Indian American

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For American Indians see Native Americans in the United States or Indigenous peoples of the Americas.


An Indian American (also called Asian Indian by the United States Census Bureau to avoid confusion with the "American Indians" so named by historical accident) is an American of Asian Indian descent. The phrase may refer to someone born in the United States of Indian descent or to someone who has immigrated to the United States from the Republic of India. A number of Indian Americans came to the U.S. via Indian communities in other countries such as Fiji, Kenya, Tanzania, United Kingdom, Trinidad & Tobago, South Africa, Guyana and Mauritius.

Most Indian Americans are Hindus by religion, but there are also Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians (mostly from the Indian states of Goa and Kerala) , Parsis, Baha'is and Jews (mostly from Kerala) among them.

According to the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau, the Asian Indian population in the United States grew from almost 1,678,000 (16.78 lakh) in 2000 to 2,319,000 (23.19 lakh) in 2005: a growth rate of 38%, the highest for any Asian-American community. In 2005, the Indian American community has become the second largest Asian community in the United States after the Chinese-American community, slightly edging out the Filipino-Americans to the third place. Asian Indians are most heavily concentrated in California, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois. The top urban destinations for Indian Americans include New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C..[1]

Asian Indians have outperformed all other minority and majority groups in most measures of socioeconomic achievement[2]. The U.S. Congress passed a resolution on April 26, 2005, (House Resolution 227) to honor the Indian American community and Indian Institutes of Technology graduates [3]. Many individuals, particularly those in the fields of medicine and technology, consider Indian Americans the epitome of the model minority. According to the 2000 U.S. Census Indian Americans have the highest median income of any national origin group in the United States. ($60,093), and Merrill Lynch recently revealed that there are nearly 200,000 Indian American millionaires. One in every nine Indians in the United States is a millionaire, comprising 10% of U.S. millionaires. (Source: 2003 Merrill Lynch SA Market Study). This affluence has been matched by a high degree of educational attainment. Indians have the highest educational qualifications of all national origin groups in the United States. According to the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, there are close to 41,000 Indian American doctors. According to the 2000 census, about 64% of Asian Indians in the U.S. have attained a Bachelor's degree or more.[4](compared to 28% nationally). Almost 40% of all Indians have a master’s, doctorate or other professional degree, which is five times the national average. (Source: The Indian American Centre for Political Awareness.) These high levels of education have enabled Indian Americans to become a productive segment of the American population, with 72.3% participating in the U.S. work force, of which 57.7% are employed in managerial and professional specialties[5]. Indians own 50% of all economy lodges and 35% of all hotels in the United States, which have a combined market value of almost $40 billion. (Source: Little India Magazine). A University of California, Berkeley, study reported that one-third of the engineers in Silicon Valley are of Indian descent, while 7% of valley hi-tech firms are led by Indian CEOs. (Source: Silicon India Readership Survey) According to Technology Review 35, the technical journal of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "while the Indian-American population is less than one per cent in the United States, the contribution of the community is to the extent of almost 17 percent" [6].In 2002, there were over 223,000 Asian Indian-owned firms in the U.S., employing more than 610,000 workers, and generating more than $88 billion in revenue.[7]

[edit] Demographic and cultural profile

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. Generally speaking, however, they are known to assimilate into American culture more easily than many other immigrant groups because they have fewer language barriers (English is widely spoken in India among professional classes), more educational credentials (immigrants are disproportionately well-educated among Indians), and come from a similarly diverse, tolerant, and democratic society.

Indian Americans are well-represented in the fields of medicine, engineering, finance and information technology.

[edit] Settlement

U.S. states with the largest Indian American populations are California, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Illinois. [8] There are also large Indian American populations in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan as well. The metropolitan areas with the ten largest Indian American populations are New York City, San Francisco/San Jose/Oakland, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington/Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, Houston, and Atlanta. [9].

In contrast to immigrants from East Asia, who tend to be concentrated in California and other areas near the Pacific coast, Indian Americans are more evenly distributed throughout the country.

[edit] Languages

Indian Americans often keep hold of their native Indian tongues, whether it be Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Marathi, Maithili, Oriya, Punjabi, Rajasthani,Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Tulu, Urdu or any of the other plethora of Indian languages.

[edit] Cultural establishments

Indian Americans have brought Indian cuisine to the United States, and Indian cuisine has been established as one of the most popular cuisines in the country,[citation needed] with hundreds of Indian restaurants in each major city and several similar eateries in smaller cities and towns.[citation needed] There are many Indian markets and stores in United States. Some of biggest Indian markets are in Silicon Valley, Chicago, New York City, the Philadelphia Metro, Edison, New Jersey, and Houston.

[edit] Religions

While India is home to virtually every major world religion, most Indian Americans are Hindu. There are many Hindu temples across the United States. The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, ISKCON, Chinmaya Mission, and Swadhyay Pariwar are well established in the U.S. Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Sikhs, Jains, Muslims, and Christians from India have also established their religions in the country.

Swami Vivekananda brought Hinduism to the West at the 1893 Parliament of the World's Religions[10]. The Vedanta Society has been important in subsequent Parliaments. Today, Hinduism is among the fastest-growing religions in the United States [citation needed] and many Hindu temples, most of them built by Indian Americans have emerged in different cities and towns of America. [11] [12] Hindu philosophy and spirituality has greatly influenced American life. [citation needed] More than 18 million Americans are now practising some form of Yoga. [13] In particular, Kriya Yoga was introduced to America by Paramahansa Yogananda. In addition, A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada initiated a popular ISKCON also known as Hare Krishna movement while preaching Bhakti yoga.

Among Indian Muslims the prominent organizations include the Indian Muslim Council - USA. A large percentage of American Muslims are of Indian origin. Indian Muslims are largely absorbed into mainstream American Muslim culture. Indian Christians are also a large group in America and are represented mainly among Malayali people and Indians from Goa. The large Parsi community is represented by the Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America.

[edit] Ethnolinguistic

While most of the early Indian immigrants were Punjabi and Gujarati, there has been a recent influx of Telugus, Kannadigas, Tamils, Sindhis, Bengalis, Maharashtrians, Malayalis and many other cultural groups in addition to them.

The United States is also home to associations of Indians united by ethno-linguistic affiliation. The big organizations include Telugu Association of North America, American Telugu Association, Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America, Gujarati Samaj, Kannada Sangha and Kannada Koota, Brihan Maharashtra Mandal (BMM) and Prabashi. These associations generally put on cultural programs, plays, and concerts during the major Hindu festivals (Diwali, Pongal, Baisakh).

[edit] Entertainment

There are Hindi radio stations in areas with high Indian populations, including Radio Humsafar. There are also Tamil radio stations in the USA [14].

Several cable and satellite providers offer Indian channels: Sun TV, Star TV, Zee TV, Sony TV, NDTV and Gemini. Others have offered Indian content for subscription, such as when India played Australia for the Cricket World Cup in 2003.

Many metropolitan areas which have a high density of Indian Americans, now have movie theatres specialized for showing Indian movies (primarily Hindi/Bollywood and in the South Indian languages of Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu. Silicon Valley, for example has two such multiplexes: one in Fremont and one in San Jose.

The Dallas - Ft.Worth Metroplex has a "Desi" Multiplex called Amar Akbar Anthony in the Richardson township

In July 2005, MTV premiered a spin-off network called MTV Desi which targets Indian Americans in the U.S. [15]

[edit] History and immigration

[edit] Timeline

[edit] Classification

Indian Americans are currently classified as Asian Americans by the United States Census Bureau. In the past, however, they have been variously classified as Hindu (Hindu being an archaic term for an inhabitant of the Indian sub-continent), preventing them from owning land in some areas, vote, or marry citizens or classified as Caucasian American until it was established that White American and Caucasian were interchangeable terms by convention for a single people which did not include Indians.<ref>Assissi, Frank. Desparades. Are Desis White? 2006. <>.</ref> According to a social scientist Rosanne Skirble, the term Caucasian is becoming less frequently used in favor of White American or European American. <ref>Skirble, Rosanne. New Voice of America. 2001. September 4, 2006. <>.</ref>

[edit] Current social issues

[edit] Discrimination

Incidents of deliberate overt discrimination against Indian Americans are few and far in-between. Any discrimination that exists is primarily in the form of being not so welcoming in social interactions, compared to the treatment received, say, by northern European immigrants who are more readily embraced. One source of resentment among some Americans is the outsourcing of labor by American multinationals to India, particularly to Indian call centers[17]. In America, the Indian call center has developed into a veritable social meme, and Indian Americans are occasionally targeted as objects of harassment or ridicule for the decisions of American corporate managers regarding their country of origin.

Though rare, explicit discrimination is not unknown in the Indian American community. In the 1980's, a group known as the Dot Busters tried to intimidate Indian Americans in New Jersey, but the range and impact of the group's activities were limited. Since September 11, there have been scattered incidents of Indian Americans having been 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 claims that his his turban made him think he was an Middle Eastern American terrorist. In another example, a pizza delivery person was robbed and beaten in Massachusetts for "being Muslim" though he pleaded that he was in fact Hindu [18].

[edit] Immigration

Indians are among the largest ethnic groups migrating to the USA legally. Immigration of Indian Americans has taken place in many waves since the first Indian-American came to the United States in the 1700s. A major wave of immigration to California from the soon-to-be Indian state of Punjab and the surrounding region took place in the first decade of the 20th century. Another significant wave followed in the 1950s.

[edit] Media portrayal

Fictional and non-fictional Indian Americans have appeared in the media.

[edit] Marriage

Indian Americans' views on marriage vary among generations. Recent immigrants tend to be more socially conservative and prefer to marry within one's own caste and regional community (i.e. Gujarati with Gujarati,Tamil with Tamil, Telugu with Telugu, etc). Indian Americans born and raised in the U.S. tend to be more open-minded with marriage. While the majority marry within their race, interacial marriage is also common. [19]

[edit] Politics

Image:Upendra J. Chivukula.jpg
Assemblyman Upendra J. Chivukula

Several groups have tried to create a unified or dominant voice for the Indian-American community in political affairs, including US India PAC. Additionally, there are also industry-wide Indian American groupings including the Asian American Hotel Owners Association and the Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin. Indian American voters have tended to vote overwhelmingly Democratic [20], according to the few exit polls that have targeted this community, but the Republican party has tried to target this community [21] and several prominent conservative activists are of Indian origin.

The Indian-Americans voters have shown support for both the Democratic and Republican parties and have had political candidates of both parties. The following is a non-comprehensive list of notable Indian American politicians and commentators:

[edit] Media

The following is a list of media with Indian American subject matter.

[edit] Books

[edit] Magazines

[edit] Films

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes


[edit] External links

[edit] Associations

[edit] Articles

[edit] News

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Asian Americans Image:Flag of the United States.svg
East Asian American: Chinese American | Japanese American | Korean American | Mongolian American | Taiwanese American
Southeast Asian American: Burmese American | Cambodian American | Filipino American | Hmong American | Indonesian American | Laotian American | Thai American | Vietnamese American | Singaporean American | Malaysian American | Timorese American | Bruneian American
South Asian American: Bangladeshi American | Bhutanese American | Indian American | Indo-Caribbean American | Maldivian American | Nepalese American | Pakistani American | Sri Lankan American | Tibetan American
additionally: Asian-Latino Americans

Indian American

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