Charitable Arm of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce

Community Impact

Chaldeans in Metro Detroit

The Detroit Metropolitan area contains the largest single concentration outside of the Middle East of persons identifying themselves as “Chaldeans.” Chaldeans first came to Detroit in the first decade of the Twentieth Century, drawn by the growing automobile industry as well as the already existing Middle Eastern community.

Chaldean Household Survey

The Chaldean Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with other local Chaldean organizations, came to the decision that a survey of the community would be beneficial as a way of both gaining a better understanding of the community and of obtaining a better estimate of the actual number of Chaldeans in the Detroit area. An advisory group was formed in 2006 and Dr. Marla Scafe from Walsh College and Kurt Metzger from the United Way for Southeastern Michigan were retained to assist in the development of the survey instrument, the survey methodology and the analysis of results.

In addition to household composition and educational attainment, the survey gathered information on age, employment, business ownership, church attendance, income, place of birth, year of entry, language spoken at home, housing type, ownership and value, fuel usage, income and more. Among the most interesting findings of the survey was the fact that approximately 61 percent of Chaldean households own their own business.

While grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations formed the basis of early entrepreneurship, Chaldeans have moved on to invest in rental properties and real estate holdings, larger supermarkets, cell phone stores and hotels. An analysis of household income responses yielded a median household income of $96,100, well above the area median. One reason for this (in addition to business ownership) is the fact that Chaldean households tend to be family households and, more often than not, contain multiple workers.

Survey Results Summary

Historically Chaldeans:

  • Are Iraq’s indigenous people
  • Have a 5,000-year history dating back to Mesopotamia—the cradle of civilization
  • Are synonymous with Babylonians—Abraham was from Ur (city) of the Chaldeans
  • Are Eastern Rite Catholics—converted by St. Thomas the Apostle
  • Are unified with the Roman Catholic Church, under thei r own rite with separate Bishops and a Patriarch/Cardinal who resides in Iraq
  • Have faced numerous genocides because of their religious beliefs and are now a 5% minority in Iraq
  • Speak Aramaic, the language spoken by Christ—the oldest continuously spoken language in the World


  • An estimated 2 million Chaldeans throughout the world
  • 300,000 estimated Chaldeans/Assyrians in the United States
  • 121,000 reside in Southeast Michigan—the biggest concentration outside of Iraq
  • Eight Chaldean Catholic Churches in Metro-Detroit area, an Assyrian Church and a Syriac Church

Chaldeans are Entrepreneurs:

  • Migrated to Detroit since early 1900s, majority migrated in late 1960s
  • 61% of the Michigan Chaldean households own at least one business
  • 39% of the Michigan Chaldean households own two or more businesses
  • Own an estimated 15,000 businesses in Michigan
  • Currently own an estimated 90% of Detroit’s convenience stores
  • Own an estimated 75 out of 84 supermarkets in the city of Detroit
  • Major concentrations: Real estate development, convenience and grocery stores, suburban gas stations, hospitality, food service and wireless

Refugee Population:

  • Since the Iraq war, half of the country’s Christians have fled mainly due to religious and ethnic persecution
  • More than 47,000 Chaldean refugees have come to America since 2007, two thirds of those to Michigan
  • An additional 19,000 refugees are expected in 2011-2013

View full survey results


Chaldean Business Survey

In continuing our effort to gauge the economic impact Chaldeans have in this region, Data Driven Detroit and Walsh College surveyed Chaldean businesses in 2011, compiling data to identify details on Chaldean-owned businesses by sector, including information on how many people Chaldeans employ and the number of businesses we own. Survey results are expected to be released in April 2012.

Facts about the Chaldean Community:

Launched in 2006 as the charitable arm of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce, the CCF was established to address the rising Iraqi refugee crisis.

The Chaldean Community Foundation provides a multitude of services including housing assistance, English as a second language training, immigration consulting, and employment assistance and training.

The Chaldean Community Foundation services more than 6,000 people each fiscal year.

The Chaldean Community Foundation funds a variety of charitable programs. Because of the support of our members, the foundation has donated more than $300,000 to good works.

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, the Chaldean Community Foundation has established a Refugee Emergency Fund.

The Foundation hosts two major events throughout the year: the annual community Golf Outing and the Chaldean Festival, held in conjunction with the City of Southfield.

The Chaldean Community Foundation has provided more than $300,000 in charitable contributions to various organizations where Chaldeans live, work and worship.

The Foundation has supported and been a part of several initiatives, including workplace development, economic development, refugee assistance, cultural competency training and charitable giving.

The Chaldean Community Foundation provides cultural competency training to corporations and municipalities providing a brief history, an overview of Chaldean culture, faith and language, and the contributions of the community in the United States.

The recent Iraq war has threatened the permanent removal of Chaldeans from their ancestral homeland.

Refugee Mental
Health Services

Supplies much-needed mental health services to Iraqi refugees and others in Southeast Michigan

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Refugee Acculturation & Sustainability Training

Helps refugees of the Iraq War and subsequent religious persecution to acculturate and become less dependent on federal and state subsidies and services

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Breaking Barriers

Provides assistance and advocacy to the disabled.

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Chaldean Loan Fund

ChaldeanLoanFund_LogoProvides low-interest loans to help refugees purchase a car.

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Provides free or reduced cost healthcare to Iraqi Christian and Chaldean refugees without medical insurance though the Chaldean American Association of Health Professionals (CAAHP)

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Waad Murad
Advocacy Fund

Offers a cash reward up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the assailant(s) of violent crimes perpetuated against businesspeople

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Karim Khamarko Memorial Scholarship Fund

baba3 (2)Established in 2012 in honor of Karim Khamarko, who was murdered in 2010 in his place of business, the fund gives scholarship assistance to Chaldean American high school students who have demonstrated academic success… Read more