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Tamil Americans (தமிழ் அமெரிக்கர்கள்) are Americans who are of Tamil origin from India and Sri Lanka. The majority of Tamil Americans from India and other diasporic centers such as Malaysia, Singapore, Canada and the United Kingdom (UK).
In the second half of the 20th century, Tamils from India migrated as skilled professionals to the United States, Canada, Europe, and Southeast Asia. The Tamil American population >195,685 individuals, and the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America functions as an umbrella organization for the growing community.
Central New Jersey is home to the largest population concentration of Tamil-Americans. Sizeable populations of Indian American Tamils have also settled in New York City, and New Jersey and New York house separate Tamil Sangams. The Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and the Research Triangle area on the East Coast as well as Silicon Valley on the West Coast also have Tamil associations.
The New York City and Los Angeles metropolitan areas are home to the largest concentrations of Tamil-speaking Sri Lankan Americans. New York City's Staten Island alone is estimated to be home to more than 5,000 Sri Lankan Americans, one of the largest Sri Lankan populations outside Sri Lanka itself, and a significant proportion of whom speak Tamil.
The Tamil community in the United States is largely bilingual. Tamil is taught in weekly classes in many Hindu temples and by associations such as the American Tamil Academy in South Brunswick, Tamil Jersey School in Jersey City, New Jersey, and the Intl. Tamil Academy.
The language's written form is highly formal and quite distinct from the spoken form. A few universities, such as the University of Chicago and the University of California Berkeley, have graduate programs in the language.
The Tamil community is largely connected to the Hindu community, along with other groups from South India. In most Hindu temples in the United States, the prayers are in Sanskrit. However, in North Brunswick, New Jersey, the "Tamil Temple" ("Tamil Annai Thirukkoyil") conducts all the prayers in the Tamil language. The Hindu Temple in Houston, Texas, is dedicated to Meenakshi, a manifestation of the goddess Parvati. There is also an active Tamil Muslim and Christian minority. Tamil Muslim holding Tamil Muslim Community Sangam-Iman America/QMFUSA
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- Narayanan, Vasudha, "Tamils" in David Levinson and Melvin Ember, eds. (1997). American immigrant cultures: builders of a nation. Simon & Schuster Macmillan. pp. 874–79.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
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