Indian immigration is something that has been an issue in Britain for many years but it has rarely been the subject of any news reports in the United States, at least as far as I know. It was therefore quite a surprise when one of my readers sent me a series of maps, one of which documents the countries of origin of the largest minority in each state of the Union, excluding Mexico. In twenty-one states the country of origin of the largest minority is India. These include states you would possibly not consider, such as the State of Washington, Texas and the Carolinas. Much of the Mid-West is included as is Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Colorado and Kansas are also included.
I have to wonder why these facts are rarely, if ever, newsworthy. Could it be that the Indian-origin population have made a greater effort at integration than other groups, and so have avoided negative publicity? There may be a lesson there.
These numbers for the U.S. made me go back and look at the Indian-origin population in Britain. Admittedly, most of the commentary about immigration from the Indian sub-continent revolves around Pakistan rather than India, but Indian immigration is still an issue that is active in the minds of the general public.
People of Indian origin currently make up about 2.3% of the overall population of the U.K., according to the 2010 census; that amounts to 1,451,862 people. It was also interesting to look at the census figures from the point of view of population growth. In 1931 the Indian-origin population was 10,186; in 1961 it was 81,000; in 1981 it had risen to 676,000 and the census for 2010 was 1,451,862, as I said. That is a very significant growth pattern but, judging by the map of the United States I received, those growth figures in the U.S. must be even more impressive, if unreported.
In Britain, there tend to be favorite areas for Indian population growth, probably driven by newer families wanting to be close to others of the same origin. Thus, in Wembley, a suburb of London, the Indian population is four times that of the white population. In London itself, the Indian-origin population is 6.6% of the total, far higher than the country average of 2.3%. In Harrow, again close to London the percentage is even higher, 26.4%. Other areas of the country range from almost zero percent, to Leicester, which reports 18.7%.
These numbers, and particularly those from the U.S., are a direct commentary on the report in my blog last week about France’s reaction to the U.S. influence on how French culture handles cultural differences. The question was, which is more successful for a country’s evolution, color-blindness (in its most general sense), or an emphasis on differences.
Again, as I said at the end of last week’s blog, my bias is for the color-blindness/integration approach rather than the confrontational one. Perhaps the example of the Indian-origin populations in the U.K. and the U.S. can spread some practical light on this dichotomy. Have they managed to grow under the radar because, for whatever reason, they decided to integrate rather than confront. It bears further investigation, particularly when the American model seems to be on an export drive. Further thoughts on this topic from my readers would be appreciated.