1.3% of the U.S. population (2017)
|Regions with significant populations|
Indian Americans or Indo-Americans, are Americans whose ancestry belongs to any of the many ethnic groups of the Republic of India. According to 2017 United States Census Bureau data, Indian Americans are the second largest Asian group in the United States after Chinese Americans. 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 (or Native Americans or Amerindians).
- 1 Terminology
- 2 Indian American immigration
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Statistics on Indians in the U.S.
- 5 Socioeconomic status
- 6 Culture
- 7 Immigration and progression timeline
- 8 Current social issues
- 9 Politics
- 10 Notable people
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
In the Americas, historically, the term "Indian" has been most commonly used to refer to the indigenous people of the continents after European colonization in the 15th century. Qualifying terms such as "American Indian" and "East Indian" were and are commonly used to avoid ambiguity. The U.S. government has since coined the term "Native American" to refer to the indigenous peoples of the United States, but terms such as "American Indian" remain popular among both indigenous and non-indigenous populations. Since the 1980s, Indian Americans have been categorized as "Asian Indian" (within the broader subgroup of Asian American) by the United States Census Bureau.
While "East Indian" remains in use, the term "South Asian" is often chosen instead for academic and governmental purposes. Indian Americans are a subgroup of South Asian Americans, a census group that also includes Bangladeshi Americans, Bhutanese Americans, Nepalese Americans, Pakistani Americans, Burmese Americans, Sri Lankan Americans, etc.
Indian American immigration
The Naturalization Act of 1790 made Asians ineligible for citizenship, with citizenship limited to whites only.
Indian immigration began in the mid-19th century, with more than two thousand Indian Sikhs living in the United States, primarily on the West Coast, by the end of the century. The presence of Indian-Americans also helped develop interest in Eastern religions in the US and would result in its influence on American philosophies such as Transcendentalism. Swami Vivekananda arriving in Chicago at the World's Fair led to the establishment of the Vedanta Society. Many Punjabis migrated to the western US in the 19th and early 20th century followed by many other.
Bhicaji Balsara became the first known Indian-born person to gain naturalized U.S. citizenship. As a Parsi, he was considered a 'pure member of the Persian sect' and therefore a free white person. The judge Emile Henry Lacombe, of the Southern District of New York, only gave Balsara citizenship on the hope that the United States attorney would indeed challenge his decision and appeal it to create “an authoritative interpretation” of the law. The U.S. attorney adhered to Lacombe’s wishes and took the matter to the Circuit Court of Appeals in 1910. The Circuit Court of Appeal agreed that Parsees belong to the white race and were "as distinct from Hindus as are the English who dwell in India”.  Prior to 1965, Indian immigration to the U.S. was small and isolated, with fewer than fifty thousand Indian immigrants in the country. The Bellingham riots in Bellingham, Washington on September 5, 1907 epitomized the low tolerance in the U.S. for Indians and Sikhs who were called hindoos by locals. While anti-Asian racism was embedded in U.S. politics and culture in the early 20th century, Indians were also racialized for their anticolonialism, with U.S. officials, casting them as a "Hindu" menace, pushing for Western imperial expansion abroad. Although labeled Hindu, the majority of Indians were Sikh. In the 1923 case, United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, the Supreme Court ruled that Punjabis were not "white persons" and were therefore racially ineligible for naturalized citizenship. The Court also argued that the racial difference between Indians and whites was so great that the "great body of our people" would reject assimilation with Indians.
After the Luce–Celler Act of 1946 a quota of 100 Indians per year were permitted to immigrate to the U.S. and become citizens. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 dramatically opened entry to the U.S. to immigrants other than traditional Northern European groups, which would significantly alter the demographic mix in the U.S. Not all Indian Americans came directly from India; some came to the U.S. via Indian communities in other countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, (South Africa, the former British colonies of East Africa, (namely Kenya, Tanzania), and Uganda, Mauritius), the Asia-Pacific region (Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Fiji), and the Caribbean (Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, and Jamaica).
According to the 2010 United States Census, 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.
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 711,174 uniracial Indian Americans as of the 2017 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; New York City itself also contains by far the highest Indian American population of any individual city in North America, estimated at 246,454 as of 2017. Monroe Township, Middlesex County, in central New Jersey, the geographic heart of the Northeast megalopolis, has displayed one of the fastest growth rates of its Indian population in the Western Hemisphere, increasing from 256 (0.9%) as of the 2000 Census to an estimated 5,943 (13.6%) as of 2017, representing a 2,221.5% (a multiple of 23) numerical increase over that period, including many affluent professionals and senior citizens. In 2014, 12,350 Indians legally immigrated to the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA core based statistical area; As of January 2019, Indian airline carrier Air India as well as United States airline carrier United Airlines were offering direct flights from the New York City Metropolitan Area to and from Delhi, Mumbai, and (Air India) Ahmedabad. 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 Atlanta, Baltimore–Washington, Boston, Chicago, Dallas–Ft. Worth, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco–San Jose–Oakland.
The three oldest Indian-American communities going back to around 1910 are in lesser populated agricultural areas like Stockton, California south of Sacramento; the Central Valley of California like Yuba City; and Imperial County, California aka Imperial Valley. These were all primarily Sikh settlements.
U.S. metropolitan areas with large Asian Indian populations
|Metropolitan Statistical Area||Indian American
|Total population (2010)||% of Total
|Combined Statistical Area|
|New York–Newark–Jersey City, NY–NJ–PA||526,133||18,897,109||2.8%||New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA|
|Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI||171,901||9,461,105||1.8%||Chicago-Naperville, IL-IN-WI|
|Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV||127,963||5,582,170||2.3%||Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA||119,901||12,828,837||0.9%||Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA|
|San Francisco–Oakland–Hayward, CA||119,854||4,335,391||2.8%||San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||117,711||1,836,911||6.4%||San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA|
|Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington, TX||100,386||6,371,773||1.6%||Dallas-Fort Worth, TX-OK|
|Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land, TX||91,637||5,946,800||1.5%||Houston-The Woodlands, TX|
|Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD||90,286||5,965,343||1.5%||Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA||78,980||5,268,860||1.5%||Atlanta–Athens-Clarke County–Sandy Springs, GA|
|Boston–Cambridge–Newton, MA-NH||62,598||4,552,402||1.4%||Boston–Worcester–Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT|
|Detroit–Warren–Livonia, MI||55,087||4,296,250||1.3%||Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor, MI|
|Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue, WA||52,652||3,439,809||1.5%||Seattle-Tacoma, WA|
|Miami–Fort Lauderdale–West Palm Beach, FL||41,334||5,564,635||0.7%||Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie, FL|
|Baltimore–Columbia–Towson, MD||32,193||2,710,489||1.2%||Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul–Bloomington, MN-WI||29,453||3,279,833||0.9%||Minneapolis-St. Paul MN-WI|
|Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford, FL||26,105||2,134,411||1.2%||Orlando–Deltona–Daytona Beach, FL|
|San Diego-Carlsbad, CA||24,306||3,095,313||0.8%|||
|Riverside–San Bernardino–Ontario, CA||23,587||4,224,851||0.6%||Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA|
|Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater, FL||23,526||2,783,243||0.8%|
|Austin-Round Rock, TX||23,503||1,716,289||1.4%|
|Raleigh, NC||20,192||1,130,490||1.8%||Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC|
|Columbus, OH||19,529||1,836,536||1.1%||Columbus–Marion–Zanesville, OH|
|Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT||18,764||1,212,381||1.5%||Hartford-West Hartford, CT|
|St. Louis, MO–IL||16,874||2,812,896||0.6%||St. Louis–St. Charles–Farmington, MO–IL|
|Fresno, CA||15,469||930,450||1.7%||Fresno–Madera, CA|
|Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT||15,439||916,829||1.7%||New York–Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA|
|Trenton, NJ||15,352||366,513||4.2%||New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA|
|Portland–Vancouver–Hillsboro, OR-WA||15,117||2,226,009||0.7%||Portland–Vancouver–Salem, OR-WA|
|Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN||14,696||2,130,151||0.7%||Cincinnati-Wilmington-Maysville, OH-KY-IN|
|Pittsburgh, PA||14,568||2,356,285||0.6%||Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, PA-OH-WV|
|Cleveland–Elyria, OH||14,215||2,077,240||0.7%||Cleveland-Akron-Canton, OH|
|Stockton, CA||12,951||685,306||1.9%||San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA|
|Denver–Aurora–Lakewood, CO||13,649||2,543,482||0.5%||Denver–Aurora, CO|
|Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN||12,669||1,756,241||0.7%||Indianapolis-Carmel-Muncie, IN|
|Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI||11,945||1,555,908||0.8%||Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha, CI|
|Kansas City, MO-KS||11,646||2,035,334||0.6%||Kansas City-Overland Park-Kansas City, MO-KS|
|Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO||3,534||422,610||0.9%||Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers Metropolitan Area|
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
|% of state's population
|Asian Indian population
|Total Asian-Indian population in US||2,843,391||0.92%||1,678,765||69.4%|
Statistics on Indians in the U.S.
In 2006, of the 1,266,264 legal immigrants to the United States, 58,072 were from India. Between 2000 and 2006, 421,006 Indian immigrants were admitted to the U.S., up from 352,278 during the 1990–1999 period. 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 U.S. was 7.6 percent. Indians comprise 16.4 percent of the Asian-American community. In 2000, the Indian-born population in the U.S. was 1.007 million. 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, following Chinese Americans and Filipino Americans.
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. The percentage of Silicon Valley startups founded by Indian immigrants has increased from 7% in 1999 to 15.5% in 2006, as reported in the 1999 study by AnnaLee Saxenian  and her updated work in 2006 in collaboration with Vivek Wadhawa. Indian Americans are making their way to the top positions of almost every big technology company (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, Adobe, Softbank, Cognizant, Sun microsystems, etc.) Many of them came from very humble origins, for example the current google CEO "Sundar Pichai did not have the privilege of watching television or travelling by car during his childhood. Born and raised in a middle class household, Mr. Pichai used to sleep with his brother in the living room of their two-room apartment that barely had any technology. Despite facing these hardships of everyday life in India, Pichai had a gleam in his eyes of sheer ambition and relentless pursuit." 
A recent study shows that 23% of Indian business school graduates take a job in United States.
In 2014, the Pew Research Center published an article listing some more interesting facts about Indian Americans.
Indian Americans continuously outpace every other ethnic group socioeconomically per U.S. Census statistics. Thomas Friedman, in his 2005 book The World Is Flat, explains this trend in terms of brain drain, whereby the best and brightest elements in India emigrate to the US in order to seek better financial opportunities. Indians form the second largest group of physicians after non-Hispanic whites (3.9%) as of the 1990 survey, and the percentage of Indian physicians has rose to around 6% in 2005.
According to Pew Research in 2015, 72% of Indian Americans had a bachelor's degree or more. 32% of Indian Americans, aged over 25, had a bachelor's degree and 40% had a postgraduate degree compared to 19% of bachelor's degree attainment and 11% postgraduate degree attainment among
The median household income for Indian immigrants in 2015 was much higher than that of the overall foreign- and native-born populations. Households headed by Indian immigrants had a median income of $101,591, compared to $51,000 and $56,000 for overall immigrant and native-born households, respectively. By far they are the richest and most successful ethnic group in the USA due to their strong work-ethic and focus on education, as well as many other factors, such as the relatively low wages for highly-skilled workers in India, creating an incentive for highly skilled Indians to immigrate, while poorer Indians can neither afford to immigrate, nor live in the United States.
Approximately 7 percent of Indian immigrants lived in poverty in 2015, a much lower rate than the foreign-born population overall and the U.S. born (17 percent and 14 percent, respectively).
Hindi radio stations are available in areas with high Indian populations, for example, Easy96.com in the New York City metropolitan area, KLOK 1170 AM IN San Francisco, RBC Radio; Radio Humsafar, Desi Junction in Chicago; Radio Salaam Namaste and FunAsia Radio in Dallas; and Masala Radio, FunAsia Radio, Sangeet Radio, Radio Naya Andaz in Houston and Washington Bangla Radio on Internet from the Washington DC Metro Area. There are also some radio stations broadcasting in Tamil and Telugu within these communities. Houston-based Kannada Kaaranji radio focuses on a multitude of programs for children and adults. In South Florida, Bhawan R. Singh has hosted an Indo-Caribbean/Indian Hindustani radio program called Sangeet Mala on WHSR 980 AM on Saturdays. Indians/Indo-Caribbeans in New York City have their own station called WICR.
AVS (Asian Variety Show) and Namaste America are nationally available South Asian programming available free to air and can be watched with a television antenna.
Several cable and satellite television providers offer Indian channels: Sony TV, Zee TV, TV Asia, Star Plus, Sahara One, Colors, Big Magic, regional channels, and others have offered Indian content for subscription, such as the Cricket World Cup. There is also an American cricket channel called Willow.
Many metropolitan areas with large Indian-American populations now have movie theaters which specialize in showing Indian movies, especially from Bollywood and Telugu cinema.
In July 2005, MTV premiered a spin-off network called MTV Desi which targets Indian Americans. It has been discontinued by MTV.
In 2012, the film Not a Feather, but a Dot directed by Teju Prasad, was released which investigates the history, perceptions and changes in the Indian-American community over the last century.
In popular media, several Indian-American personalities have made their mark in recent years, including Kovid Gupta, Kal Penn, Aziz Ansari, Hasan Minhaj, and Mindy Kaling.
Communities of Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Indian Jews have established their religions in the United States. According to 2012 Pew Research Center research, 51% consider themselves Hindu, 18% as Christian (Protestant 11%, Catholic 5%, other Christian 3%), 10% as unaffiliated, 10% as Muslims, 5% as Sikh, 2% as Jain. The first religious center 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 temples, Christian churches, and Buddhist and Jain temples in all 50 states.
Some have claimed that as of 2008, the American Hindu population was around 2.2 million, but this estimation is based on the flawed assumption that percentage of Hindus among Indian Americans is the same as in India. Regardless, Hindus are the majority of Indian Americans. Many organizations 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 aim to educate people about Hinduism. Swami Vivekananda brought Hinduism to the West at the 1893 Parliament of the World's Religions. 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. More than 18 million Americans are now practicing some form of Yoga. Kriya Yoga was introduced to America by Paramahansa Yogananda. A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada initiated the popular ISKCON, also known as the Hare Krishna movement, while preaching Bhakti yoga.
There are nearly 30 million Sikhs around the world today, and a vast majority of them live in the Indian state of Punjab. There is also a robust and flourishing diaspora, with communities large and small all over the globe. Much of the diaspora is concentrated in the commonwealth due to migration within the British empire, yet Sikhs continue to establish themselves in various countries throughout the world.
From the time of their arrival in the late 1800s, Sikh men and women have been making notable contributions to American society. In 2007, there were estimated to be between 250,000 and 500,000 Sikhs living in the United States, with largest populations living on the East and West Coasts, together with additional populations in Detroit, Chicago, and Austin. The United States also has a number of non-Punjabi converts to Sikhism. Sikh men are typically identifiable by their unshorn beards and turbans (head coverings), articles of their faith. Many organisations like World Sikh Organisation (WSO), Sikh Riders of America, SikhNet, Sikh Coalition, SALDEF, United Sikhs, National Sikh Campaign continue to educate people about Sikhism. There are many "Gurudwaras" Sikh temples present in all states of USA.
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 US 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. Unlike India and United Kingdom, the Jain community in United States doesn't find sectarian differences, Both Digambara and Śvētāmbara a share common roof.
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, Christhava Tamil Koil, Knanaya, Indian Orthodox Church, Mar Thoma Church (reformed orthodox), Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church, The Pentecostal Mission, Assemblies Of God, Church of God, Sharon Pentecostal Church, Independent Non Denominational Churches like Heavenly Feast, Plymouth Brethren, and the India Pentecostal Church of God. Saint Thomas Christians from Kerala have established their own places of worship across the United States. The website USIndian.org has collected a comprehensive list of all the traditional St. Thomas Christian Churches in the US. There are also Catholic Indians hailing originally from Goa and/or Kerala, who attend the same services as other American Catholics, but may celebrate the feast of Saint Francis Xavier as a special event of their identity. 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 US. FIACONA estimates the Indian American Christian population to be 1,050,000.
The large Parsi community is represented by the Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America. Indian Jews are perhaps the smallest organized religious group among Indian Americans, consisting of approximately 350 members in the US. They form the Indian Jewish Congregation of USA, with their headquarters in New York City.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.
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.
The United States is home to various associations that promote Indian languages and cultures. Some major organizations include Telugu Association of North America (TANA), American Telugu Association (ATA), Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America, Federation of Kerala Associations in North America, Association of Kannada Kootas of America (AKKA), North American Bengali Conference, Orissa Society of the Americas, and Maharashtra Mandal.
Immigration and progression timeline
- 1635: An "East Indian" was documented in Jamestown, Virginia.
- 1790: The first confirmed presence of an Indian in the United States. The Indian who came from Madras on a British ship traveled to the United States to promote trade links.
- 1899–1914: First significant wave of Indian immigrants, mostly Sikh farmers and businessmen from Punjab region of British India, start arriving in California (Angel Island) on ships via Hong Kong. They founded industry, farms, and lumber mills in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington.
- 1909: Bhicaji Balsara became the first known Indian-born person to gain naturalised U.S. citizenship. As a Parsi, he was considered a 'pure member of the Persian sect' and therefore a free White person. The judge Emile Henry Lacombe, of the Southern District of New York, only gave Balsara citizenship on the hope that the United States attorney would indeed challenge his decision and appeal it to create “an authoritative interpretation” of the law. The U.S. attorney adhered to Lacombe’s wishes and took the matter to the Circuit Court of Appeals in 1910. The Circuit Court of Appeal agreed that Parsees belong to the White race and were "as distinct from Hindus as are the English who dwell in India”. 
- 1912: The first Sikh temple opens in Stockton, California.
- 1913: A.K. Mozumdar became the second Indian-born person to earn U.S. citizenship, having convinced the Spokane district judge that he was "Caucasian" and met the requirements of naturalization law that restricted citizenship to free White persons. In 1923, as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that no person of East Indian origin could become a naturalized American citizen, his citizenship was revoked.
- 1914: Dhan Gopal Mukerji obtains a graduate degree from Stanford University, studying also at University of California, Berkeley and later goes on to win the Newbery Medal in 1928, and thus becomes the first successful India-born man of letters in the United States, as well as the first popular Indian writer in English.
- 1917: The Barred Zone Act passes in Congress through two-thirds majority, overriding President Woodrow Wilson's earlier veto. Asians, including Indians, are barred from entering the United States.
- 1918: Due to anti-miscegenation laws, there was significant controversy in Arizona when an Indian farmer B. K. Singh married the sixteen-year-old daughter of one of his White American tenants.
- 1918: Private Raghunath N. Banawalkar is the first(?) Indian-American recruited into the US Army on February 25, 1918 and serves in the Sanitary Detachment of the 305th Infantry Regiment, 77th Division, American Expeditionary Forces in France. Gassed while on active service in October 1918 and subsequently awarded Purple Heart medal.
- 1918: Earliest record of LGBT Indian-Americans, Jamil Singh in Sacramento, California
- 1922: Yellapragada Subbarao, an Andhraite from Andhra Pradesh in Southern India arrived in Boston on October 26, 1922. He discovered the role of phosphocreatine and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in muscular activity, which earned him an entry into biochemistry textbooks in the 1930s. He obtained his Ph.D the same year, and went on to make other major discoveries; including the synthesis of aminopterin (later developed into methotrexate), the first cancer chemotherapy.
- 1923: The US Supreme Court rules that people from India (at the time, British India, e.g. South Asians) are aliens ineligible for citizenship in United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind. Bhagat Singh Thind becomes a citizen a few years later in New York – he had earlier applied and been rejected in Oregon.
- 1943: Republican Clare Boothe Luce and Democrat Emanuel Celler introduce a bill to open naturalization to Indian immigrants to the United States. Prominent Americans Pearl Buck, Louis Fischer, Albert Einstein and Robert Millikan give their endorsement to the bill. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, also endorses the bill, calling for an end to the "statutory discrimination against the Indians".
- 1946: President Harry Truman signs into law the Luce-Celler Act of 1946, returning the right to Indian Americans to immigrate to the United States and become naturalized citizens.
- 1956: Dalip Singh Saund elected to the US House of Representatives from California. He was re-elected to a second and third term, winning over 60% of the vote. He is also the first Asian immigrant from any country to be elected to Congress.
- 1962: Zubin Mehta appointed music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, becoming the first person of Indian origin to become the principal conductor of a major American orchestra. Subsequently, he was appointed principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic.
- 1964: Amar G. Bose founded Bose Corporation. He was the chairman, primary stockholder, and also holds the title of Technical Director at Bose Corporation. He was former professor of electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- 1965: President Lyndon Johnson signs the INS Act of 1965 into law, eliminating per-country immigration quotas and introducing immigration on the basis of professional experience and education. Satinder Mullick is one of the first to immigrate under the new law in November 1965—sponsored by Corning Glass Works.
- 1968: Hargobind Khorana shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Marshall W. Nirenberg and Robert W. Holley for discovering the mechanisms by which RNA codes for the synthesis of proteins. He was then on faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but later moved to MIT.
- 1974: Mafat and Tulsi Patel open the first location of Patel Brothers on Devon Avenue in Chicago, one of the first Indian grocery chains in America
- 1975: Launch of India-West, a leading newspaper covering issues of relevance to the Indian-American community.
- 1981: Suhas Patil co-founded Cirrus Logic, one of the first fabless semiconductor companies.
- 1982: Vinod Khosla co-founded Sun Microsystems.
- 1983: Subrahmanyam Chandrasekhar won the Nobel Prize for Physics; Asian Indian Women in America attended the first White House Briefing for Asian American Women. (AAIWA, formed in 1980, is the 1st Indian women's organization in North America.)
- 1987: President Ronald Reagan appoints Joy Cherian, the first Indian Commissioner of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
- 1988: Sanjay Mehrotra co-founded SanDisk.
- 1989: Rohit Jagessar, an Indo-Guyanese founded RBC Radio, the first Asian Indian radio station in the US and India's first Satellite radio.
- 1994: Rajat Gupta elected managing director of McKinsey & Company, the first Indian-born CEO of a multinational company.
- 1994: Guitarist Kim Thayil, of Indian origin, wins Grammy award for his Indian inspired guitarwork on the album Superunknown by his band Soundgarden.
- 1994: Raj Reddy received the ACM Turing Award (with Edward Feigenbaum) "For pioneering the design and construction of large scale artificial intelligence systems, demonstrating the practical importance and potential commercial impact of artificial intelligence technology".
- 1996: Pradeep Sindhu co-founded Juniper Networks
- 1996: Rajat Gupta and Anil Kumar of McKinsey & Company co-found the Indian School of Business.
- 1997: Kalpana Chawla, one of the six-member crew of STS-87 mission, becomes the first Indian American astronaut.
- 1999: NASA names the third of its four "Great Observatories" Chandra X-ray Observatory after Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar the Indian-born American astrophysicist and a Nobel laureate.
- 1999: Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan enters film history with his film The Sixth Sense becoming one of the all-time highest-grossing films worldwide.
- 1999: Rono Dutta becomes the president of United Airlines.
- 2001: Professor Dipak C. Jain (born in Tezpur - Assam, India) appointed as dean of the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He is the Sandy and Morton Goldman Professor in Entrepreneurial Studies and a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1987.
- 2002: Professor Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao — 'the world-renowned statistician' is awarded National Medal of Science by President George W. Bush.
- 2005: Abhi Talwalkar, president and chief executive officer of LSI Corporation
- 2006: Indra Nooyi (born in Chennai, India) appointed as CEO of PepsiCo. She is a Successor Fellow of the Yale Corporation — sometimes, and more formally, known as The President and Fellows of Yale College, is the governing body of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. She also serves as a member of the boards of the International Rescue Committee, Catalyst and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, trustees of Eisenhower Fellowships, and currently serves as chairman of the U.S.–India Business Council.
- 2007: Bobby Jindal is elected governor of Louisiana and is the first person of Indian descent to be elected governor of an American state; he is inaugurated on January 14, 2008.
- 2007: Renu Khator appointed to a dual-role as chancellor of the University of Houston System and president of the University of Houston on October 15, 2007.
- 2007: Francisco D'Souza appointed as the president and chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of Cognizant Technology Solutions. He is one of the youngest chief executive officers in the software services sector at the age 38 in the United States. He was part of the team founded, in 1994, the NASDAQ-100 Cognizant Technology Solutions.
- 2007: Vikram Pandit (born in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India) appointed as CEO of Citigroup. He was previously the president and chief operating officer of the Institutional Securities and Investment Banking Group at Morgan Stanley. He also serves on the boards of Columbia University, Columbia Business School, the Indian School of Business and The Trinity School. He is a former board member of NASDAQ (2000–2003), the New York City Investment Fund.
- 2007: Shantanu Narayen appointed as CEO of Adobe Systems.
- 2008: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson appoints Neel Kashkari as the Interim U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability.
- 2008: Raj Chetty appointed as professor of economics at Harvard University the age of 29, one of the youngest ever to receive tenure of professorship in the Department of Economics at Harvard. He is one of the top young economists in the world.
- 2008: Sanjay Jha appointed as Co-CEO of Motorola, Inc..
- 2008: Establishment of the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) to document the history of the South Asian American community.
- 2009: President Barack Obama appoints Preet Bharara (born in Firozpur, India; graduate of Harvard College Class of 1990 and Columbia Law School Class of 1993) as United States attorney for the Southern District of New York Manhattan.
- Farah Pandith appointed as Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the United States Department of State.
- 2009: President Barack Obama appoints Aneesh Paul Chopra as the first American Federal Chief Technology Officer of the United States (CTO).
- 2009: President Barack Obama appoints Eboo Patel and Anju Bhargava on President's Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
- 2009: President Barack Obama appoints Vinai Thummalapally as the U.S. Ambassador to Belize
- 2009: President Barack Obama nominates Rajiv Shah, M.D. as the new head of United States Agency for International Development.
- 2009: President Barack Obama nominates Islam A. Siddiqui as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
- 2010: President of Harvard University Catherine Drew Gilpin Faust appoints Nitin Nohria as the tenth dean of Harvard Business School.
- 2010: President of University of Chicago Robert Zimmer appoints Sunil Kumar as the dean of University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
- 2010: Deven Sharma appointed president of Standard & Poor's.
- 2010: Ajaypal Banga appointed president and CEO of MasterCard.
- 2010: President Barack Obama nominates Subra Suresh, Dean of Engineering at MIT as director of National Science Foundation.
- 2010: Year marks the most number of candidates of Indian origin, running for political offices in the United States, including candidates such as: Kamala Harris and Ami Bera.
- 2010: State Representative Nikki Haley is elected Governor of South Carolina, and becomes the first Indian-American woman, and second Indian-American in general to become Governor of an American state.
- 2010: The World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland names Sanjay Gupta, an Indian-American Senior Executive at Abraxis BioScience and advisor to billionaire investor Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong to its 2010 list of 'Young Global Leaders'
- 2011: Jamshed Bharucha named president of Cooper Union. Previous to that, he was appointed dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences at Dartmouth College in 2001, the first Indian American dean at an Ivy League institution, and Provost at Tufts University in 2002.
- 2011: Satish K. Tripathi appointed as President of University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.
- 2011: Rohit Gupta wins over 100 international awards & accolades for his films Life! Camera Action... and Another Day Another Life.
- 2011: Bobby Jindal is re-elected Governor of Louisiana.
- 2012: Ami Bera is elected to the House of Representatives from California.
- 2012: Dinesh D'Souza directs and releases the documentary film 2016: Obama's America which is highly successful and becomes the second-highest grossing political film of all time.
- 2013: Vistap Karbhari appointed as president of University of Texas at Arlington
- 2013: Hachette publishes cartoonist Francis Cleetus' compilation of It's Geek 2 Me tech toons titled "Total Timepass Tech Toons".
- 2013: Sri Srinivasan is confirmed as a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
- 2013: Nina Davuluri wins Miss America 2014.
- 2013: Arun M Kumar appointed as assistant secretary and director general of the US and Foreign Commercial Service, International Trade Administration in the Department of Commerce.
- 2014: Satya Nadella appointed as CEO of Microsoft.
- 2014: Vivek Murthy appointed as the nineteenth Surgeon General of the United States.
- 2014: Rakesh Khurana appointed as the dean of Harvard College, the original founding college of Harvard University.
- 2014: Nikki Haley re-elected to a second term as the Governor of South Carolina in November 2014. She was later appointed as the US Ambassador to the United Nations, in the Trump Administration, in 2017.
- 2014: Manjul Bhargava wins Fields Medal in Mathematics.
- 2015: Sundar Pichai appointed as the chairman and CEO of Google.
- 2016: Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, and Raja Krishnamoorthi are elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and Kamala Harris to the Senate. This puts the total number of Indian-Americans in Congress at 5, the largest in history.
- 2017: President Donald Trump nominates Ajit Pai as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
- 2017: Balvir Singh was elected to the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders, New Jersey on November 7, 2017. He became the first Asian-American to win a countywide election in Burlington County and the first Sikh-American to win a countywide election in New Jersey.
According to 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 was automatically classified as an Asian Indian became classified as part of the Asian race at 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.
In previous decades, Indian Americans were also variously classified as White American, the "Hindu race", and "other". Even today, where individual Indian Americans do not racially self-identify, and instead report Muslim, Jewish, and Zoroastrian as their "race" in the "some other race" section without noting their country of origin, they are automatically tallied as white. 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.
Unlike many countries, India does not allow dual citizenship. Consequently, many Indian citizens residing in U.S., who do not want to lose their Indian nationality, do not apply for American citizenship (ex. Raghuram Rajan).
In the 1980s, a gang known as the Dotbusters specifically targeted Indian Americans in Jersey City, New Jersey with violence and harassment. Studies of racial discrimination, as well as stereotyping and scapegoating of Indian Americans have been conducted in recent years. In particular, racial discrimination against Indian Americans in the workplace has been correlated with Indophobia due to the rise in outsourcing/offshoring, whereby Indian Americans are blamed for US companies offshoring white-collar labor to India. 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. Due to various socio-cultural reasons, implicit racial discrimination against Indian Americans largely go unreported by the Indian American community.
Numerous cases of religious stereotyping of American Hindus (mainly of Indian origin) have also been documented.
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 a Hindu. 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. 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 September 11, 2001.
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.
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.
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, to the real world of Virginia". 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.
In 2006, then Delaware Senator and former 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."
On August 5, 2012, white supremacist Wade Michael Page shot eight people and killed six at a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
On February 22, 2017, recent immigrants Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani were shot at a bar in Olathe, Kansas by Adam Purinton, a white American who mistook them for persons of Middle Eastern descent, yelling "get out of my country" and "terrorist". Kuchibhotla died instantly while Madasani was injured, but later recovered.
On December 22, 2018, rapper Famous Dex uploaded a video post to his Instagram page in which he made racially-charged jokes at the expense of an elderly Indian American Hindu cashier at a convenience store in Los Angeles he was frequenting with a friend. During the video, he remarks “Witcho’ lil’... ,” referring to the man’s tilaka on his forehead, following a brief exchange about the packaging of the Backwoods Smokes box Famous Dex was purchasing. He then stops and rhetorically adds “That’s a mark of Buddha in between yo’ face?,” laughing along with his friend. This is in reference to the 2001 stoner film How High, in which Chuck Deezy’s character Ivory opined that the pubic patch between his eyebrows was the ‘mark of Buddha.’
In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security estimated that there were one hundred thousand (100,000) Indian unauthorized immigrants; they are the sixth largest nationality (tied with Koreans) of illegal immigrants behind Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and the Philippines. Indian Americans have had an increase in illegal immigration of 25% since 2000. In 2014, Pew Research Center estimated that there are 150 thousand undocumented Indians in the United States.
Indians are among the largest ethnic groups legally immigrating to the United States. The immigration of Indians has taken place in several waves since the first Indian 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 330,000 Indians were on the visa wait list, third only to Mexico and The Philippines.
In December, 2015, over 30 Indian students seeking admission in two US universities—Silicon Valley University and the Northwestern Polytechnic University—were denied entry by Customs and Border Protection and were deported to India. Conflicting reports suggested that the students were deported because of the controversies surrounding the above-mentioned two universities. However, another report suggested that the students were deported as they had provided conflicting information at the time of their arrival in US to what was mentioned in their visa application. "According to the US Government, the deported persons had presented information to the border patrol agent which was inconsistent with their visa status," read an advisory published by Ministry of External Affairs (India) which was published in the Hindustan Times.
Following the incident, Indian government asked the US government to honour the visas given by its embassies and consulates. In response, the United States embassy advised the students considering studying in the US to seek assistance from Education USA.
Several groups have tried to create a voice for the community in political affairs, including the United States India Political Action Committee and the Indian-American Leadership Initiative, as well as panethnic groups such as South Asian Americans Leading Together and Desis Rising Up and Moving. Additionally, there are industry groups such as the Asian American Hotel Owners Association and the Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin.
A majority tend to identify as moderates and have voted for Democrats in recent elections. Polls before the 2004 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. The Republican party has tried to target this community for political support, and in 2007, Republican Congressman Bobby Jindal became the first United States Governor of Indian descent when he was elected Governor of Louisiana. Nikki Haley, also of Indian descent and a fellow Republican, became Governor of South Carolina in 2010. Republican Neel Kashkari is also of Indian descent and ran for Governor of California in 2014. Raja Krishnamoorthi who is a lawyer, engineer and community leader from Schaumburg, Illinois is seeking the Democratic nomination in Illinois's 8th congressional district for the United States House of Representatives. Jenifer Rajkumar is a Lower Manhattan district leader and candidate for the New York State Assembly. If elected, she will be the first Indian American woman elected to the state legislature in New York history. In 2016, Kamala Harris (the daughter of a Tamil Indian American mother, Dr. Shyamala Gopalan Harris, and a Jamaican American father, Donald Harris) became the first Indian-American and second African American female to serve in the United States Senate. The Indian American community have been significant in promoting the US-India relations. The Indian American lobbying groups have played a significant role in turning the frosty attitude of the American legislators to a positive perception about India in the post-Cold War era.
- India–United States relations
- Model minority
- Indian students abroad
- Indian diaspora
- Americans in India
- Indo-Caribbean Americans
- List of ethnic groups in the United States by household income
- List of Hindu temples in the United States
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- From 1917 to 2017 Immigration, Exclusion, and “National Security" by Seema Sohi
- Indian Americans: The New Model Minority Forbes
- Stereotypes in Schooling: Negative Pressures in the American Educational System on Hindu Identity Formation by Yvette Rosser
- Five facts about Indian Americans by Drew Desilver
- Widely exhibited across museums in the US, historic photography project of Indians living in the late 1980s in America