Today, over 4.3 million South Asian origin people are living in the Unites States – a 70% increase from the 2000 US census. The trend is not so different in Canada. With a total of over 6.3 million people from South Asian descent living in North America, and counting, the South Asian community is one of the fastest growing demographics in recent history.
6.3 million people! That is almost the population of Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia, three of the 10 biggest cities in the US, combined! How did this number come to be?
The South Asian immigration to North America has been dated to as far back as the 1800s. Some of the first settlers to come to North America were from Bengal and Punjab, India. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, prohibited discrimination against nationality of origin, allowing new doors to be opened to the land of opportunities for the South Asian community. From then, till now, the South Asian community has grown in leaps and bounds, rising and succeeding in fields of medicine, technology, fashion, entertainment and
This significantly impactful group, in terms of size and influence, is also highly diverse. The South Asian Community in North America includes – past generations of South Asians who originally settled in many areas around the world, including the Caribbean (Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago), Africa (Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda), Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and other parts of Asia and the Pacific Islands (Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore). With multiple religions and languages forming distinct cultures, each South Asian community has its own set of influencers, events and media that they consume.