Indian American population on rise

Indian Americans are growing in number even in places hitherto not known to have too many members of the community.

india Updated: Aug 17, 2006 11:44 IST

Indian Americans are growing in number even in places hitherto not known to have too many members of the community, latest figures from the US Census Bureau show.

While Indian Americans continue to be the biggest ethnic Asian community in New Jersey, they have grown even in states like Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

The roughly two-million-strong Indian American community, though accounting for less than one per cent of the US population, is considered the most educated and affluent among all immigrant communities.

In New Jersey, the population grew by 35 per cent from 170,000 in 2000 to 230,000 in 2005, according to the latest data. The state's Asian population jumped by about 34 per cent - from 480,000 in 2000 to 620,000 in 2005.

The roughly 8.5 million people in New Jersey remain among the nation's most diverse populations, according to the website.

"If I go to Jersey City, the waterfront, I see many youngsters who work in New York City and it almost looks like Bombay (Mumbai) to me," Vidya Gupta, an Indian American professor of paediatrics at New York Medical College, told the website.

In Minnesota, the number of Indian Americans has nearly doubled in the first five years of this decade.

The mid-decade survey by the Census Bureau shows that the Indian American population in the mid-western American state stands at over 30,000. This is after the figure more than doubled in the 1990s from 8,000 to 17,000.

This makes the Indian American community the second largest Asian community in Minnesota after the Hmong, a people from southern China and Vietnam who came to the US after the Vietnam War.

The Star Tribune newspaper of Minneapolis quoted VV Chari, an Indian American economist in the University of Minnesota, as saying that the growth come from the region's high-tech industry and from "dramatic investments in technology by companies such as Best Buy and Target in retailing.

"A huge component of that is people to do the testing, installation and so forth. I am told there are floors upon floors at Target headquarters full of people of Indian origin," he said.

The country's fifth most populous city, Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, saw the number of Indian Americans growing by one-third to 17,100.

In Canton, an affluent suburb of Detroit, Michigan, the immigrant population in nearly doubled in 2005 from that in 2000, with Indian Americans accounting for most of it.

The number of immigrants in Canton surged from 8,100 in 2000 to 15,000 in 2005.

The township's overall population grew from 76,310 to 90,500. Overall, there was an 18 per cent increase in immigrant population in Michigan. The state's total population stands at around 10 million.

According to a report in the Detroit Free Press newspaper, this rise will help Michigan offset its loss of young people.

"We tend to lose native born young but we've gotten a lot of immigrants who tend to be young," Kurt Metzger, director of research for the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, told the newspaper.

"Immigrants are extremely important. The state needs to be cognizant of the impact of immigrants. If not for them, we would be in real trouble," he said.

First Published: Aug 17, 2006 10:33 IST