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A matter of perception

Indians are 3-million strong in the US. But don’t go by the figures, check the big picture first.

india Updated: Mar 11, 2012 23:25 IST
Hindustan Times

We Indians are here, there, and everywhere. No matter how much others love us or hate us, there is absolutely no way anyone can ignore us. That is because Indians are, as we said earlier, just about everywhere in this world. According to the 2010 United States census, the Indian-American population in the country (including multiple ethnicities) grew 68% over the 2000-2010 decade from 1.9 million to 3.19 million. This makes Indian-Americans the third largest Asian-American population segment in the US after Chinese-Americans (there they go again) and Filipino-Americans. Acco-rding to the data released by the Asian American Foundation and Saalt, the voting age population of Indian-Americans (US citizens) has crossed 1 million. It grew 100% from 2000, when it was 576,000 to 1.15 million in 2010.

When this news broke on the internet, the reactions, as expected, were rambunctious (and not always charitable). Topping the list of adjectives were these: Indians have no discipline, they resist learning the societal norms of the country they live in and are good at taking away jobs. While all three are true, the second one is not 100% true. Indians, always strong believers in ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’, become model citizens when they leave the shores of the Motherland: they give up littering and rash driving; what they essentially focus on wholeheartedly is making the best of any given opportunity.

Now that we have done a bit of gloating, here’s a reality check: no matter how big the census shows the Indian community to be, the truth is, we are just a tiny fragment of America. Calculate it for yourselves: America’s population is 300 million plus. So that makes us just 1% of the total population. So here’s a fourth Indian characteristic that the netizens have missed: we are damn good — and fast — at using numbers to our advantage.

First Published: Mar 11, 2012 23:24 IST