U.S. Demographic Trends Show Indian Immigrants Gaining Ground

Every year, the U.S. Census Bureau posts the results of its latest American Community Survey, a statistical compendium that tracks several demographic traits of the American population: employment and education, income and lack of it, the age, gender, ethnicity, and languages of the people who live here, and a host of other data points. In a recent conversation with Brookings Institution demographer, William Frey, reporter Steve Inskeep of National Public Radio (NPR) put it this way: the American Community Survey is “an annual snapshot of who Americans are and how we live…” [See Census Bureau Survey Indicates How Americans Live, Steve Inskeep and William Frey, NPR‘s Morning Edition, 19.Sep.2013.]

According to Frey, the latest demographic figures out of Washington show some striking changes in the body politic, especially among the newest Americans. Frey told NPR that immigration numbers have rebounded modestly since last year, which posted “the lowest level of immigration in quite a while.” Interesting as Frey finds the numbers, it’s the origin of the immigrants he finds most intriguing: “…what’s interesting about immigration is that it’s Asians that are driving what’s going on in our gains in immigration. The two biggest immigrant countries with these new data are India and China.”

By contrast, immigration from Mexico has continued to trail off, in large part due to the ongoing weakness in the construction, retail, and service sectors, Frey told Inskeep. The gulf separating Mexican immigrants from Asian immigrants, Frey says, is a gap in skills and education: “Not all Asians, but many of them come here for graduate school or college. Many of them come here to take jobs that are high skilled jobs and of course bring their relatives with them.”

Another recent article, this one in IndiaWest, provided more granular detail on the demographic trends Mr. Frey described to NPR, particularly as they concern the growing population of IndianAmericans. [See Indians Now Third Largest Immigrant Population in U.S., IndiaWest, 01.Sep.2013.] The IndiaWest article highlights some remarkable findings from a Migration Policy Institute study that analyzed the recent American Community Survey, and other key source material:

  • 1.86 million Indian immigrants now live in the United States, making it the third-largest immigrant group, behind Mexican and Chinese immigrants.
  • “Immigrants from India are better educated, more likely to have strong English language skills and arrive on employment-based visas, and are less likely to live below the federal poverty line than the overall foreign-born population.”
  • “In 2011, India was the second most common country of origin for international students at U.S. institutions of higher learning, behind China, the study said.”
  • “In 2012, more than 66,000 India-born immigrants were granted U.S. legal permanent residency status. There were 42,928 who were naturalized, representing about 6 percent of the 757,434 new U.S. citizens that year.”

These findings may surprise those who observe demographic trends from the sidelines, but they’re all in a day’s work for the immigration professionals at the Murthy Law Firm, who have helped thousands of the world’s best and brightest to come here to pursue their American dream and contribute to the American economy and our society. We are proud to be part of this immigrant success story!

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