraq pushed even more Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs on the roads of exile. [1]


Current number of Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs in all countries

Rank Country Centres of Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac population № of Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs Further info
1  Iraq Mosul, Baghdad, Dohuk 900,000-1,500,000 [2] Assyrians in Iraq
2  Syria Damascus, Qamishli, Al-Hasakah 700,000-1,200,000[2] Assyrians in Syria
3  United States Michigan, Illinois, California 350,000 [3] Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac Americans
4  Sweden Södertälje, Stockholm, Örebro, Västerås 120,000[4] Assyrians/Syriacs in Sweden
5  Lebanon Beirut 100,000 [4] Assyrians in Lebanon
6  Germany Gütersloh, Augsburg, Wiesbaden 90,000 [4] Assyrians/Syriacs in Germany
7  Brazil São Paulo 80,000 [4]
8  Russia Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan, Rostov-na-Donu, Krasnodar Krai 70,000 [5] Assyrians in Russia
9  Iran Urmia, Tehran 50,000 [4] Assyrians in Iran
10  Jordan Amman 44,000 Assyrians in Jordan
11  Netherlands Amsterdam, Enschede, Hengelo, Almelo 40,000 [4] Assyrians/Syriacs in the Netherlands
12  Australia Sydney, Fairfield, Merrylands, Melbourne, Broadmeadows 38,000 [6] Assyrians in Australia
13  Turkey Tur Abdin, Hakkâri, Istanbul 24,000 [7] Assyrians in Turkey
14  Canada Windsor, Hamilton, Toronto 23,000 Assyrians in Canada
15  France Sarcelles 20,000 [7]
16  Belgium Antwerp, Mechelen, Brussels 15,000 [7]
17  Georgia Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Mtskheta (v. Kanda), Gardabani 15,000 [8]
18  Armenia Verin Dvin, Yerevan, Arzni, Dimitrov, Nor Artages 15,000 [9] Assyrians in Armenia
19  Switzerland Lucerne 10,000 [7]
20  Denmark Aarhus 10,000 [7]
21  Greece Peristeri, Athens 8,000 [7]
22  United Kingdom London 8,000 [7] Assyrians in the United Kingdom
23  Austria Klagenfurt, Vienna 7,000 [7]
24  Ukraine Vinnytsia, Kiev 3,000 [7]
25  Italy Rome 3,000 [7]

Historic census


Former Soviet Union


Assyrians in Russia protesting Iraq Church bombings in 2006

Assyrians came to Russia and the Soviet Union in three main waves: The first wave was after the Treaty of Turkmenchay in 1828, that delineated a border between Russia and Persia. Many Assyrians found themselves suddenly under Russian sovereignty and thousands of relatives crossed the border to join them.

The second wave was a result of the repression and violence during and after World War I.

The third wave came after World War II, when Moscow unsuccessfully tried to establish a satellite state in Iranian Kurdistan. Soviet troops withdrew in 1946, and left the Assyrians exposed to exactly the same kind of retaliation that they had suffered from the Turks 30 years earlier. Again, many Assyrians found refuge in the Soviet Union, this time mainly in the cities. From 1937 to 1959, the Assyrian population in USSR grew by 587.3%[11]

The Soviets in the thirties oppressed the Assyrians' religion and persecuted religious and other leaders.

In recent years, the Assyrians have tended to assimilate with Armenians, but their cultural and ethnic identity, strengthened through centuries of hardships, found new expression under Glasnost.

USSR census

  • 1897 census: 5,300 "Syrio-Chaldeans" (by language)[12]
  • 1919 refugee status:
8,000 - 7,000 "Assyro-Chaldean" refugees in Tbilissi[13]
2,000 Assyrians in Yerevan[13]
15,000 Assyrians from Hakkari, 10,000 from Urmia and Salmas in the Russian region of Rostov[14]
  • 1926 census: 9,808 Assyrians (Aisor)[13]
  • 1959 census: 21,083 Assyrians[15]
  • 1970 census: 24,294 Assyrians[16]
  • 1979 census: 25,170 Assyrians[17]
  • 1989 census: 26,289 Assyrians[15]


  • 1989 census: 9,600 Assyrians, of whom 4,742 spoke Assyrian; 1,738 in the Krasnodar region[10]
  • 2002 census: 13,649 Assyrians (ассирийцы)[18]


  • 1926 census:[16] 21,215 Assyrians
  • 1989 (Soviet) census:[19] 5,963 Assyrians
  • 2001 census:[20] 3,409 Assyrians (3rd minority ethnic group after Yazidis and Russians): 524 urban, 2,485 rural


  • 1926 census: 2,904 Assyrians[16]
  • 1989 census: 6,206 Assyrians[21]
  • 2002 census: 3,299 Assyrians[21]


  • 2001 census: 3,143[22]


Near East


estimates on December 31, 1944, by province (Muhafazat)[24]

denomination Beyrouth Mount Lebanon North Lebanon South Lebanon Biqa' Total
Syriac Catholics 4,089 275 169 9 442 4,984
Syriac Orthodox 2,070 209 100 22 1,352 3,753
Chaldeans 974 120 1 10 225 1,330

1932 census and further estimates

denomination 1932 census[25] 1944 estimates[24] 1954 estimates[25]
Syriac Catholics 2,675 4,984 ..
Chaldeans 528 1,330 ..
Syriac Orthodox 2,574 3,753 4,200
Assyrian "Nestorians" 800 1,200 1,400

Israel, West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan

The Americas


  • August 1919: 2,000 Assyro-Chaldeans refugees, most of all young people[26]


United States

  • 1990 census: 46,099 Assyrians[28]
    • 19,066 born in the US
    • 16,783 arrived before 1980
    • 10,250 between 1980 and 1990.
    • 27,494 Syriac as the "Language Spoken at Home"[29]
    • Unemployment: 9.1%
  • 2000 census: 82,355 Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac[30]

2009 Census Detroit: 113,000

    • Syriac language: 46,932[31]



Assyrians/Syriacs in Belgium came mostly as refugees from the Turkish towns of Midyat and Mardin in Tur Abdin, most of them are Syriac Orthodox (Süryani), some Chaldean Catholics (Keldani). Their three main settlements are in Brussels (municipalities of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode - where they've got their only elected municipal councilman, the Christian Democrat Ibrahim Erkan, originally from Turkey -, Brussels and Etterbeek), Liège and in Mechelen. Since the October 8, 2006 municipal elections they've got two more councilmen, in Etterbeek, the Liberal Sandrine Es (whose family came from Turkey) and the Christian Democrat Ibrahim Hanna (originally from Syria's Khabur region). The Christian Democrat candidate in Mechelen, Melikan Kucam, was not elected. The Flemish writer August Thiry wrote the book Mechelen aan de Tigris (Mechelen on Tigris) about the Assyrian/Syriac refugees from the village of Hassana in SE Turkey, district of Silopi. Melikan Kucam was one of them.


There are believed to be some 15,000, mainly concentrated in the northern French suburbs of Sarcelles, Gonnesse and Villiers-le-Bel. They are drawn from the same few villages in what is now south west Turkey.



The first migrants of Assyrian stock in Greece came in 1934, and settled in the areas of Makronisos (today uninhabited), Keratsini (Pireus), Egaleo and Kalamata.[32] Today, the vast majority of Assyrians live in Peristeri, a suburb of Athens, and they number about 2,000.[33] There are five Assyrian Christian marriages recorded at St. Pauls Anglican Church in Athens in 1924-25 (the transcripts can be viewed on St. Pauls Anglican Church website), thus indicating the beginning of the appearance of refugees at that time. The absence of further marriages at St. Pauls possibly indicates the arrival of a Nestorian clergyman in Athens shortly after 1925.


Assyrians in Holland protesting for the recognition of the Assyrian genocide

The first Assyrians/Syriacs came to the Netherlands in the 1970s; most of them belonged to the West Syrian Rite from Turkey. Today the number of Assyrians/Syriacs is estimated to be between 25,000 and 35,000 and they mainly live in the east of the country, in the province of Overijssel, in such cities as Enschede, Hengelo, Almelo and Borne.


In the latter part of the 1970s, about 12,000 Syrian Orthodox Syriacs from Lebanon, Turkey and Syria immigrated to Sweden. They considered themselves persecuted for religious reasons but were never acknowledged as refugees. Those who had already lived in Sweden for a longer period were finally granted residence permit for humanitarian reasons.[34]

As with other Northern European countries, there is a dividing line in Sweden between the Aramaic speaking Christians. While the vast majority consider themselves Aramean-Syriacs, there is a sizeable minority who refer to themselves as Assyrians. They are mostly members of the Syriac Orthodox Church, but its important to note that not all Syriac Orthodox members identify with being Syriacs only, as the majority of those who call themselves Assyrian are Syriac Orthodox as well.[35]

Södertälje in Sweden is often seen as the unofficial Assyrian/Syriac capital of Europe due to the city's high percentage of Assyrians/Syriacs. The international TV-channels Suryoyo Sat and Suroyo TV are also based in Södertälje.

Between 2005 and 2006, there was an Assyrian/Syrac minister in the Swedish government, Ibrahim Baylan.


Assyrians/Syriacs in Switzerland came mostly as refugees from the Turkish towns of Midyat, Mardin and Azakh(Beth-Zabday)(Idil) in Tur Abdin, most of them are Syriac Orthodox (about 1'600 Families). They mainly live in the east of the country in the Canton of St. Gallen (Wil-Area) and in Baden about 20km from Zurich. A big part of the Assyrians/Syriacs in Switzerland also live in the Italian part of Switzerland in the Canton of Ticino, mostly in Lugano and Locarno.

United Kingdom



  • 2006 census: 20,931 who spoke Assyrian and Aramaic
  • 2009 Census: 24,950
  • 9,000 Assyrian
  • 12,000 Chaldean
  • 3,000 Syriac
45.9% Catholic, 49.0 Orthodox


74.3% Catholic, 24.0% Orthodox
  • 2010 Census: 33,505 Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs
Assyrian Church of the East: 12,000
Chaldean Catholic: 14,000
Syrian Orthodox: 5,000
Ancient COE: 2,000

New Zealand

  • 1991 census: 315[38]
  • 1996 census: 807[38]
  • 2001 Census: 1,176[38]
    • 465 in Auckland Region
    • 690 in Wellington Region
    • "Unemployment rates highest for Somalis (37.2 percent) and Assyrians (40.0 percent)."
    • "The particular ethnic groups with the highest proportions affiliated to a Christian denomination were Assyrian (99.0 percent) and Filipino (95.1 percent)."
    • English spoken: 774, no English: 348; Number of Languages Spoken: 1: 225, 2: 405, 3: 423, 4: 63, 5: 3
  • 2006 census: 1,683 [39]

Homeland Statistics



  1. ^ Codeswitiching Worldwide II, by Rodolfo Jacobson [1]
  2. ^ a b CIA World Factbook
  3. ^ 2000 United States census
  4. ^ a b c d e f Ethnologue Reports
  5. ^ 2002 Russian census
  6. ^ 2001 Australian census
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Encyclopedia of the Orient: Assyrians
  8. ^ 2002 Georgian census
  9. ^ 2001 Armenian census
  10. ^ a b Assyrians, Center for Russian Studies, NUPI - Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  11. ^ An Ethnic History of Russia: pre-revolutionary times to the present By Tatiana Mastyugina, Lev Perepelkin, Vitaly Naumkin [2]
  12. ^ Youri Bromlei et al., Processus ethniques en U.R.S.S., Editions du Progrès, 1977
  13. ^ a b c Eden Naby, “Les Assyriens d'Union soviétique,” Cahiers du Monde russe, 16/3-4. 1975
  14. ^ A. Chatelet (Supérieur de la mission catholique de Téhéran), Question assyro-chaldéenne, Quartier général - Bureau de la Marine, Constantinople, 31 août 1919
  15. ^ a b An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of the Russian and Soviet Empires, By James Stuart Olson, Lee Brigance Pappas, Nicholas Charles
  16. ^ a b c Eden Naby 1975
  17. ^ Annuaire démographique des Nations-Unies 1983, Département des affaires économiques et sociales internationales, New York, 1985
  18. ^ 2002 census
  19. ^ Armenian Helsinki Committee - Reflections over Annual Report on International Religious Freedom: Armenia
  20. ^ 2001 Armenian Census - De Jure Population (Urban, Rural) by Age and Ethnicity
  21. ^ a b Eurominority - Assyrians in Georgia
  22. ^ All-Ukraine population census 2001
  23. ^ Assyrian cultural center in Kazakhstan
  24. ^ a b Albert H. Hourani, Minorities in the Arab World, London: Oxford University Press, 1947
  25. ^ a b Kenneth C. Bruss, Lebanon - Area and population, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1963
  26. ^ Chatelet 1919
  27. ^ [3]
  28. ^ U.S. Bureau of the Census - Selected Characteristics for Persons of Assyrian Ancestry: 1990
  29. ^ U.S. Bureau of the Census, Language Spoken at Home for the Foreign-Born Population 5 Years and Over: 1980 and 1990, Internet Release date: March 9, 1999
  30. ^ US Census, QT-P13. Ancestry: 2000
  31. ^ U.S. Census 2000, Language Spoken at Home for the Foreign-Born Population 5 Years and Over: 1980 to 2000
  32. ^ Zinda Magazine - May 10, 1999 - The Assyrian Union of Greece
  33. ^ Ethnologue report for Greece
  34. ^ Swedish Minister for Development Co-operation, Migration and Asylum Policy, Migration 2002, June 2002
  35. ^ Dan Lundberg, Christians from the Middle East, A virtual Assyria
  36. ^
  37. ^ 2054.0 Australian Census Analytic Program: Australians' Ancestries (2001 (Corrigendum))
  38. ^ a b c Statistics New Zealand - 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings - Ethnic Groups
  39. ^ New Zealand 2006 census



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