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1.0% of the U.S. population (2010)
|Regions with significant populations|
|New Jersey, New York City, Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Baltimore-Washington, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Plano, Texas, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area|
|American English, Hindi, Gujarati, other Indian languages|
|51% Hinduism, 18% Christianity, 10% Islam, 5% Unaffiliated, 5% Sikhism, 2% Jainism (2012)|
|Related ethnic groups|
Indian Americans (or Asian Indians) are Americans of Indian ancestry and comprise about 2.81 million people, alone or 3.18 million, combined with one or more races, about 1% of the U.S. population, the country's third largest self-reported Asian ancestry group after Chinese Americans and Filipino Americans, according to American Community Survey of 2010 data. The U.S. Census Bureau uses the term Asian Indian to avoid confusion with the indigenous peoples of the Americas commonly referred to as American Indians.
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In the Americas, historically, Indian had been most commonly used to refer to the indigenous peoples. Qualifying terms such as American Indian and East Indian were and are commonly used to avoid ambiguity.
While East Indian remains in use, the term South Asian is often chosen instead. The U.S. government coined Native American to refer to the indigenous peoples of the United States, but American Indian remains popular among the indigenous and general populations.
People of Indian origin often prefer the term Desi to refer to the diasporic subculture of South Asians. Indian Americans are categorized as Asian Indian (and more broadly, Asian American) by the United States Census Bureau.
It was after the Luce–Celler Act of 1946 that Indian Americans were restored naturalization rights in the United States. A number of Indian Americans came to the U.S. via Indian communities in other countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore, Suriname, Guyana, Fiji, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Trinidad & Tobago, and Jamaica.
According to the 2010 United States Census, the Asian Indian population in the United States grew from almost 1,678,765 in 2000 (0.6% of U.S. population) to 2,843,391 in 2010 (1% of U.S. population), a growth rate of 69.37%, one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States, although it is still one of the smallest communities in the US, not even two percent.
The New York-Newark-Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area, consisting of New York City, Long Island, and adjacent areas within New York, as well as nearby areas within the states of New Jersey (extending to Trenton), Connecticut (extending to Bridgeport), and including Pike County, Pennsylvania, was home to an estimated 614,214 Indian Americans as of the 2012 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, comprising by far the largest Indian American population of any metropolitan area in the United States; New York City itself also contains by far the highest Indian American population of any individual city in North America, at approximately 207,414. As of May 2013, Indian airline carriers Air India and Jet Airways as well as United States airline carrier United Airlines were all offering direct flights from the New York City Metropolitan Area to and from India. At least twenty Indian American enclaves characterized as a Little India have emerged in the New York City Metropolitan Area.
Other metropolitan areas with large Indian American populations include Atlanta, Baltimore–Washington, Boston, Chicago, Dallas–Ft. Worth, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco–San Jose–Oakland.
|Metropolitan Statistical Area||Indian American
|Total Population (2010)|| % of Total
|Combined Statistical Area|
|New York Metropolitan Area||526,133||18,897,109||2.8%||New York CSA|
|Atlanta Metropolitan Area||178,980||5,268,860||3.4%||Atlanta Metropolitan Area|
|Chicago Metropolitan Area||171,901||9,461,105||1.8%||Chicago Metropolitan Area|
|Washington Metropolitan Area||127,963||5,582,170||2.3%||Baltimore–Washington CSA|
|Los Angeles Metropolitan Area||119,901||12,828,837||0.9%||Greater Los Angeles Area|
|San Francisco–Oakland–Fremont MSA||119,854||4,335,391||2.8%||San Francisco Bay Area|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara MSA||117,711||1,836,911||6.4%||San Francisco Bay Area|
|Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex||100,386||6,371,773||1.6%||Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex|
|Greater Houston||91,637||5,946,800||1.5%||Greater Houston|
|Philadelphia Metropolitan Area||90,286||5,965,343||1.5%||Philadelphia Combined Statistical Area|
|Greater Boston||62,598||4,552,402||1.4%||Greater Boston|
|Detroit Metropolitan Area||55,087||4,296,250||1.3%||Metro Detroit|
|Seattle Metropolitan Area||52,652||3,439,809||1.5%||Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia, WA CSA|
|Miami Metropolitan Area||41,334||5,564,635||0.7%||Miami Metropolitan Area|
|Baltimore Metropolitan Area||32,193||2,710,489||1.2%||Baltimore–Washington CSA|
|Phoenix Metropolitan Area||31,203||4,192,887||0.7%||Phoenix Metropolitan Area|
|Minneapolis – Saint Paul MSA||29,453||3,279,833||0.9%||Minneapolis – Saint Paul CSA|
|Greater Orlando||26,105||2,134,411||1.2%||Greater Orlando CSA|
|San Diego Metropolitan Area||24,306||3,095,313||0.8%||San Diego CSA|
|Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario MSA||23,587||4,224,851||0.6%||Greater Los Angeles Area|
|Tampa Bay Area||23,526||2,783,243||0.8%||Tampa Bay Area|
|Raleigh-Cary, NC MSA||20,192||1,130,490||1.8%||Raleigh–Durham–Chapel Hill CSA|
|Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT MSA||18,764||1,212,381||1.5%||Greater Hartford|
|Greater St. Louis||16,874||2,812,896||0.6%||Greater St. Louis CSA|
|Fresno, CA MSA||15,469||930,450||1.7%||Metropolitan Fresno|
|Greater Bridgeport||15,439||916,829||1.7%||New York CSA|
|Trenton-Ewing, NJ MSA||15,352||366,513||4.2%||New York CSA|
|Portland Metropolitan Area||15,117||2,226,009||0.7%||Portland Metropolitan Area|
|Cincinnati Metropolitan Area||14,696||2,130,151||0.7%||Cincinnati Metropolitan Area|
|Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area||14,568||2,356,285||0.6%||Greater Pittsburgh CSA|
|Greater Cleveland||14,215||2,077,240||0.7%||Northeast Ohio|
|Stockton, CA MSA||12,951||685,306||1.9%||San Francisco Bay Area|
|Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO MSA||13,649||2,543,482||0.5%||Denver-Aurora, CO CSA|
|Greater Richmond Region||12,926||1,258,251||1.0%||Greater Richmond CSA|
|Indianapolis Metropolitan Area||12,669||1,756,241||0.7%||Indianapolis-Anderson-Columbus, IN CSA|
|Kansas City Metropolitan Area||11,646||2,035,334||0.6%||Kansas City-Overland Park, MO-KS CSA|
|Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers Metropolitan Area||3,534||422,610||0.9%||Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers Metropolitan Area|
While the table above provides a picture of the population of Indian American (alone) and Asian Americans (alone) in some of the metropolitan areas of the US, it is incomplete as it does NOT include multi-racial Asian Americans. Please note that data for multi-racial Asian Americans has not yet been released by the US Census Bureau.
|State||Asian Indian Population
|Asian Indian Population
| % Change
(2000 - 2010)
|Total Asian-Indian population in US||2,843,391||1,678,765||69.4%|
In 2006, of the 1,266,264 legal immigrants to the United States, 58,072 were from India. Immigration from India is currently at its highest level in history. Between 2000 and 2006, 421,006 Indian immigrants were admitted to the U.S., up from 352,278 during the 1990–1999 period. According to the 2000 U.S. census, the overall growth rate for Indians from 1990 to 2000 was 105.87 percent. The average growth rate for the U.S. was 7.6 percent.
Indians comprise 16.4 percent of the Asian-American community. In 2000, the Indian-born population in the U.S. was 1.007 million. From 2000 onwards, the growth rate and the per cent rate of Indians among all the immigrants has increased by over 100 percent. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 1990 and 2000, the Indian population in the U.S. grew 130% – 10 times the national average of 13%.
A joint Duke University – UC Berkeley study revealed that Indian immigrants have founded more engineering and technology companies from 1995 to 2005 than immigrants from the UK, China, Taiwan and Japan combined. A 1999 study by AnnaLee Saxenian reported that a third of Silicon Valley scientists and engineers were immigrants and that Indians are the second largest group of Asian-born engineers (23%) following the Chinese (51%). Her research showed that in 1998, seven percent of high-technology firms in Silicon Valley were led by Indian CEOs. A recent study shows that 23% of Indian business school graduates take a job in United States.
Indian Americans continuously outpace every ethnic group socioeconomically to reach the summit of the U.S. Census charts. Indian Americans, along with other Asian Americans, have attained the highest educational levels of all ethnic groups in the U.S. 71% of all Indians have a bachelor's or high degree (compared to 28% nationally and 44% average for all Asian American groups). Almost 40% of all Indians in the United States have a master’s, doctorate or other professional degree, which is five times the national average. Thomas Friedman, in his recent book, The World is Flat, explains this trend in terms of brain drain, whereby the best and brightest elements in India emigrate to the U.S. in order to seek better financial opportunities.
|Ethnicity||Bachelor's Degree or Higher|
|US National Average||28.0%|
|Ethnicity or nationality||% of Population|
|Chinese (incl. Taiwanese)||50.2%|
|US National Average||28.0%|
Among Indian Americans, 72.3% participate in the U.S. work force, of which 57.7% are employed in managerial and professional specialties. As of 2010 66.3% of Indian Americans are employed in select professional and managerial specialties compared with the national average of 35.9%.
|US National Average||$50,221|
Hindi radio stations are available in areas with high Indian populations, for example, Easy96.com in the New York tri - state areas, KLOK 1170 AM IN San Francisco, RBC Radio; Radio Humsafar, Desi Junction in Chicago; Radio Salaam Namaste in Dallas; and Music Masala, FunAsia Radio, Sangeet Radio, Radio Naya Andaz in Houston and Washington Bangla Radio on Internet from the Washington DC Metro Area. There are also some radio stations broadcasting in Tamil and Telugu within these communities. Houston based Kannada Kaaranji radio focuses on a multitude of programs for children and adults.
South Asian magazine, SBR MAGAZINE(Style & Beauty Resource - Previously known as "Sabse Bada Rupaiya Magazine"), one of the world’s leading publications, offers readers a print and online magazine filled with various beauty, health, fashion, and entertainment news and updates targeted to the young professionals in the Indian community nationwide.
Several cable and satellite television providers offer Indian channels: Sony TV, Zee TV, Star Plus, Sahara One, Colors, Big Magic, regional channels, and others have offered Indian content for subscription, such as the Cricket World Cup.
In 2012, the film Not a Feather, but a Dot was released which investigates the history, perceptions and changes in the Indian-American community over the last century.
Communities of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, Jews, from India have established their religions in the United States. According to 2012 Pew Research Center, 51% Consider themselves Hindus, 18% as Christians (Protestant 11%, Catholic 5%, Other Christian 3%), 11% as Muslims, 5% as Sikh, 2% as Jain and 10% are Unaffiliated.
The first religious centre of an Indian religion to be established in the US was a Sikh Gurudwara in Stockton, California in 1912. Today there are many Sikh Gurudwaras, Hindu, Buddhist and Jain Temples in all the 50 states.
As of 2008, the American Hindu population was around 2.2 million, and Hindus are the majority of Indian Americans. Many sects such as ISKCON, Swaminarayan Sampraday, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, Chinmaya Mission, and Swadhyay Pariwar are well-established in the U.S. Hindu Americans have formed the Hindu American Foundation which represents American Hindus and aims to educate people about Hinduism.
Swami Vivekananda brought Hinduism to the West at the 1893 Parliament of the World's Religions. The Vedanta Society has been important in subsequent Parliaments. Today, many Hindu temples, most of them built by Indian Americans have emerged in different cities and towns in the United States. More than 18 million Americans are now practicing some form of Yoga. Kriya Yoga was introduced to America by Paramahansa Yogananda. In addition, A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada initiated the popular ISKCON also known as Hare Krishna movement while preaching Bhakti yoga.
Indian Muslim Americans generally congregate with other American Muslims, including those from Pakistan and Bangladesh, but there are prominent organizations such as the Indian Muslim Council - USA.
Adherents of Jainism first arrived in the United States in the 20th century. The most significant time of Jain immigration was in the early 1970s. The United States has since become a center of the Jain diaspora. The Federation of Jain Associations in North America is an umbrella organization of local American and Canadian Jain congregations.
There are many Indian Christian churches across the US; Church of South India, Church of North India, Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, Knanaya, Indian Orthodox Church, Mar Thoma Church (reformed orthodox), Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church, The Pentecostal Mission, Plymouth Brethren, and the India Pentecostal Church of God.
Saint Thomas Christians from Kerala have established their own places of worship across the United States. For example, the Chicago Diocese of Syro-Malabar Catholic Church serves an estimated 100,000 Catholics through 18 parishes and 43 missions in the U.S. and Canada.
There are also Catholic Indians hailing originally from Goa, who attend the same services as other American Catholics, but may celebrate the feast of Saint Francis Xavier as a special event of their identity.
As with other Asian Americans, Indian Americans are more likely to be Christian, and especially Protestant, than their compatriots in their original homeland due to the fact that many Protestants in India emigrate to America because of the impact of efforts previously made by American Puritan missionaries in India for the spread of Christian faith. Such impact can be seen with the significant presence of Indian Evangelicals in mainstream American churches. Indian American Protestants share similar values with their American counterparts such as influence of Gospel music within their churches, non-idol worshipping nature, Evangelical activities for heathens etc. The Indian Christian Americans have formed the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA) to represent a network of Indian Christian Organizations in the United States and Canada. FIACONA estimates the Indian American Christian population to be 600,000.
The large Parsi community is represented by the Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America. Indian Jews are perhaps the smallest organized religious group among Indian Americans, consisting of approximately 350 members in the United States. They form the Indian Jewish Congregation of USA with headquarters in New York City.
Like the terms "Asian American" or "South Asian American", the term "Indian American" is also an umbrella label applying to a variety of views, values, lifestyles, and appearances. Although Asian-Indian Americans retain a high ethnic identity, they are known to assimilate into American culture while at the same time keeping the culture of their ancestors. They may assimilate more easily than many other immigrant groups because they have fewer language barriers (since English is widely spoken in India among professional classes), more educational credentials (as Indian immigrants are disproportionately well-educated), and come from a democratic society. Additionally, Indian culture, like many other Asian cultures, puts emphasis upon achievement and personal responsibility of the individual as a reflection upon the family and community.
In countries such as the United States, Canada, and until more recently, the United Kingdom, there has been a large influx of Indian immigrants, beginning in the late 1960s. As a result of assimilation, mixed European and Indian backgrounds are becoming more prevalent. The 2001 U.S. Census Bureau’s publication of the 56,497,000 married couples, shows that overall the percentage of Indian males married to White females (7.1%) was higher than Indian females marrying with White males (3.7%); whilst for those who were US born the reverse was true with more Indian females marrying with White males (39.1%) than Indian males married to White females (27.3%).
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The United States is also home to associations of Indians united by linguistic affiliation. Some major organizations include, Telugu Association of North America (TANA), Association of Kannada Kootas of America (AKKA), Federation of Kerala Associations in North America, Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America, North American Bengali Conference and Orissa Society of the Americas and Maharashtra Mandal. These associations generally put on cultural programs, plays, and concerts during some major Hindu festivals such as Diwali, Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi and other religious (e.g., Christian) and cultural events such as Christmas and New Year.
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According to the current parameters defining the official U.S. racial categories employed by the United States Census Bureau, Office of Management and Budget and other U.S. government agencies, American citizens or resident aliens who marked "Asian-Indian" as their ancestry or wrote in a term that automatically gets classified as an "Asian-Indian" gets classified as part of the Asian race on the 2000 US Census. As with other modern official U.S. government racial categories, the term "Asian" is in itself a broad and heterogeneous classification, encompassing all peoples with origins in the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. For further discussion on the term Asian American, please see that article.
In previous decades, Indian Americans were also variously classified as White American, the "Hindu race", and Other. Even today, where individual Indian Americans do not racially self-identify, and instead report Muslim (or a sect of Islam such as Shi'ite or Sunni), Jewish, and Zoroastrian as their "race" in the "Some other race" section without noting their country of origin, they are automatically tallied as white. This may result in the counting of persons such as Indian Muslims, Indian Jews, and Indian Zoroastrians as white, if they solely report their religious heritage without their national origin.
In the 1980s, a gang known as the Dotbusters specifically targeted Indian Americans in Jersey City, New Jersey with violence and harassment. Studies of racial discrimination, as well as stereotyping and scapegoating of Indian Americans have been conducted in recent years. In particular, racial discrimination of Indian Americans in the workplace has been correlated with Indophobia due to the rise in outsourcing/offshoring paranoia, whereby Indian Americans are blamed for US companies offshoring white-collar labor to India. According to the offices of the Congressional Caucus on India, many Indian Americans are severely concerned of a backlash, though nothing serious has taken place yet. Due to various socio-cultural reasons, implicit racial discrimination against Indian Americans largely go unreported by the Indian American community.
Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, there have been scattered incidents of Indian Americans becoming mistaken targets for hate crimes. In one example, a Sikh, Balbir Singh Sodhi, was murdered at a Phoenix gas station by a white supremacist. This happened after September 11, and the murderer claimed that his turban made him think that the victim was a Middle Eastern American. In another example, a pizza deliverer was mugged and beaten in Massachusetts for "being Muslim" though the victim pleaded with the assailants that he was in fact Hindu. In December, 2012, an Indian American in New York City was pushed from behind onto the tracks at the 40th Street-Lowery Street station in Sunnyside and killed. The police arrested a woman, Erika Menendez, who admitted to the act and justified it, stating that she shoved him onto the tracks because she believed he was "a Hindu or a Muslim" and she wanted to retaliate for the attacks of Sep 11, 2001.
In 2004, New York Senator Hillary Clinton joked at a fundraising event with South Asians for Nancy Farmer that Mahatma Gandhi owned a gas station in downtown St. Louis, fueling the stereotype that gas stations are owned by Indians and other South Asians. She clarified in the speech later that she was just joking, but still received some criticism for the statement later on for which she apologized again.
On April 5, 2006, the Hindu Mandir of Minnesota was vandalized allegedly on the basis of religious discrimination. The vandals damaged temple property leading to $200,000 worth of damage.
On August 11, 2006, Senator George Allen allegedly referred to an opponent's political staffer of Indian ancestry as "macaca" and commenting, "Welcome to America, to the real world of Virginia". Some members of the Indian American community saw Allen's comments, and the backlash that may have contributed to Allen losing his re-election bid, as demonstrative of the power of YouTube in the 21st century.
In 2006, then Delaware Senator and current U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was caught on microphone saying: "In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian-Americans moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking."
In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security estimated that there were two hundred thousand (200,000) Indian unauthorized immigrants; they are the sixth largest nationality (tied with Koreans) of illegal immigrants behind Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and the Philippines. Indian Americans are also the fastest growing illegal immigrant group in the United States, with an increase in illegal immigration of 125% since 2000.
Indians are among the largest ethnic groups legally immigrating to the United States. The immigration of Indians has taken place in several waves since the first Indian came to the United States in the 1700s. A major wave of immigration to California from the region of Punjab took place in the first decade of the 20th century. Another significant wave followed in the 1950s which mainly included students and professionals. The elimination of immigration quotas in 1965 spurred successively larger waves of immigrants in the late 1970s and early 1980s. With the technology boom of the 1990s, the largest influx of Indians arrived between 1995 and 2000. This latter group has also caused surge in the application for various immigration benefits including applications for green card. This has resulted in long waiting periods for people born in India from receiving these benefits.
Several groups have tried to create a unified or dominant voice for the community in political affairs, including the United States India Political Action Committee. Additionally, there are industry groups such as the Asian American Hotel Owners Association and the Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin. A majority tend to identify as moderates and have voted for Democrats in recent elections. Polls before the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election showed Indian Americans favoring Democratic candidate John Kerry over Republican George W. Bush by a 53% to 14% margin, with 30% undecided at the time. The Republican party has tried to target this community for political support, and in 2007, Republican Congressman Bobby Jindal became the first United States Governor of Indian descent when he was elected Governor of Louisiana. Nikki Haley, also of Indian descent and a fellow Republican, became Governor of South Carolina in 2010.
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