Voices in Focus: A South Asian American Population Explosion

On Saturday, community leaders and activists spoke to a packed house at an event in Parkchester commemorating 41 years of Bangladeshi independence from Pakistan. (Photo by Rachel Sapin)

Demographic shifts for South Asian Americans were on our mind this morning, and all over the community and ethnic media:

* The Bangladeshi population in Bronx Community District 9 has more than doubled in the past 10 years, reported Rachel Sapin, who attended a celebration of Bangladeshi independence in Parkchester on Saturday — the first of kind for the neighborhood — and took the photo above at one of the neighborhood’s gatherings.

* News India Times offered a national perspective on South Asian population growth. With a presidential election coming up, a new analysis shows that Indian Americans have doubled their voting power in the last decade, the paper reported, while the South Asian community as a whole has increased by 78 percent:

According to the Asian American Federation and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), the Indian-American community grew by 69 percent from 1,678,765 in 2000 to 2,843,391 in 2010. The voting population saw a 100 percent surge, going from 576,784 to 1,154,308 in the same period, according to the data, which are derived from 2010 census numbers.

This surge in numbers makes Indian-Americans, the third largest Asian-American group in the country after Chinese-Americans (3.79 million) and Filipino-Americans (3.42 million), but with a much faster growth rate, according to the data.

Overall, the South Asian community grew 78 percent over the past decade from 1,893,723 to 3,374,478, the data show. Indians comprise the largest segment of the South Asian community, making up over 80 percent of the total population, followed by Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans, Nepalis and Bhutanese, according to the data.

* Meanwhile, Little India dug deeper into the 2010 Census data on Indian Americans, looking at income, occupation, education, disability, immigration status, family situation and a host of other demographic indicators, and comparing Indian American populations state to state. For example, Little India points out:

Virginia boasts the highest median Indian household income, New York the lowest. Per capita income is highest in Massachusetts and Georgia has the highest proportion of Indians without health insurance.

Little India also put together a series of illustrated charts that provide an entertaining overview of the data.

* In other news from the ethnic and community media, the campaign by various Brooklyn and Queens communities and neighborhoods to convince the Metropolitan Transit Authority to keep a five-stop extension of the G train line running now has an official home, El Diario reported. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, along with the Straphangers Campaign and several other politicians, has created the 5-Stop Fan Club Facebook page, which links to businesses who support the effort and offers guidance on how to advocate for the cause.

* Polish Americans have long argued that the terms “Polish concentration camps” or “Polish death camps” are misleading, in that those terms convey the mistaken impression that the killing during Nazi occupation of Poland was carried out by Poles, not German Nazis. But as Nowy Dziennik reported last week, despite some success in the campaign to get the media to stop using the terms, including a change to the Associated Press style on their usage, the phrase “Polish death camps” continues to pop up in the media — most recently on CNN.

In an article on the convicted Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk, CNN used the term “Polish death camp.” After a complaint by the Polish embassy, the phrase was changed to “Nazi-run Sobibor death camp in German-occupied Poland.”

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