They are caricatured through convenience store owner Apu in the cartoon series The Simpsons, celebrated for their victories in Spelling Bee contests and success in Silicon Valley entrepreneurship, and courted for their wealth given their status as the ethnic group with the highest per capita income in U.S. Sometimes they are also chastised for not being part of the American mainstream.
But Indian-Americans are getting there. A demographic snapshot of South Asians in the United States crunched out from the 2010 U.S Census by an NGO group shows the Indian-American population in the U.S (including multiple ethnicities) grew 68 per cent over the 2000-2010 decade from 1.9 million to 3.19 million. Counting single ethnicity (discounting mixed race), the population grew from 1.67 million to 2.84 million in the same period.
That made Indian-Americans the third largest Asian-American group in the U.S after Chinese-Americans (3.79 million) and Filipino-Americans (3.42 million), but with a much faster growth rate. People who identified themselves as Indian origin comprise the largest segment of the 3.4 million-strong ”South Asian Americans,” a 1990s nomenclature engineered by the Washington mandarins.
According to data released by the Asian American Foundation and Saalt, an organization devoted to strengthening South Asian Communities in America, the voting age population of Indian-Americans (who are U.S citizens) has now crossed 1 million. It grew 100 per cent from 2000, when it was 576,000, to 1.15 million in 2010.
While the South Asian community as a whole grew 78 per cent over the past decade, the Indian-American growth rate, however, was the slowest in this group. The Bangladeshi community experienced the most significant growth, jumping 212 per cent to 147,300 in 2010. The combined Bhutanese and Nepali populations grew by at least 155 per cent.
Pakistani-Americans, the second largest among South Asian Americans grew 100 per cent, from 204,000 in 2000 to 409,000 in 2010, while Sri Lankans went up 85 per cent from 24,500 to 45,400. Pakistanis claim to be at least a million-strong in the U.S, but the data shows they are less than half-million, and voting population of Pakistani-Americans (U.S citizens) is only 161,000.
Such census data diced to show the demographics of ethnic groups and nationalities is considered important for stakeholders to undertake advocacy with government entities and make funding requests. State and federal lawmakers can also use the data to deepen engagement with the communities and reflect their concerns in policymaking.
In fact, the census data also reflects changing geographical distribution of South Asian Americans. The top five metropolitan areas for Indian-Americans are New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. For Pakistanis it is New York, Houston, Chicago, Washington DC, and Dallas. Over the past ten years, the Washington DC metropolitan area overtook the Los Angeles metropolitan area as the area with the third largest South Asian population.
Outside the big metropolitan cities, the South Asian population grew the most in Charlotte, North Carolina, increasing 187 per cent over the past ten years. This was followed by Phoenix (Arizona), Richmond (Virginia), Raleigh (North Carolina), San Antonio (Texas), Seattle (Washington), Stockton (California), Jacksonville (Florida), Harrisburg (Pennsylvania), and Las Vegas (Nevada).
By: Chidanand Rajghatta-The Times of India