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Indian Americans Are Now The Second Largest Immigrant Group In The U.S. (And The Richest)

Indian American leaders
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi meeting the Distinguished Indian-Americans, in New York on September 27, 2014.

By Zara Zhi
AsAmNews Staff Writer

When people think of the largest immigrant groups in the U.S., Mexicans and Chinese usually come to mind. But changing immigration patterns have already led to a major demographic shift in America that has not yet been widely reported.

According to recent census data, immigrants from Asia constitute the fastest growing immigrant group, outpacing Latinos. While the media has been commenting on the surge of new arrivals from Asia as a giant monolith, one group in particular has been leading the rest — Indians.

Indian Americans are the second largest immigrant group in America

Indian Americans have quietly overtaken Chinese Americans and Filipino Americans for the crown of largest Asian immigrant group in the United States, and the second largest immigrant group in the country behind Mexicans.

Over two million Indian-born immigrants have lived to the U.S. since 2013, accounting for 4.7 of the 41.3 million foreign-born population, according to the Migration Policy Institute. The Indian immigrant population increased ten-fold from 1980 to 2013, from 206,000 to 2.04 million, approximately doubling every decade.

This dramatic increase is in large part due to importing employees form India in mostly technology-related fields. In 2014, 70% of the 316,000 H-1B visa recipients were from India.

Immigrants from India have the highest household income out of any other group in America

Not only are Indian Americans now the second largest immigrant group in the country, they are also the wealthiest.

Considering the large number of Desis in powerful corporate executive positions, it comes as no surprise that Indians are exceptionally successful in the U.S. Particularly, Google’s new CEO, Sundar Pichai; Microsoft’s president, Satya Nadella; and the CEO of Pepsi, Indra Nooyi. What do these CEO’s have in common? They were all born in India.

Although some of the most powerful corporations are spearheaded by Indians, it should be noted that the literacy rate in India is still below the global average.

The median household income for Indian Americans is roughly $101,591 — making them the highest earning group in the United States.

Large income disparity within Asian Americans

So while it’s true that Asian Americans earn the most out of any race in the United States, there is a stark wealth disparity that exists within our group. Many people don’t realize that Burmese, Bangladeshi and Hmong immigrants are some of the lowest earning groups in the entire country.

According to census statistics, the rankings of median household incomes of various Asian Americans immigrant groups are as follows:

1.Indian Americans – $101,591

2.Taiwanese Americans – $85,566


  1. Filipino Americans – $82,389


  1. Japanese Americans – $70,261


  1. Chinese Americans (excluding Taiwan) – $68,672


  1. Pakistani Americans – $62,848


  1. Indonesian Americans – $61,943


  1. Vietnamese Americans – $59,405


  1. Korean American – $58,573


  1. Laotian American : $53,655


  1. Thai American – $53,468


  1. Cambodian American – $53,359


  1. Hmong American – $48,149

80.Nepali American – $44,677

81.Bangladeshi American – $44,512


  1. Burmese American – $35,016
    (Note from the editor: This story has been updated to clarify that Indian Americans are the largest Asian immigrant group in the country)

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  1. RE: Indian americans are now the second largest immigrant group in the U.S.: I went straight down to the bottom and found Bangladeshi Americans sitting at 81st wealthiest on the list. Why is it that the disparity between neighboring countries, i.e. between India and Pakistan/Bangladesh/Nepal, so large? Laotian, Cambodian, Burmese, Thai immigrants, on the other hand, are pretty close together here.

    I think the biggest reason for Bangladesh is that wartime refugees immigrated to the US with almost nothing. But that was over forty years ago. Most Bangladeshis in my area moved here in the 90s/00s, already educated and connected with other Bangladeshis here. So why is the disparity (almost $60k!) so large?

    • RE: Indian Americans are now the 2nd largest immigrant group in the U.S.: Hello. According to this website, it said that half of Bangladeshi immigrants came after 2000. That could explain why the Bangladeshis have a low income, but I’m willing to bet give or take 10-20 years from now that will change, but the young generation will have better jobs than the parents.

      As a Burmese person I knew that my people have one of the lowest household incomes among all Asian Americans, but I didn’t know we were the lowest! I thought it was the Hmongs, Laotians, or Cambodians.

      Wow this sucks. :/

  2. RE: Indian Americans are now the second largest immigrant group in the US: With Due respect to All especially Asian Americans in this article, when many first generation Desi-Indians immigrated, the starting salary level for fresh undergraduates varied from USD $ 7000/ to 10000/ depending from state to state, and now the starting salary range between USD $ 60,000/ to may be 80,000/-. Aside from growth of GDP, the services and communications sectors take big chunk of GDP, unlike what prevailed During 1970s. That said, NOW more emphasis is on Digitalisation, software, and mandatory certifications requirements in each and every profession. The differences could be more attributable due to these factors.Regards–Prakash C Sheth


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