South Asians in the U.S.

  • Atlanta is home to 37,162 individuals who identified themselves in the 2000 Census as Asian Indians or Indian-Americans. These are first- and second-generation immigrants and others whose ancestors migrated to the US from India.
  • More than one out of every 10 individuals in the US is foreign-born, a total of 28.4 million people.
  • According to the 2000 Census, 210,000 individuals live in the Atlanta metro area who were born outside of the US. The foreign-born comprise 14% of the residents in Cobb County and 16% in Gwinnett and DeKalb. (2000 census)
  • The 2000 Census reported an Indian-American population nationwide of 1.7 million. The estimate for 1970 was less than 40,000. The Indian-American population doubled between the 1980 Census and the 1990 Census and doubled again by the year 2000.
  • A dozen US cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Houston hold annual South Asian beauty pageants.
  • The largest concentration of South Asian immigrants is located in California, followed by New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, Florida, and DC.
  • India is a vast country with a highly diverse population. Over 500 distinct languages are spoken. Five major religions are practiced: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and Jainism. The four main characters in Miss India Georgia mirror this diversity, representing three of India's religions, and several different regions.


  • Indian-Americans are multi-lingual: Most speak more than one Indian language. Of Indian-Americans, 79% speak English fluently. At the same time, 70% speak a language other than English at home at least part of the time.
  • The Indian-American community is one of the most highly-educated in the US: 65% of Indian-Americans have completed college; 40% hold an MA, PhD, or other professional degree.
  • Indian-Americans make up less than 1 per cent of the US population but account for well over 5 per cent of US scientists, engineers, and software specialists.
  • No group has a higher per capita income than Indian-Americans.
  • Not all immigrants come from the Indian middle-class. Particularly among recent arrivals, many are the poorer relatives of better-educated individuals who came to the US in earlier years. Throughout the world, there is an immense Indian diaspora, with millions of Indians living overseas in Africa, Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. Misty, one of the characters in Miss India Georgia, comes from a Indian family that lived in Trinidad for many generations before emigrating to the US. [Nearly 50% of the inhabitants of Trinidad are of Indian descent.] Many Indians from Trinidad and other outposts of the Indian diaspora come from families of rural fieldworkers, such as Misty's mother, Sylvia, who lived in a mud hut throughout her childhood in Trinidad.

["South Asia" = Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka]


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