Indians in NYC: A Profile
BY Annie Wang
During this time, the Indian population moved away from Queens (-4.0 percentage points) and shifted into Manhattan (+1.4 percentage points), Brooklyn (+1.3 percentage points), and the Bronx (+1.0 percentage points). Even with this shift, no other Asian ethnic group has as high a proportion of its population living in Queens (58.5%) or as low a proportion living in Manhattan (15.3%).
Compared to other Asian ethnic groups, the Indian population in NYC has the highest proportion of children under 18 (20.7%). However, the share of seniors in the Indian population is growing: in 2020, they were 3.7 percentage points more of the total Indian population than in 2015. The Indian population is aging faster than the broader NYC (+2.2 percentage points) and Asian (+2.6 percentage points) populations.
Immigration, Citizenship, & Mobility
Of the total Indian population in NYC, 34.1% are US-born, 41.6% are naturalized citizens, and 24.3% are non-citizens. The proportion of Indians with U.S. citizenship by birthright has gone up (+3.2 percentage points) while the proportion of non-citizens has gone down (-4.3 percentage points) since 2015. In contrast, most people in NYC became citizens by birthright (63.3%) and naturalization (20.9%). Some 15.8% of New Yorkers are non-citizens.
Only one-third (36.7%) of New Yorkers, in general, are foreign-born, while almost two-thirds (65.9%) of Indian residents are.
11.6% of foreign-born Indians arrived in the City within five years of the survey, slightly higher than the City’s 9.5% estimate. However, only 1.9% of the Indian population had relocated to NYC from abroad within one year of the survey. In comparison, most Indians (88.8%) had not moved from their previous residence in the City.
Education & English
Education levels for Indians aged 25 and older in NYC skew towards higher education, with one-fifth (18.8%) holding less than a high school education and nearly half (47.4%) holding a bachelor’s degree or higher. This is more educated than the City, where only 39.0% hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Indian adults are also more educated than the Asian adult population, especially in education beyond a bachelor’s degree.
The Indian community’s English proficiency levels are similar to those of NYC, with 23.8% of Indians over the age of 5 considered to have limited English proficiency (LEP) compared to the City’s rate of 22.4%. The Indian population has the highest proportion of English-only speakers (40.2%) among Asian ethnic groups.
The LEP rate is significantly lower for Indian children (5+ but under 18) at 7.0% but higher for Indian seniors (age 65+) at 40.9%.
Income & Poverty
Indian New Yorkers have an average per capita and significantly higher family and household median than New York City and Asian residents overall. Indian household median income is more than one-third higher than the New York City median.
Indian poverty rates are below-average compared to both NYC and Asian populations. The same holds even when looking across age groups.
Benefits & Health
Indian households3 are enrolled in SNAP at a lower rate than both New York City households and Asian households.
The Affordable Care Act has significantly reduced the number of uninsured in NYC, and the Indian population is no exception. Between 2015 and 2020, 45.8% fewer Indian people were uninsured. As a result, only 6.7% of the Indian population is uninsured. The remaining are enrolled in private insurance (61.0%) and public insurance (38.2%).
A slightly lower percentage of the Indian population is enrolled in government-assisted health insurance than the general NYC and Asian populations.
Female Indian labor force participation rates (56.8%), while not significantly different, are still the lowest among Asian ethnic groups. In contrast, male Indian labor participation rates (74.1%) are above the City average by 5.6 percentage points.
Indian unemployment rates are lower than City rates, but female Indian unemployment rates (5.8%) are the highest among Asian ethnic groups.
Indian employees are more likely to be self-employed than the City and Asian populations. This higher rate is driven by male Indian employees, while female Indian employees are self-employed at lower rates than overall and Asian employed populations.
Over half (59.3%) of the Indian labor force is employed by five industries. The highest percentage of Indians employed by a single industry is 15.3% in medicine. Just under half (46.8%) of Indian people employed in medicine work in general medical, surgical, and specialty hospitals, followed by 17.4% in home health care services.
Average household size, NYC, 2015 and 2020
Indian household3 sizes in 2020 were larger than City households (3.12 people versus 2.57 people) and the largest among Asian ethnic groups. In general, average household sizes have decreased in New York City since 2015, and Indian households are no exception.
Indian households3 are more likely to be overcrowded than City households, with 13.9% of Indian households experiencing overcrowding. This is the highest rate of overcrowding among Asian ethnic groups.
Indian households3 own their homes at a higher rate and rent at a lower rate than City and Asian households. While only one-third of City households (32.4%) are owned, almost half (43.7%) of Indian households are owned.
While a smaller percentage of Indian households3 rent, the ones that do tend to be severely rent burdened. 72.4% of rented Indian households are rent burdened in some capacity, with the majority qualifying as severely rent burdened. These rates are similar to City (72.3% of rented households qualify as rent burdened) and Asian households (75.3%).
Indian households3 report owning a computer at higher rates than Asian and City households.
Indian households3 also report higher internet access rates than Asian and City households.