Immigrants to USA from India and Pakistan: National and Transnational Practices and Impacts

Mehtab Karim, Aga Khan University
Peggy Levitt, Wellesley College

In the United States during the past two decades, the overall population of people from South Asian countries (predominantly from India and Pakistan) experienced a five-fold increase (from .361 to 1.785 million). This paper examines how these new South Asian immigrants are incorporated into the United States at the same time that they remain active in their homelands. We use data from a one percent sample from the 2000 US Census. We also conducted a qualitative study of the ties between immigrant families living in Boston, Massachusetts and their non-migrant relatives in India and Pakistan. Our work moves with discussions of the relationship between assimilation and transnational ties. In fact, many of the people in our study are highly educated professionals who have successfully inserted themselves into the US economy but at the same time maintain strong homeland ties. It illuminates the experiences of groups that can choose to live their lives across borders.

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Presented in Session 86: Migration and Social Networks