Indian-Americans: A small community with big contributions in US – Times of India


The Indian-American community, which has grown to five million in 2023, has shattered numerous barriers to become one of the most influential immigrant groups in the US, according to a report released on Thursday. The report highlights that their story is one of motivated immigrants and their children pursuing the American dream.
Despite comprising only 1.5 per cent of the US population, Indian Americans continue to have a disproportionately positive impact on various aspects of US society, as said by Indiaspora founder MR Rangaswami.He further emphasized that “The Indian American-driven innovation flows to the country’s bottom line and is laying the groundwork for the next phase of economic growth.”
Small community, big contributions
The report, titled “Indiaspora Impact Report: Small Community, Big Contributions,” is the first in a series conducted by Boston Consulting Group, focusing on the impact of the Indian diaspora in the United States, with a particular emphasis on public service, business, culture, and innovation.
The report highlights the impressive economic impact of the Indian diaspora in the US, ranging from founding major companies to significantly contributing to the tax base. This financial influence demonstrates the determination of individuals who overcame challenges to make meaningful contributions to their new home.
Indian-origin leaders drive massive economic impact in US
Indian-origin CEOs lead 16 Fortune 500 companies, collectively employing 2.7 million Americans and generating nearly one trillion in revenue. Beyond big business, Indian-Americans have a significant presence in the startup world, co-founding 72 out of 648 US unicorns, employing over 55,000 people, and valued at USD 195 billion. The entrepreneurial spirit extends to small businesses, with Indian Americans owning about 60 per cent of all US hotels. Their contributions to the US tax base are also notable, estimated at 5-6 per cent of all income taxes (USD 250 billion to USD 300 billion), despite making up only 1.5 per cent of the population. Additionally, their professions indirectly create 11-12 million American jobs.
Research, innovation, and academia in the US have thrived thanks to the contributions of the Indian diaspora. Between 1975 and 2019, the share of US patents held by Indian-origin innovators jumped from around two per cent to 10 per cent.
Indian scientists shine in US research and academia
In 2023, scientists of Indian-origin secured about 11 per cent of all National Institutes of Health grants and contributed to 13 per cent of scientific publications. Trailblazers like Navin Varadarajan in immunotherapy and Subra Suresh, former director of the National Science Foundation, have revolutionized healthcare globally. Around 22,000 faculty members of Indian-origin are teaching at US colleges and universities, making up about 2.6 per cent of all full-time faculty, with standout leaders like Dr Neeli Bendapudi, Penn State’s first female president, and Arun Majumdar, the first Dean of Stanford’s Doerr School of Sustainability.
Indian-American influence: Cuisine, wellness, and beyond
Indian-Americans have significantly shaped the cultural landscape of the United States across various domains such as cuisine, wellness, festivals, film, and fashion. Michelin-starred chefs Vikas Khanna and Maneet Chauhan have brought Indian flavours to mainstream American dining, while Roni Mazumdar’s successful restaurants showcase authentic and innovative Indian dishes. Wellness practices with Indian roots, like those promoted by Deepak Chopra, have become significant trends in American culture, with yoga and Ayurveda becoming staples in American wellness practices.
Indian festivals like Diwali and Holi are now widely celebrated in the US, featuring vibrant parades, music, dance, and food. Bollywood’s influence continues to grow with stars like Priyanka Chopra Jonas making successful transitions to Hollywood, and young talents like Avantika Vandanapu gaining fame. In fashion, traditional elements such as henna, bindi, and lehenga are becoming mainstream, with designers Falguni and Shane Peacock showcasing their glamorous designs at New York Fashion Week. In literature, authors like Jhumpa Lahiri and Abraham Verghese have had a profound impact with their explorations of the Indian-American experience.
The Indian diaspora’s philanthropic efforts demonstrate a strong commitment to giving back and making a difference in both the US and India. Organisations like the American India Foundation (AIF) have raised over USD 125 million, impacting millions of lives, while the Desai Foundation has touched over 1.5 million lives through its health and livelihood programs. Indian Americans are also making waves in the democratic arena, holding over 60 notable positions in the federal administration in 2013 and growing to more than 150 by 2023, including Vice President Kamala Harris, making history as the first woman to hold that office.

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