The rise of the Indian immigrant elite in the United States

Kamala Harris’ vice president candidacy shines a spotlight on the Indian immigrant population, which grew from virtually nothing in 1980 to 2.4 million as of 2015. 45% are naturalized citizens. Harris’ mother, who started graduate school at Berkeley when she was 19, in about 1957, was a very early Indian educated immigrant. (Atul Gawande’s physician parents immigrated in the early 19609s.)

In 2015, 77% of Indian adult immigrants had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 29% of all immigrants and 31% of native-born adults. Among college-educated Indian immigrants, more than half had an advanced degree.

Indian immigrants have a much higher economic status than other immigrants and the average native-born person. Households headed by Indian immigrants had a median income of $107,000, compared to $51,000 and $56,000 for overall immigrant and native-born households, respectively.

As for type of employment, 73% were employed in management, business, science and arts, compared with 31% of all immigrants and 38% of native-born workers.

The Silicon Valley Elite. Indian entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley not only build ventures in the United States, but they are also wired into a huge global network of entrepreneurs. 

Indian venture capitalists from around the world were behind the founding of The Indus Entrepreneurs in 1992 It worldwide board is composed of Indians. Some 10,000 members are scattered through 62 countries. It describes itself as follows: TiE connects the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem from early stage entrepreneurs, serial entrepreneurs, professionals at leading corporations, venture capital, angel investors, thought leaders among others.

Some of the Indians who have co-led high tech ventures in the United States are graduates one of the six Indian Institutes of Technology, created in the 1940s. These graduates often invest in ventures founded by other graduates of these universities.

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