Nepalese Americans

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Nepali Americans
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Nepali Americans are Americans whose ethnic origins lie fully or partially in any part of Nepal. Their migration to the United States began in the 20th century, and they have been able to establish themselves as Americans. The history of immigration to America from Nepal is short in comparison to other South Asian ethnic groups.

The words "Nepali" and "Nepalis" are more commonly used by Nepali Americans and are gaining widespread popularity in English usage as opposed to Nepalese, which is an Anglicized version. Major ethnic groups of Nepali Americans consists of Khas, Paharis, Lhotshampa (Nepalis from Bhutan), Newar, Magars, Madhesis, Gurung, Tamang, Rai, Limbu and Tharus.


Nepalese Americans began migrating to the United States from early 20th century. The first Nepalese immigrants to enter the United States were classified as "other Asian". Immigration records show that between 1881 and 1890 1,910 "other Asians" were admitted to the United States. However, Nepal did not open its borders until 1950, and most Nepalis who left the country during that time primarily went to India to study. Nepalese Americans were first classified as a separate ethnic group in 1974, when 56 Nepalese people had immigrated to the United States. The number of immigrants from Nepal remained below 100 per year until 1992.

According to the 1990 U.S. Census, there were 2,616 Americans with Nepalese ancestry. Fewer than 100 Nepalese immigrants became U.S. citizens each year, but the number of Nepalese who become legal residents had grown steadily from 78 in 1987 to 431 in 1996. The Nepalese community experienced a significant growth in population during the 2000s. The poor political and economic conditions caused by the Nepalese Civil War marked increased emigration from Nepal. Now, significant communities of Nepali-Americans exist in large metropolitan areas such as Texas, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Gainesville, Florida, Portland, Oregon, and Saint Paul, Minnesota. Sizable numbers also live in various cities of California, such as Artesia (1.2% Nepalese American) and Sonoma (0.6%). Gradually, this community has been integrating into the mainstream politics. The first Nepalese American Harry Bhandari won the State Delegate race in Maryland in 2018 defeating an incumbent and has become the first minority to win any election in the history of the majority white district.

Communities in the United States

As of 2010, the largest communities of Nepalese were in the following cities:

Ethnic Nepali Bhutanese American

Bhutanese refugees are the group of people of Nepali origin who were expelled from Bhutan and temporarily settled in various refugee camps in eastern parts of Nepal. Since 2008, many Bhutanese refugees have been resettled in different parts of the world and U.S. There are 96,581 Bhutanese refugees in U.S alone.

Cultural celebrations

From the mid-1980s, the Nepalese community in the United States began to develop a series of social, cultural and charitable networks, which include the celebration of certain religious and cultural moments as Sakela, Losar, Dasain, Tihar, Chhath and the Nepali New Year. They also participated in local cultural events such as Pacific Rogers and Park Fest interfaith community festivals.

Community and economic issues


According to data collected by the Pew Research Center, Nepali American median household income in 2019 was $55,000 a year, significantly less than the $85,800 median of all Asians and the $68,000 of all Americans. Further demonstrating the economic deprivation of Nepali Americans, 17 percent of them are at poverty or lower, significantly higher than the 10 percent of Asians at poverty or lower and the 11 percent of all Americans at poverty or lower.

Notable people

See also

Further reading

  • Miller, Olivia. "Nepalese Americans." Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America, edited by Thomas Riggs, (3rd ed., vol. 3, Gale, 2014), pp. 277-288. Online
  • Mishra, P. B. “Nepalese Migrants in the United States of America: Perspectives on Their Exodus, Assimilation Pattern and Commitment to Nepal.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37#9 (2011): 1527–37.

External links