Indian-Americans increase political clout in US

Washington: Having doubled its population in the last decade, Indian-Americans have emerged as a powerful political group in the US that the Republican and the Democratic parties cannot ignore in a presidential election year.

According to 2010 census, more than 11.54 lakh Indian- Americans are eligible to vote as against 5.76 lakhs in 2000, said a report released by two American NGOs – South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) and Asian American Federation (AAF).

Between 2000 and 2010, the South Asian American population became the fastest growing major ethnic group in the US and has emerged in new areas of the country, the report said, adding that overall the South Asians of voting age increased between 100 per cent to 414 per cent, the report said as President Barack Obama makes his reelection bid in November against the Republicans.

Indians comprise the largest segment of the South Asian community, making up over 80 per cent of the total population, followed by Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans, Nepalis, and Bhutanese.

It is estimated that at least 66,000 Indo-Caribbeans live in the US. The population of Indian-American (single ethnicity) have increased by 69 per cent from 16.78 lakhs in 2000 to 28.43 lakhs in 2010. During the same period, the population of Indian- Americans (single and multiple ethnicities) increased from 18.99 lakhs to 31.83 lakhs.

According to the report, the population of eligible Pakistani-American voters increased from 52,755 to 1.61 lakhs (an increase of 205 per cent). "With the 2012 elections underway, there has been an increase in the number of South Asians of voting age in the United States since 2000," according to the report by SAALT and AAF, which said it was based on the figures of 2010 population.