Opinion

Immigrants Are Us

A United Nations Report on international migration reported that Indians are the largest migrant group in the world.

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A United Nations Report on international migration reported that Indians are the largest migrant group in the world. The report estimated the worldwide Indian immigrant population at more than 14 million. But that counts only India-born Indians living abroad. An even larger group of people of Indian origin (PIOs) were born overseas.

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs estimates the foreign born Indian population as being larger than the Non Resident Indian (NRI) one, but even it grossly undercounts both groups.

The official Indian estimate is approximately 10 million NRIs and 12 million PIOs for a total population of almost 22 million. The more accurate figure is likely 14 million NRIs (which the UN estimates) and 16 million PIOs. For instance, the ministry estimates the Indian American population at 2.25 million, far short of the almost 3.5 million U.S. Census Bureau estimate in 2013.

There are almost 231 million migrants worldwide. By any measure Indians are the by far largest migrant group. Fittingly perhaps, the United States is the largest host country globally. In fact almost 1 in 5 immigrant — almost 46 million — lives in the United States. And the pace of migration is accelerating — expanding by almost one-third since 2000 alone. Migration from India accelerated even faster, from 8 million to 14 million — a growth of 75 percent since 2000.

Indians are the most financially successful ethnic group in the United States with a household income that is almost 1.5 times that of Whites. Increasingly, Indian immigration is transforming from laborers to professionals in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Europes.

The overseas Indian community has the potential to be a powerful force in global economics. Are we we up to the task?

Overseas Indian Population

USA2245239
Malaysia2050000
Saudi Arabia1789000
UAE1750000
Sri Lanka1601600
UK1500000
South Africa1218000
Canada1000000
Mauritius882220
Oman718642
Singapore670000
Nepal600000
Kuwait579390
Trinidad551500
Qatar500000
Australia448430
Myanmar356560
Bahrain350000
Guyana320200
Fiji313798
Reunion275200
Netherlands215000
Thailand150000
Suriname140300
Yemen111000
New Zealand110000
Italy99127
Portugal80000
Israel78000
Kenya75000
Germany70500
France65000
Tanzania54700
Jamaica53500
Philippines50000
Hong Kong37250
Indonesia36050
Bhutan33010

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