Nepalese Americans

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Nepalese Americans
नेपाली अमेरिकन्स
Total population
Regions with significant populations

Nepalese Americans are Americans of Nepalese ancestry. Immigration from Nepal to the United States began in the 20th century, and many have been able to establish themselves as American nationals. The history of immigration from Nepal to America is more recent in comparison to other South Asian ethnic groups. Major community groups of Nepali Americans consists of Khas, followed by minority Newars, Tharus, Tamangs, Gurungs, Limbus, Rais, Magar, Madhesis, Lhotshampas, and others, as of American Nepalese Convention Survey of 2018.


Nepali Americans began migrating to the United States in the early 20th century. The first Nepalese immigrants to enter the United States were classified as "other Asian". Nepalese Americans were first classified as a separate ethnic group in 1974 when 56 Nepalese people had immigrated to the United States. The number of immigrants from Nepal remained below 100 per year until 1992.[3]

According to the 1990 U.S. Census, there were 2,616 Americans with Nepalese ancestry. Fewer than 100 Nepalese immigrants became U.S. citizens each year, but the number of Nepalese who become legal residents had grown steadily from 78 in 1987 to 431 in 1996. The Nepalese community experienced significant growth in population during the 2000s. The poor political and economic conditions caused by the Nepalese Civil War marked increased emigration from Nepal. Now, significant communities of Nepali-Americans exist in large metropolitan areas such as Texas, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Gainesville, Florida, Philadelphia, PA Portland, Oregon, and Saint Paul, Minnesota. Sizable numbers also live in various cities of California, such as Artesia (1.2% Nepalese American) and Sonoma (0.6%).[4][5] Gradually, this community has been integrating into mainstream politics. Harry Bhandari became the first Nepalese American to be elected to public office when he won a State Delegate race in Maryland in 2018.[6] Bhandari beat an incumbent and has become the first minority to win any election in the history of the majority White American district.

Communities in the United States[edit]

As of 2010, the largest communities of Nepalese were in the following cities:[7]

According to estimates from the American Community Survey for 2015-2019, there were 140,900 Nepalese immigrants in the USA.[9] of that number, the top counties of settlement were as follows:

1) Queens Borough, NY -------------------------- 8,100

2) Tarrant County, TX ----------------------------- 6,300

3) Dallas County, TX ------------------------------- 4,900

4) Middlesex County, Mass ------------------- 3,500

5) Fairfax County, VA ----------------------------- 3,400

6) Harris County, TX ------------------------------ 2,900

7) Los Angeles County, CA -------------------- 2,600

8) Contra Costa County, CA ------------------ 2,500

9) Baltimore County, MD ----------------------- 2,400

10) Franklin County, OH ------------------------ 2,300

11) Alameda County, CA ----------------------- 2,100

12) Summit County, OH ------------------------ 2,000

13) Santa Clara County, CA ------------------ 2,000

14) Orange County, CA ------------------------- 1,800

15) Montgomery County, MD --------------- 1,800

16) Prince William County, VA -------------- 1,700

17) King County, WA ---------------------------- 1,600

18) Wake County, N.C. ------------------------- 1,500

19) DeKalb County, GA ------------------------ 1,500

20) Cook County, Illinois ---------------------- 1,500

21) Mecklenburg County, N.C. ------------- 1,400

22) Douglas County, NEB ---------------------- 1,400

23) Salt Lake County, UT ----------------------- 1,300

24) Hillsborough County, NH ----------------- 1,300

25) Dauphin County, PA ------------------------- 1,300

Ethnic Nepali Bhutanese American[edit]

Bhutanese refugees are the group of people of Nepali origin who were expelled from Bhutan and temporarily settled in various refugee camps in the eastern parts of Nepal. Since 2008, many Bhutanese refugees have been resettled in different parts of the world and the U.S. There are 96,581 Bhutanese refugees in the U.S alone. As many Bhutanese came to the U.S. from Nepal as political refugees from that country and are registered as Nepalese Americans; often leading to the actual numbers of Bhutanese Americans being underreported[10]

Cultural celebrations[edit]

From the mid-1980s, the Nepalese community in the United States began to develop a series of social, cultural and charitable networks, which include the celebration of certain religious and cultural moments as Sakela, Losar, Dasain, Tihar, Chhath and the Nepali New Year. They also participated in local cultural events such as Pacific Rogers and Park Fest interfaith community festivals.[11]

Community and economic issues[edit]


According to data collected by the Pew Research Center, Nepali American median household income in 2019 was $55,000 a year, significantly less than the $85,800 median of all Asians and the $68,000 of all Americans. Further demonstrating the economic deprivation of Nepali Americans, 17 percent of them are at poverty or lower, significantly higher than the 10 percent of Asians at poverty or lower and the 11 percent of all Americans at poverty or lower.[12]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ASIAN ALONE OR IN COMBINATION WITH ONE OR MORE OTHER RACES, AND WITH ONE OR MORE ASIAN CATEGORIES FOR SELECTED GROUPS". United States Census Bureau. United States Department of Commerce. 2017. Archived from the original on 14 February 2020. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  2. ^ Dhungel, Ramesh K. (1999). "Nepalese Immigrants in the United States of America" (PDF). Contributions to Nepalese Studies. CNAS/TU. 26 (1): 119–134. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  3. ^ Miller, Olivia. "Nepalese Americans". Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America. Gale.
  4. ^ "Nepalese Americans - History, Modern era, The first Nepali in america". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  5. ^ Moore, Derek. Sonoma grows more diverse, The Press Democrat, March 25, 2011.
  6. ^ "Members - Delegate Harry Bhandari". Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  7. ^ "PCT1: TOTAL POPULATION". Factfinder2.census,gov. 2010 Census. Archived from the original on 12 February 2020. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  8. ^ "Refugees in Columbus - Bhutanese-Nepali".
  9. ^ "U.S. Immigrant Population by State and County". 2014-02-04. Retrieved 2022-02-15.
  10. ^ "85,000 Bhutanese resettled". Bhutan News Service. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  11. ^ Grieve, Gregory Price (17 August 2018). "Nepalese". Chicago History Museum and the Newberry Library. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Nepalese in the U.S. Fact Sheet". 8 September 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Miller, Olivia. "Nepalese Americans." Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America, edited by Thomas Riggs, (3rd ed., vol. 3, Gale, 2014), pp. 277-288. Online
  • Mishra, P. B. “Nepalese Migrants in the United States of America: Perspectives on Their Exodus, Assimilation Pattern and Commitment to Nepal.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37#9 (2011): 1527–37.

External links[edit]