Tamil Americans

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Tamil Americans
Total population
238,699
Regions with significant populations
Languages
Predominantly:
Religion
Predominantly: Minority:
Related ethnic groups

Tamil Americans (தமிழ் அமெரிக்கர்கள்) are Americans who are of Tamil origin. The majority of Tamil Americans come from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and as well as other Indian states. The Tamil diaspora is prevalent in other countries such as Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore.

Demographics

In the second half of the 20th century, Tamils from India migrated as skilled professionals to the United States, Canada, Europe, and Southeast Asia. The Tamil American population >195,685 individuals, and the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America functions as an umbrella organization for the growing community.

Central New Jersey is home to the largest population concentration of Tamil-Americans. Sizeable populations of Indian American Tamils have also settled in New York City, and New Jersey and New York house separate Tamil Sangams. The Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and the Research Triangle area on the East Coast as well as Silicon Valley on the West Coast also have Tamil associations.

The New York City and Los Angeles metropolitan areas are home to the largest concentrations of Tamil-speaking Sri Lankan Americans. New York City's Staten Island alone is estimated to be home to more than 5,000 Sri Lankan Americans, one of the largest Sri Lankan populations outside Sri Lanka itself, and a significant proportion of whom speak Tamil.

The New York City Metropolitan Area, including Central New Jersey, as well as Long Island and Staten Island in New York, is home to the largest Tamil American (தமிழ் அமெரிக்கர்கள்) population.

Language

The Indian Tamil community in the United States is largely bilingual. Tamil is taught in weekly classes in many Hindu temples and by associations such as the American Tamil Academy in South Brunswick, Tamil Jersey School in Jersey City, New Jersey, and the Intl. Tamil Academy.

The language's written form is highly formal and quite distinct from the spoken form. A few universities, such as the University of Chicago and the University of California Berkeley, have graduate programs in the language.

Religion

The Indian Tamil community is largely connected to the Hindu community, along with other groups from South India. In most Hindu temples in the United States, the prayers are in Sanskrit. However, in North Brunswick, New Jersey, the "Tamil Temple" ("Tamil Annai Thirukkoyil") conducts all the prayers in the Tamil language. The Hindu Temple in Houston, Texas, is dedicated to Meenakshi, a manifestation of the goddess Parvati. There is also an active Tamil Muslim and Christian minority. Tamil Muslim holding Tamil Muslim Community Sangam-Iman America/QMFUSA

Notable people

  • Kamala Harris – Vice President of the United States
  • Sundar Pichai - Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Google
  • Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar – astrophysicist and Nobel laureate
  • Venkatraman Ramakrishnan – structural biologist and Nobel laureate
  • Raja Krishnamoorthi – U.S. Representative from Illinois
  • Nimi McConigley – former U.S. Representative from Wyoming
  • Ram Shriram – billionaire venture capitalist
  • Vasant Narasimhan - Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Novartis
  • Kancheepuram Gunalan – American Society of Civil Engineers (President)
  • Indra Nooyi – Chairwoman and former CEO of PepsiCo Incorporated
  • Subra Suresh - former President of Carnegie Mellon University
  • Arogyaswami Paulraj – wireless researcher, winner of Marconi Prize
  • Vijay Amritraj – Indian-American tennis player and commentator
  • Ashok Amritraj – Indian-American film producer
  • Sendhil Ramamurthy - Film and television actor
  • Aziz Ansari – Actor and stand-up comedian
  • Shiva Ayyadurai- MIT scientist
  • Sunkrish Bala – Actor
  • Krishna Bharat – Computer scientist; founder of Google News
  • Jay Chandrasekhar – Actor and director
  • Ananda Coomaraswamy – Philosopher
  • Maya Harris – Lawyer, public policy advocate, and television commentator
  • Padma Lakshmi - Author, actress, model, television host
  • Vijay Iyer – Pianist
  • Clarence Jey – Record producer and songwriter
  • Poorna Jagannathan – Actress and producer
  • Pramila Jayapal – U.S. Representative from Washington
  • Sid Sriram – singer and producer
  • Mindy Kaling – Actress
  • Sukanya Krishnan – News anchor
  • G. V. Loganathan – Professor and a victim of the Virginia Tech massacre
  • C. Mohan – Computer scientist
  • Mary Anne Mohanraj – Writer
  • Sendhil Mullainathan – Economist, Harvard professor
  • Sethuraman Panchanathan – Executive Vice President, Knowledge Enterprise Development and Chief Research Innovation Officer at Arizona State University
  • C.K. Prahalad – Late world-renowned management guru
  • Raghuram Rajan – economist, winner of Fischer Black Prize
  • Rajan Somasundaram – Music Composer, Songwriter and multi instrumentalist
  • Raj Rajaratnam – founder of Galleon Group
  • V. S. Ramachandran – physician, neuroscientist, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego
  • Sendhil Ramamurthy – actor
  • Maya Shankar – scientist
  • SJ Sindu - writer
  • Siva Sivananthan- academic, scientist, businessman and Director of the Microphysics Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago
  • M. Night Shyamalan – film director
  • John Prabhudoss - current Chairman of the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA)
  • Hari Sreenivasan – broadcast journalist
  • Sri Srinivasan – United States circuit judge
  • Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah – social anthropologist
  • Chandrika Tandon – businesswoman and artist
  • Savita Vaidhyanathan – politician, former mayor of Cupertino
  • Sudhir Venkatesh – sociologist and urban ethnographer
  • S. R. Srinivasa Varadhan – mathematician
  • Visvanathan Rudrakumaran - Prime Minister of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam
  • Prashanth Venkataramanujam - actor, television writer, and producer; head writer and producer of Patriot Act
  • Further reading