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Not to be confused with American Indians.

Indian American
Total population
1.0% of the U.S. population (2010)[1]
Regions with significant populations
New Jersey, New York City, Atlanta, Baltimore-Washington, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area
American English, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu,Marathi, [2][3] Gujarati,[2][3] other Indian languages[3]
51% Hinduism, 11% Protestantism, 10% Islam, 10% Unaffiliated, 5% Sikhism, 5% Catholicism, 2% Jainism (2012)[4][5]
Related ethnic groups
Indian British, Indo-Canadians

Indian Americans are citizens of the United States of Indian ancestry and comprise about 3.18 million people, or about 1.0% of the U.S. population, the country's third largest self-reported Asian ancestry group after Chinese Americans and Filipino Americans, according to American Community Survey of 2010 data.[1] 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.


The term: Indian

In the Americas, historically, Indian had been most commonly used to refer to the indigenous peoples. Qualifying terms such as American Indian and East Indian were and are commonly used to avoid ambiguity.

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.

People of Indian origin often prefer the term Desi to refer to the diasporic subculture of South Asians. Indian Americans are categorized as Asian Indian (and more broadly, Asian American) by the United States Census Bureau.

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.[6] 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,[7] 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 one percent. /[8][9][10][11]

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 614,214 Indian Americans as of the 2012 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;[16] New York City itself also contains by far the highest Indian American population of any individual city in North America, at approximately 207,414.[17] As of May 2013, 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 Baltimore–Washington, Boston, Chicago, Dallas–Ft. Worth, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco–San Jose–Oakland.

U.S. metropolitan areas with large Indian American populations

Metropolitan Statistical Areas of the United States of America
Rank Metropolitan Statistical Area Total Population (2010) Indian American Population (2010)[18]  % Indian American Asian American Population (2010)[18]  % Asian American Combined Statistical Area
!000001 New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA MSA 18,897,109 526,133 2.8 1,878,261 9.9 New York-Newark-Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA CSA
!000002 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA MSA 12,828,837 119,901 0.9 1,884,669 14.7 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, CA CSA
!000003 Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA 9,461,105 171,901 1.8 532,801 5.6 Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City, IL-IN-WI CSA
!000004 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX MSA 6,371,773 100,386 1.6 341,503 5.4 Dallas-Fort Worth, TX CSA
!000005 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA 5,965,343 90,286 1.5 295,766 5.0 Philadelphia-Camden-Vineland, PA-NJ-DE-MD CSA
!000006 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX MSA 5,946,800 91,637 1.5 389,007 6.5 Houston-Baytown-Huntsville, TX CSA
!000007 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA 5,582,170 127,963 2.3 517,458 9.3 Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, DC-MD-VA-WV CSA
!000008 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL MSA 5,564,635 41,334 0.7 125,564 2.3 ~primary census statistical area
!000010 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH MSA 4,552,402 62,598 1.4 294,503 6.5 Boston-Worcester-Manchester, MA-RI-NH CSA
!000011 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA MSA 4,335,391 119,854 2.8 1,005,823 23.2 San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA CSA
!000012 Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI MSA 4,296,250 55,087 1.3 141,316 3.3 Detroit-Warren-Flint, MI CSA
!000013 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA MSA 4,224,851 23,587 0.6 259,071 6.1 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, CA CSA
!000014 Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ MSA 4,192,887 31,203 0.7 138,717 3.3 ~primary census statistical area
!000015 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA MSA 3,439,809 52,652 1.5 392,961 11.4 Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia, WA CSA
!000016 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA 3,279,833 29,453 0.9 188,018 5.7 Minneapolis-St. Paul-St. Cloud, MN-WI CSA
!000017 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA MSA 3,095,313 24,306 0.8 336,091 10.0 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA MSA[19]
!000018 St. Louis, MO-IL MSA 2,812,896 16,874 0.6 60,072 2.1 St. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington, MO-IL CSA
!000019 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL MSA 2,783,243 23,526 0.8 80,879 2.9 ~primary census statistical area
!000020 Baltimore-Towson, MD MSA 2,710,489 32,193 1.2 122,911 4.5 Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, DC-MD-VA-WV CSA
!000021 Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO MSA 2,543,482 13,649 0.5 94,005 3.7 Denver-Aurora-Boulder, CO CSA
!000022 Pittsburgh, PA MSA 2,356,285 14,568 0.6 41,238 1.8 Pittsburgh-New Castle, PA CSA
!000023 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA MSA 2,226,009 15,117 0.7 126,965 5.7 ~primary census statistical area
!000026 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL MSA 2,134,411 26,105 1.2 84,852 5.0 Orlando-Deltona-Daytona Beach, FL CSA
!000027 Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN MSA 2,130,151 14,696 0.7 40,422 1.9 Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, OH-KY-IN CSA
!000028 Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA 2,077,240 14,215 0.7 40,522 2.0 Cleveland-Akron-Elyria, OH CSA
!000029 Kansas City, MO-KS MSA 2,035,334 11,646 0.6 46,221 2.3 Kansas City-Overland Park-Kansas City, MO-KS CSA
!000031 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA MSA 1,836,911 117,711 6.4 571,967 31.3 San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA CSA
!000034 Indianapolis-Carmel, IN MSA 1,756,241 12,669 0.7 39,576 2.3 Indianapolis-Anderson-Columbus, IN CSA
!000043 Richmond, VA MSA 1,258,251 12,926 1.0 39,265 3.1 ~primary census statistical area
!000045 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT MSA 1,212,381 18,764 1.5 47,339 3.9 Hartford-West Hartford-Willimantic, CT CSA
!000048 Raleigh-Cary, NC MSA 1,130,490 20,192 1.8 49,862 4.4 Raleigh-Durham-Cary, NC CSA
!000055 Fresno, CA MSA 930,450 15,469 1.7 89,357 9.6 Fresno-Madera, CA CSA
!000056 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT MSA 916,829 15,439 1.7 42,284 4.6 New York-Newark-Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA CSA
!000077 Stockton, CA MSA 685,306 12,951 1.9 98,472 14.4 ~primary census statistical area
!000109 Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO MSA 422,610 3,534 0.9 12,948 3.06 Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO MSA
!000138 Trenton-Ewing, NJ MSA 366,513 15,352 4.2 32,752 8.9 New York-Newark-Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA CSA

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 (2000 Census) Asian Indian Population (2010 Census)[20] Percent Change, 2000 - 2010
California 360,392 528,176 46.6%
New York 296,056 313,620 5.9%
New Jersey 169,180 292,256 72.7%
Texas 129,365 245,981 90.1%
Illinois 124,723 188,328 51.0%
Florida 70,740 128,735 82.0%
Virginia 48,815 103,916 112.9%
Pennsylvania 57,241 103,026 80.0%
Georgia 46,132 96,116 108.3%
Maryland 49,909 79,051 58.4%
Massachusetts 43,801 77,177 76.2%
Michigan 54,656 77,132 41.1%
Ohio 38,752 64,187 65.6%
Washington 23,992 61,124 154.8%
North Carolina 26,197 57,400 119.1%
Connecticut 23,662 46,415 96.2%
Arizona 14,741 36,047 144.5%
Minnesota 16,887 33,031 95.6%
Indiana 14,865 27,598 85.7%
Tennessee 12,835 23,900 86.2%
Missouri 12,169 23,223 90.8%
Wisconsin 12,665 22,899 80.85
Colorado 11,720 20,369 73.8%
Oregon 9,575 16,740 74.8%
South Carolina 8,856 15,941 80.0%
Kansas 8,153 13,848 69.9%
Alabama 6,900 13,036 88.9%
Kentucky 6,771 12,501 84.6%
Oklahoma 8,502 11,906 40.0%
Nevada 5,535 11,671 110.9%
Delaware 5,280 11,424 116.4%
Louisiana 8,280 11,174 35.0%
Iowa 5,641 11,081 96.4%
New Hampshire 3,873 8,268 113.5%
Arkansas 3,104 7,973 156.9%
Utah 3,065 6,212 102.7%
Nebraska 3,273 5,903 80.4%
Mississippi 3,827 5,494 43.6%
Washington, D.C 2,845 5,214 83.3%
Rhode Island 2,942 4,653 58.2%
New Mexico 3,104 4,550 46.6%
Puerto Rico 4,789 3,523 -26.4%
West Virginia 2,856 3,304 15.7%
Hawaii 1,441 2,201 52.7%
Idaho 1,289 2,152 67.0%
Maine 1,021 1,959 91.9%
North Dakota 822 1,543 87.7%
Vermont 858 1,359 58.4%
Alaska 723 1,218 68.5%
South Dakota 611 1,152 88.5%
Montana 379 618 63.1%
Wyoming 354 589 66.4%
Total Asian Indian population in the US 1,678,765 2,843,391 69.4%

Historical population

[19][21] Note: Pre-1980 data refers to ethnic "Hindus".

Statistics on Indians in the U.S.

In the year 2006, of the total 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.[22] 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 whole of USA was only 7.6 percent.

Indians comprise 16.4 percent of the Asian-American community. They are the third largest in the Asian American population. In 2000, of all the foreign born population in U.S., Indians were 1.007 million. From 2000 onwards the growth rate and the per cent rate of Indians amongst all the immigrants has increased by over 100 percent. 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%.

Indian Americans are the third largest Asian American ethnic group today, following Chinese Americans and Filipino Americans.[23][24][25]

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.[26] 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.



Indian Americans continuously outpace most ethnic groups socioeconomically to reach the summit of the U.S. Census charts.[27] 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 high 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.[28][29] 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.[30]

Educational Attainment: 2010[31]
(25 and Older)
Ethnicity Bachelor's Degree
or Higher
Indian 71.1%
Chinese 52.4%
Filipino 48.1%
Total US Population 28.0%

Bachelor's Degree or Higher Educational Attainment[32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40]
Ethnicity or nationality Percent of Population
Taiwanese 74.1%
Indian 67.9%
Pakistani 60.9%
Jews 59.0%
Iranian 57.2%
Korean 50.8%
Chinese (incl. Taiwanese) 50.2%
Venezuelan 49.7%
Filipino 47.9%
Japanese 43.7%
Bangladeshi 41.9%
Argentinean 38.9%
Non-Hispanic White 30.7%
General US Population 28.0%
Vietnamese 26.1%
Black 16.5%
Hmong 16.0%
Cambodian 14.6%
Laotian 13.0%


Main article: Model minority

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Indian Americans had the highest household income of all ethnic groups in the United States.

According to the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, there are close to 35,000 Indian American doctors.[41]

Among Indian Americans, 72.3% participate in the U.S. work force, of which 57.7% are employed in managerial and professional specialties.[42] As of 2010 66.3% of Indian Americans are employed in select professional and managerial specialties compared with the national average of 35.9%.[43]

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.[44]

Median Household Income: 2009
Ethnicity Household Income
Indians $88,538[45]
Filipinos $75,146[46]
Chinese $69,037[47]
Japanese $64,197[48]
Koreans $53,025[49]
Total US Population $50,221



Hindi radio stations are available in areas with high Indian populations, for example, in the New York tri - state areas, KLOK 1170 AM IN San Francisco, RBC Radio; Radio Humsafar, Desi Junction in Chicago; Radio Salaam Namaste in Dallas; and FunAsia Radio, Sangeet Radio and Radio Naya Andaz in Houston. There are also some radio stations broadcasting in Tamil and Telugu within these communities.[50][51] Houston based Kannada Kaaranji radio focuses on a multitude of programs for children and adults.[52]

South Asian magazine, SBR MAGAZINE(Style & Beauty Resource - Previously known as "Sabse Bada Rupaiya Magazine"), one of the world’s leading publications, offers readers a print and online magazine filled with various beauty, health, fashion, and entertainment news and updates targeted to the young professionals in the Indian community nationwide.

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.

Many metropolitan areas with large Indian-American populations now have movie theaters which specialize in showing Indian movies, especially from Bollywood.

In July 2005, MTV premiered a spin-off network called MTV Desi which targets Indian Americans.[53] It has been discontinued by MTV.


Communities of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, Jews, from India have established their religions in the United States. According to 2012 Pew Research Center, 51% Consider themselves Hindus, 18% as Christians (Protestant 11%, Catholic 5%, Other Christian 3%), 10% as Muslims, 5% as Sikh, 2% as Jain and 10% are Unaffiliated.[5]

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 the 50 states.

As of 2008, the American Hindu population was around 2.2 million,[54] and Hindus are the majority of Indian Americans.[55][56] 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.[57] 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.[58][59] 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.[60]

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 to preserve, practice, and promote Jainism and the Jain Way of Life.[61]

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; As with other Asian Americans, Indian Americans are more likely to be Christian, and especially Protestant, than their compatriots in their original homeland due to the fact that many Protestants in India emigrate to America because of the impact of efforts previously made by American Puritan missionaries in India for the spread of Christian faith. Such impact can be seen with the significant presence of Indian Evangelicals in mainstream American Churches. Indian American Protestants share similar values with their American counterparts such as influence of Gospel music within their churches, non-idol worshipping nature, Evangelical activities for heathens etc.[62][63] 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.[64]

The large Parsi community is represented by the Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America.[65] 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.[66]


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.[67] 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), and come from a democratic society. 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 Caucasian 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%).[68]

Linguistic affiliation

The United States is also home to associations of Indians united by linguistic affiliation. Some major organizations include, Telugu Association of North America New Year.

Immigration and progression timeline



According to the current parameters defining 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" gets 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. For further discussion on the term Asian American, please see that article.

In previous decades, Indian Americans were also variously classified as White American, the "Hindu race", and Other.[80] 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.[81] 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.

Current social issues


In the 1980s, a gang known as the Dotbusters specifically targeted Indian Americans in Jersey City, New Jersey with violence and harassment.[82] Studies of racial discrimination, as well as stereotyping and scapegoating of Indian Americans have been conducted in recent years.[83] 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.[84][85] 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.[85] Due to various socio-cultural reasons, implicit racial discrimination against Indian Americans largely go unreported by the Indian American community.[83]

Numerous cases of religious stereotyping of American Hindus (mainly of Indian origin) have also been documented.[86]

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.[87] 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.[88] 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.[89]

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.[90]

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.[91][92][93]

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." 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.[94]

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."[95]

The India Anti-Defamation Committee was founded to combat violations of civil and human rights, discrimination and racism against Indians both in the United States and globally.

Illegal Immigration

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.[96] Indian Americans are also the fastest growing illegal immigrant group in the United States, with an increase in illegal immigration of 125% since 2000.[97][98]


Indians are among the largest ethnic groups legally immigrating to the United States. The immigration of Indian Americans has taken place in several waves since the first Indian American 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.

As of 2012, over 330 thousand Indians were on the visa wait list, third only to Mexico and The Phillipines.[99]



Several groups have tried to create a unified or dominant voice for the Indian American community in political affairs, including US India PAC.[100] 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. A majority of Indian Americans 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.[101] The Republican party has tried to target this community for political support,[102] and several prominent conservative activists are of Indian origin.

In 2007, Republican Congressman Bobby Jindal became the first United States Governor of Indian descent when he was elected Governor of Louisiana and is cited as a leading GOP presidential contender in 2016.[103] Nikki Haley is the governor of South Carolina. A list of notable Indian American politicians and commentators can be found here.

Notable Indian Americans

See also


External links


  • Forbes
  • Yvette Rosser


  • Asian-Americans' diverse voices share similar stories
  • The Indian-American population boom - September 1, 2006,
  • "India's influence soars: The 'un-China' could be world's next economic superpower", June 18, 2006 (summary of TIME Magazine cover story)
  • , December 17, 2004: "Indians are No 1 among Asians in US, census shows"
  •, March 10, 2004: "Indian-Americans Fear Outsourcing Impact: Worries about technical-job losses, discrimination" (reprint of March 3, 2004 Financial Times article by Amy Yee)
  • (University of California at Berkeley's South/Southeast Asia Library's online exhibit, last updated October 3, 2001)
  • , March 6, 2006: "My Two Lives" by Jhumpa Lahiri ('The Pulitzer-winning writer felt intense pressure to be at once 'loyal to the old world and fluent in the new.')

Photography project

  • Widely exhibited across museums in the US, historic photography project, of Indians living in late 1980s in America.


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