Top One Percent: Are Hindus the New Jews in America?
Hindu Americans have surpassed Jewish Americans in education and rival them in household incomes. How did immigrants from India, one of the world's poorest countries, join the ranks of the richest people in the United States? How did such a small minority of just 1% become so disproportionately represented in the highest income occupations ranging from top corporate executives and technology entrepreneurs to doctors, lawyers and investment bankers? Indian-American Professor Devesh Kapur, co-author of The Other One Percent: Indians in America, explains it in terms of educational achievement. He says that an Indian-American is at least 9 times more educated than an individual in India. He attributes it to what he calls a process of "triple selection".
Hindu American Household Income:
A 2016 Pew study reported that more than a third of Hindus (36%) and four-in-ten Jews (44%) live in households with incomes of at least $100,000. More recently, the US Census data shows that the median household income of Indian-Americans, vast majority of whom are Hindus, has reached $127,000, the highest among all ethnic groups in America.
Median income of Pakistani-American households is $87.51K, below $97.3K for Asian-Americans but significantly higher than $65.71K for overall population. Median income for Indian-American households $126.7K, the highest in the nation.
Hindu Americans Education:
Indian-Americans, vast majority of whom are Hindu, have the highest educational achievement among the religions in America. More than three-quarters (76%) of them have at least a bachelors's degree. This high achieving population of Indian-American includes very few of India’s most marginalized groups such as Adivasis, Dalits, and Muslims.
By comparison, sixty percent of Pakistani-Americans have at least a bachelor's degree, the second highest percentage among Asian-Americans. The average for Asian-Americans with at least a bachelor's degree is 56%.
American Hindus are the most highly educated with 96% of them having college degrees, according to Pew Research. 75% of Jews and 54% of American Muslims have college degrees versus the US national average of 39% for all Americans. American Christians trail all other groups with just 36% of them having college degrees. 96% of Hindus and 80% of Muslims in the U.S. are either immigrants or the children of immigrants.
|US Educational Attainment By Religion Source: Pew Research|
Jews are the second-best educated in America with 59% of them having college degrees. Then come Buddhists (47%), Muslims (39%) and Christians (25%).
Devesh Kapur, a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and co-author of The Other One Percent: Indians in America (Oxford University Press, 2017), explains the phenomenon of high-achieving Indian-Americans as follows: “What we learned in researching this book is that Indians in America did not resemble any other population anywhere; not the Indian population in India, nor the native population in the United States, nor any other immigrant group from any other nation.”
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