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Indiaspora’s New Report Reveals Outsized Impact of Indians in the U.S. Across Economy and Culture

Indiaspora’s New Report Reveals Outsized Impact of Indians in the U.S. Across Economy and Culture

  • Titled, “Small Community, Big Contributions, Boundless Horizons,” it evaluates the impact of Indian immigrants and Americans of Indian heritage on American life.

Indian Americans are at the heart of the multifaceted relationship shared by the United States and India. They “significantly enhance these ties and contribute to the economic and cultural landscapes of the U.S.,” in many fields. “Their staunch commitment to shared values of democracy, economic collaboration, and cultural diversity has enabled Indian Americans to have a profound impact on both Nations.” And by embracing these shared values, they have not only succeeded within the U.S. but have also unlocked the potential of countless others around them.”

These are some of the findings of a new report released by the San Francisco-based non-profit Indiaspora. Conducted by Boston Consulting Group, the “Indiaspora Impact Report: Small Community, Big Contributions, Boundless Horizons” the report evaluates the impact of Indian immigrants and Americans of Indian heritage on American life. It is the first volume in a series to assess the impact of the Indian diaspora, with a special focus on public service, business, culture, and innovation in the United States. In addition to a wealth of eye-opening statistics, the project will also profile inspiring individuals who epitomize the contribution of the diaspora across the full range of economic and cultural areas.

The number of Indians living in the U.S. has grown to 5 million in 2023, which represents a 50% increase since 2010, making them the second largest migrant group in the United States. With a community that is 5.1 million strong, making up 1.5% of the U.S. population, Indian Americans are woven into the fabric of everyday life, contributing richly to its economy, culture, and society. The Indian American diaspora includes 2.8 million first-generation immigrants (including students) and 2.3 million who claim Indian ancestry. Around 70% of Indian Americans are citizens and 60% are between 18-64 years of age.

“Indian Americans account for only 1.5% of the U.S. population, yet they continue to have an outsized and positive impact across different aspects of society,” said Indiaspora founder M.R. Rangaswami. “Indian American-driven innovation flows to the country’s bottom line and is laying the groundwork for the next phase of economic growth.”

The story of Indian Americans is “about motivated immigrants and their children seeking the American dream,” the report says. “It is the story of leaders and innovators, groundbreakers, and trailblazers- people on the frontlines of healthcare, education, philanthropy, science, and culture who have added many a colorful thread to the vibrant tapestry of American society.”

However, this community is not without its share of challenges. Around 6% of Indian Americans are below the poverty line as of 2020, and an estimated 14% were undocumented in 2021.

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“Though spelling bee champions and CEOs may grab the limelight, as more Indians call America ‘home,’ their impact is reaching across US culture in ever more significant ways,” said Sesh Iyer, North America Regional Chair, BCG X. “From Indian traditions like Holi and Diwali to the expanding popularity of Indian restaurants, yoga and cricket in US culture, India continues to add new spice to America’s 250 years of cultural confluence.”

The report mentions some of the “far-reaching” impact that Indian Americans have on the lives of Americans including the U.S. economy, philanthropy, science and innovation, and education. They include:

  1. Sixteen (approximately 3%) of Fortune 500 companies are led today by CEOs of Indian origin, which make up approximately 5% ($ 978 billion) of total revenue.
  2. Indian companies have invested more than $40 billion in the U.S. since 2008, contributing to job creation and R&D efforts.
  3. Indian Americans pay 6% of all U.S. taxes.
  4. When it comes to philanthropy, Indian Americans have “a strong sense of giving back.” Donations made by the community to U.S. universities “totals  more than $3 billion, including 67 donations exceeding $1 million each to more than 40 universities.”
  5. Members of the diaspora represent more than 10% of NIH grants and U.S. patents and hold significant positions in academia.
  6. The diaspora is a highly educated group with 77% holding a college degree compared to only 36% of Americans overall.
  7. There are 23,000 full-time Indian professors at colleges and universities around the country, who have mentored countless students to reach their educational goals.
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