||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: Needs cleanup. (August 2014)|
0.9% of the U.S. population (Indian Alone)
1.0% of the U.S. population (including multiracial) (2014)
|Regions with significant populations|
|New Jersey, New York City, Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Baltimore-Washington, Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area|
|American English, Hindi, Gujarati, other Indian languages|
|51% Hinduism, 18% Christianity, 10% Islam, 14% Unaffiliated, 5% Sikhism, 2% Jainism (2012)|
Indian Americans or Indo-Americans are Americans of Indian ancestry. They comprise about 3.1 million people alone, or 3.4 million combined with one or more races, representing about 1% of the U.S. population as of 2013. Indian Americans are the second-largest self-reported single-race Asian ancestry group after Chinese Americans, and the country's third-largest Asian group alone or in combination with other races after Chinese Americans and Filipino Americans, according to 2013 American Community Survey 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.
- 1 History
- 2 Demographics
- 3 Statistics on Indians in the U.S.
- 4 Socioeconomic
- 5 Culture
- 6 Immigration and progression timeline
- 7 Current social issues
- 8 Politics
- 9 Notable Indian Americans
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2013)|
The term: Indian
In the Americas, historically, Indian has been most commonly used to refer to the indigenous people. Qualifying terms such as American Indian and East Indian were and are commonly used to avoid ambiguity. Indian Americans are categorized as Asian Indian (and more broadly, Asian American) by the United States Census Bureau.
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.
Arrival in the U.S.
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 (0.9% 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 completely one 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 659,784 Indian Americans as of the 2013 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 October 2014, 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.
U.S. metropolitan areas with large Asian Indian populations
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.
List of U.S. States by population of Asian Indians
|State||Asian Indian Population
| % of State's Population
|Asian Indian Population
| % Change
(2000 - 2010)
|Total Asian-Indian population in US||2,843,391||0.92%||1,678,765||69.4%|
Statistics on Indians in the U.S.
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. 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 higher 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%|
A study from Pew Research Center in June 2012 showed more than 80 percent of Indian Americans were holding college or advanced degrees, surpassing the previously Taiwanese average figure of 74.1%. Taiwanese American men still attained the highest bachelor's degree among men at 80.0% but only 68.3% of Taiwanese American women had attained a bachelor's degree with Indian American women having the highest percentage among women of all ethnicities and Indian American men being second only to the Taiwanese American men. 39.1% of all Taiwanese in the United States possess a master’s, doctorate or other professional degree, which is nearly four times the national average  compared with 40% of Indians's who have a master’s, doctorate or other professional degree, which is five times the national average.
|Ethnicity or nationality||% of Population|
|Chinese (incl. Taiwanese)||50.2%|
|US national Average||28.0%|
Hindi radio & stations are available in areas with high Indian populations, for example, Easy96.com in the New York City metropolitan area, 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.
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 directed by Teju Prasad, 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, and Jews from India have established their religions in the United States. According to 2012 Pew Research Center, 65% Consider themselves Hindus, 18% as Christians (Protestant 10%, Catholic 5%, other Christian 3%), 10% as Muslims, 5% as Sikh, 2% as Jain.
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 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. The website USIndian.org has collected a comprehensive list of all the traditional St. Thomas Christian Churches in the US.
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. 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). 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%).
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (July 2013)|
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.
Immigration and progression timeline
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2013)|
- 1635: An "East Indian" was documented in Jamestown, Virginia.
- 1790: The first confirmed presence of an Indian in the United States. The Indian who came from Madras on a British ship traveled to the United States to promote trade links.
- 1899–1914: First significant wave of Indian immigrants, mostly Sikh farmers and laborers from Punjab region of British India, start arriving in California (Angel Island) on ships via Hong Kong. They found employment on farms and in lumber mills in California, Oregon, and Washington states.
- 1912: The first Sikh temple opens its doors in Stockton, California.
- 1913: A.K. Mozumdar became the first Indian-born person to earn U.S. citizenship, having convinced the Spokane district judge that he was "Caucasian" and met the requirements of naturalization law that restricted citizenship to free white persons. In 1923, as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that no person of East Indian origin could become a naturalized American citizen, his citizenship was revoked.
- 1914: Dhan Gopal Mukerji obtains a graduate degree from Stanford University, studying also at University of California, Berkeley and later goes on to win the Newbery Medal in 1928, and thus becomes the first successful India-born man of letters in the United States, as well as the first popular Indian writer in English.
- 1917: The Barred Zone Act passes in Congress through two-thirds majority, overriding President Woodrow Wilson's earlier veto. Asians, including Indians, are barred from immigrating to the U.S.
- 1918: Due to anti-miscegenation laws, there was significant controversy in Arizona when an Indian farmer B. K. Singh married the sixteen-year-old daughter of one of his white American tenants.
- 1918: Private Raghunath N. Banawalkar is the first(?) Indian-American recruited/drafted by the US Army on February 25, 1918 and serves in the Sanitary Detachment of the 305th Infantry Regiment, 77th Division, American Expeditionary Forces in France. Gassed while on active service in October 1918 and subsequently awarded Purple Heart medal. <Frank B. Tiebout, A History of the 305th Infantry (New York: 305th Infantry Auxiliary), 431.>
- 1918: Earliest record of LGBTQ Indian-Americans, Jamil Singh in Sacramento, California
- 1922: Yellapragada Subbarao, an Andhraite from Andhra Pradesh in Southern India arrived in Boston on October 26, 1922. He discovered the role of phosphocreatine and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in muscular activity, which earned him an entry into biochemistry textbooks in the 1930s. He obtained his Ph.D. degree the same year, and went on to make other major discoveries, including the synthesis of aminopterin (later developed into methotrexate), the first cancer chemotherapy.
- 1923: The US Supreme Court rules that people from India (at the time, British India, e.g. South Asians) are aliens ineligible for citizenship in United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind. Bhagat Singh Thind becomes a citizen a few years later in New York – he had earlier applied and been rejected in Oregon.
- 1943: Republican Clare Boothe Luce and Democrat Emanuel Celler introduce a bill to open naturalization to Indian immigrants to the US. Prominent Americans Pearl Buck, Louis Fischer, Albert Einstein and Robert Millikan give their endorsement to the bill. President Franklin Roosevelt also endorses the bill, calling for an end to the "statutory discrimination against the Indians".
- 1946: President Harry Truman signs into law the Luce-Celler Act of 1946, returning to Indian Americans the right to immigrate and naturalize.
- 1956: Dalip Singh Saund elected to the US House of Representatives from California. He was re-elected to a 2nd and 3rd term, winning over 60% of the votes. He is also the first Asian immigrant to be elected to Congress.
- 1962: Zubin Mehta appointed music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, becoming the first person of Indian origin to become the principal conductor of a major American orchestra. Subsequently he was appointed principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic.
- 1964: Amar G. Bose founded Bose Corporation. He was the Chairman, primary stockholder, and also holds the title of Technical Director at Bose Corporation. He was former professor of electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- 1965: President Lyndon Johnson signs the INS Act of 1965 into law, eliminating per-country immigration quotas and introducing immigration on the basis of professional experience and education. Satinder Mullick is one of the first to immigrate under the new law in November 1965—sponsored by Corning Glass Works.
- 1968: Hargobind Khorana shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Marshall W. Nirenberg and Robert W. Holley for discovering the mechanisms by which RNA codes for the synthesis of proteins. He was then on faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but later moved to MIT.
- 1981: Suhas Patil co-founded Cirrus Logic, one of the first fabless semiconductor companies.
- 1982: Vinod Khosla co-founded Sun Microsystems.
- 1983: Subrahmanyam Chandrasekhar won the Nobel Prize for Physics ; Asian Indian Women in America attended the first White House Briefing for Asian American Women. (AAIWA, formed in 1980, is the 1st Indian women's organization in North America.)
- 1987: President Ronald Reagan appoints Joy Cherian, the first Indian Commissioner of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
- 1988: Sanjay Mehrotra co-founded SanDisk.
- 1989: Rohit Jagessar founded RBC Radio, the first Asian Indian radio station in the US and India's first Satellite radio.
- 1994: Rajat Gupta elected managing director of McKinsey & Company, the first Indian-born CEO of a multinational company.
- 1994: Guitarist Kim Thayil, of Indian origin, wins Grammy award for his Indian inspired guitarwork on the album Superunknown by his band Soundgarden.
- 1994: Raj Reddy received the ACM Turing Award (with Edward Feigenbaum) "For pioneering the design and construction of large scale artificial intelligence systems, demonstrating the practical importance and potential commercial impact of artificial intelligence technology".
- 1996: Pradeep Sindhu co-founded Juniper Networks
- 1996: Rajat Gupta and Anil Kumar of McKinsey & Company co-found the Indian School of Business.
- 1997: Kalpana Chawla, one of the six-member crew of STS-87 mission, becomes the first Indian American astronaut.
- 1999: NASA names the third of its four "Great Observatories" Chandra X-ray Observatory after Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar the Indian-born American astrophysicist and a Nobel laureate.
- 1999: Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan enters film history with his film The Sixth Sense becoming one of the all-time highest-grossing films, worldwide.
- 1999: Rono Dutta becomes the President of United Airlines.
- 2001: Professor Dipak C. Jain (born in Tezpur - Assam, India) appointed as dean of the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He is the Sandy and Morton Goldman Professor in Entrepreneurial Studies and a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1987.
- 2002: Professor Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao — 'the world renowned statistician' is awarded National Medal of Science by President George W. Bush.
- 2005: Abhijit Y. Talwalkar, President and Chief Executive Officer of LSI Corporation
- 2006: Indra Nooyi (born in Chennai, India) appointed as CEO of PepsiCo. She is a Successor Fellow of the Yale Corporation — sometimes, and more formally, known as The President and Fellows of Yale College, is the governing body of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. She also serves as a member of the boards of the International Rescue Committee, Catalyst and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Trustees of Eisenhower Fellowships, and currently serves as Chairman of the U.S.–India Business Council.
- 2007: Bobby Jindal is elected governor of Louisiana and is the first person of Indian descent to be elected governor of an American state; he is inaugurated on January 14, 2008.
- 2007: Renu Khator appointed to a dual-role as chancellor of the University of Houston System and president of the University of Houston on October 15, 2007.
- 2007: Francisco D'Souza appointed as the President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Cognizant Technology Solutions. He is one of the youngest Chief Executive Officers in the software services sector at the age 38 in the United States. He was part of the team founded, in 1994, the NASDAQ-100 Cognizant Technology Solutions.
- 2007: Vikram Pandit (born in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India) appointed as CEO of Citigroup. He was previously the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Institutional Securities and Investment Banking Group at Morgan Stanley. He also serves on the boards of Columbia University, Columbia Business School, the Indian School of Business and The Trinity School. He is a former board member of NASDAQ (2000–2003), the New York City Investment Fund.
- 2007: Shantanu Narayen appointed as CEO of Adobe Systems.
- 2008: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson appoints Neel Kashkari as the Interim U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability.
- 2008: Raj Chetty appointed as professor of economics at Harvard University. As of today, he is the youngest person 'at the age of 29' to ever receive tenure of professorship in the Department of Economics at Harvard (It is well documented that Larry Summers got it at 28...Chetty at 29 being the youngest sounds incorrect). He is one of the top 8 young economists in the world.
- 2008: Sanjay Jha appointed as Co-CEO of Motorola, Inc..
- 2008: Establishment of the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) to document the history of the South Asian American community.
- 2009: President Barack Obama appoints Preetinder S. Bharara (born in Firozpur, India; graduate of Harvard College Class of 1990 and Columbia Law School Class of 1993) as United States attorney for the Southern District of New York Manhattan.
- Farah Pandith appointed as Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the United States Department of State.
- 2009: President Barack Obama appoints Aneesh Paul Chopra as the first American Federal Chief Technology Officer of the United States (CTO)
- 2009: President Barack Obama appoints Eboo Patel and Anju Bhargava on President's Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Parnerships.
- 2009: President Barack Obama appoints Vinai Thummalapally as the U.S. Ambassador to Belize
- 2009: President Barack Obama nominates Rajiv Shah, M.D. as the new head of United States Agency for International Development.
- 2009: President Barack Obama nominates Islam A. Siddiqui as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
- 2010: President of Harvard University Catherine Drew Gilpin Faust appoints Nitin Nohria as the 10th dean of Harvard Business School.
- 2010: President of University of Chicago Robert Zimmer appoints Sunil Kumar as the dean of University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
- 2010: Deven Sharma appointed President of Standard & Poor's.
- 2010: Ajaypal Banga appointed President and CEO of MasterCard.
- 2010: President Barack Obama nominates Subra Suresh, Dean Of Engineering at MIT as Director of National Science Foundation.
- 2010: Year marks the most number of candidates of Indian origin, running for political offices in the United States, including candidates such as Kamala Harris and Ami Bera.
- 2010: State Representative Nikki Haley is elected governor of South Carolina, and becomes the first Indian American woman, and second Indian American in general to become Governor of an American state.
- 2011: Jamshed Bharucha (born in Mumbai) named President of Cooper Union. He was formerly Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences at Dartmouth College and Provost at Tufts University.
- 2011: Satish K. Tripathi appointed as President of University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.
- 2011: Rohit Gupta wins over 100 international awards & accolades for his films Life! Camera Action... & Another Day Another Life.
- 2012: Ami Bera is elected to the House of Representatives from California.
- 2012: Dinesh D'Souza directs and releases the documentary film 2016: Obama's America which is highly successful and becomes the 2nd highest grossing political film of all time.
- 2013: Vistap Karbhari appointed as President of University of Texas at Arlington
- 2013: Hachette publishes cartoonist Francis Cleetus' compilation of It's Geek 2 Me tech toons titled "Total Timepass Tech Toons".
- 2013: Sri Srinivasan is confirmed as a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
- 2013: Nina Davuluri wins Miss America 2014.
- 2013: Arun M Kumar appointed as Assistant Secretary and Director General of the US and Foreign Commercial Service, International Trade Administration in the Department of Commerce.
- 2014: Satya Nadella appointed as CEO of Microsoft.
- 2014: Vivek Murthy appointed as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States.
- 2014: Rakesh Khurana appointed as the Dean of Harvard College, the original founding college of Harvard University.
According to 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" get 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.
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."
On August 5, 2012, white supremacist Wade Michael Page shot six people and killed four at a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
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. In 2014, Pew Research Center estimated that there are 450 thousand undocumented Indians in the United States.
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 voice for the community in political affairs, including the United States India Political Action Committee and the Indian-American Leadership Initiative, as well as panethnic groups such as South Asian Americans Leading Together and Desis Rising Up and Moving. 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. Republican Neel Kashkari is also of Indian descent and ran for Governor in the California gubernatorial election, 2014
Notable Indian Americans
- Model minority
- Hinduism in the United States
- Jainism in the United States
- Sikhism in the United States
- American-Born Confused Desi
- Demographics of the United States
- Hyphenated American
- Indian students abroad
- Indian diaspora
- United States foreign born per capita income
- Demographics of India
- Indian Filipino
- Americans in India
- Indo-Caribbean American
- List of ethnic groups in the United States by household income
- (PDF) http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-02.pdf. Missing or empty
- "Migration Information Source - Indian Immigrants in the United States". Migrationinformation.org. Retrieved 2010-07-17.
- http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acs-22.pdf see page 3
- "Asian Americans: A Mosaic of Faiths". Pew Forum. 2012-07-19. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
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