This US Ethnic Group Makes the Most Money

Posted May 8th, 2015 at 3:52 pm (UTC-4)

FILE - Ying Fang Kaplan from Taiwan, center, Anju Vajja from India, right, and Alfred Tecson from the Philippines, left, wave the American flag after being sworn-in as new citizens of the United States at the State Department in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo)

FILE – Ying Fang Kaplan from Taiwan, center, Anju Vajja from India, right, and Alfred Tecson from the Philippines, left, wave the American flag after being sworn-in as new citizens of the United States at the State Department in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo)


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Indian Americans are the richest ethnic group in the United States, earning a median income of $100,547 in 2013, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Compare that to $51,939, which was the median income for all Americans during the same period.

Many Indian Americans are recent arrivals to the United States. In 2010, more than 87 percent of Indian-American adults were foreign born, which might help explain their  current success.

“Immigrants are more likely than the native born to hold a BA [bachelor’s degree] and they’re much more likely than the native born to hold a higher degree like a master’s degree,” said Leah Platt Boustan, an associate professor of economics at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has studied immigration patterns.

Americans of Indian descent do follow that pattern. They are among the most highly educated ethnic groups in the U.S. In 2010, 70 percent of those aged 25 and older had college degrees. Almost one-third (28 percent) of Indian Americans work in science and engineering fields, according to the 2013 American Community Survey and the Pew Research Center.


Chinese (except Taiwanese) – 4.3 million
Filipino – 3.6 million
Asian Indians – 3.5 million
Vietnamese – 1.9 million
Koreans – 1.8 million
Japanese – 1.4 million

Overall, Asian Americans lead the way when it comes to earning money. There are 19.4 million Americans of Asian descent and their combined median income for 2013 was $72,472.

However, household earnings varied by Asian group. When it comes to Bangladeshi Americans, for example, the median income was $51,331. The poverty rate for Asian Americans was 12.7 percent in 2013, compared to 14.5 percent for Americans overall.

The U.S. Census Bureau released the above figures to coincide with Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.

The commemoration was first established by Congress in 1978, and originally covered the first 10 days in May, which coincided with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843, and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, which was completed May 10, 1869.

In 1992, Congress extended the observance to cover the entire month of May.

17 responses to “This US Ethnic Group Makes the Most Money”

  1. lone eagle says:

    While this no doubt is true “Indian Americans are the richest ethnic group in the United States” they did not do it on their own because without the contribution of ethnic groups who preceded them to the US there would be no United States as it currently exists which would have enabled them to achieve a high median income.

    As Acemoglu and Robinson have pointed out in their “Why Nations Fail, The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty” the huge differences in incomes and standard of living that separate countries is because in the United States political rights are more broadly distributed, the government is more accountable and responsive to its citizens thus allowing people to take advantage of economic opportunities.

    If not for 2400 American soldiers in Trenton, New Jersey on December 26, 1776 there would have been no United States or American soldiers so determined to achieve independence for their country that they continued to fight even when they were “so destitute of shoes that the blood left on the frozen ground, in many places, marked the route they had taken.” “1776” page 269, McCullough.

  2. ali baba says:

    well, they have the right to earn. I did report Indian doctor to dept. of human service because he ask me to do unnecessary procedure and charge Medicare thousand of dollar

  3. Chad James says:

    Well, this makes sense. Dr. Deepak Chopra did say that based on the research he found or maybe he did, Indians are the smartest people on the planet because of how their brains are naturally wired.

    I don’t fully believe this 100% but it does makes a lot of sense based on this article.

    • lone eagle says:

      Malcom Gladwell’s in his “Outliers, The Story of Success” does an effective job of shooting down the relationship between IQ and wealth, stating there is no relationship and then cites examples.

      Gladwell cites University of Michigan’s law school graduates and compares minority and nonminority graduates and found no discrepancy between the two groups in terms of success after they had graduated even though the minority students had lower undergraduate grades and lower standardized tests.

      If IQ and success are correlated then how do you explain the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and the subsequent financial crisis of 2008?

      In 1998 a hedge fund, Long-Term Capital Management had on its board of directors two economists who shared the 1997 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. LTCM collapsed requiring financial intervention by the Federal Reserve, with the fund liquidating and dissolving in early 2000.

      World Factbook 2015: GDP: India $1.8 trillion, US $16.7 trillion. GDP/capita India $4,000, US $52,800 “Indians are the smartest people on the planet” ????

      • P Kumar says:

        Dear sir, For your kind information just google India’s contribution to world GDP till 1700 AD before British took over the administration and brought India down. Even now with just 67 years of Independence we have occupied 3rd largest economies place(PPP term). Your own McKinsey etall say India will be in top 3 even in $ terms in just 10 more year. So before yapping anything plz do thorough research.

        • Cayce marley says:

          You prevent a very skewed look. The 3rd largest economy but also the 3rd poorest nation. Poverty is just below the 30 percent mark. 1 in three children living under poverty lives in india. The number of highly educated people is a direct result of the British education system, not despite it. Any as u went back 300 years, the caste system is still prevalent in the countryside. Despite its poverty, India chooses to have nuclear weapons while denying the fact. It is also believed to be one of the nuclear cointries most likely to ise them.

          • Spence says:

            As has been commented India was wealthiest country of the world since the beginning of humans on Earth until about the mid 1700’s.

            “I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.” – Lord Macaulay

            Also i’m not sure what your point is on India’s nuclear weapons. They don’t deny having them and many western nations have them as well. You are probably one of those types of people who doesn’t understand why it is necessary to have a space program despite poverty. Also, are you saying we should thank the British for their railroads and education while raping and robbing us blind to fund the industrial revolution?

    • hernandayoleary says:

      If India is the smartest people on the planet why are they #1 in AIDS, #1 in poverty and have more starving people living on a dollar a day than any other continent or region in the planet? India is an extremely poor and dirty country that is severely overpopulated. What most likely occurs is the few smart Indians recognize that India is a hopeless hell hole and flee to America. Creating a skewed data. If just 1% of Indians are very smart that is 10 million people. It’d be like shaving off the top 1% of America’s elite and concluding all Americans areHarvard genius.

      • Jacob says:

        For the longest time the area now known as India was home to the wealthiest and most technologically advanced civilizations in the world. Three hundred years of being plundered by the British has a lot to do with why India has so many problems today. Considering India has only been a country for a little over 60 years it should be expected to have its issues. But in such a short time it has become the 6th largest economy (and growing rapidly) in the world and is relatively peaceful and extremely westernized. If you look at the countries surrounding India they are full of violence and terrorism. It took the U.S. hundreds of years to reach the point it is at today. Its not fair to compare the two so early in the nations existence.

      • Lord Shiva says:

        Please read the colonial history of India and you will realize that it was always the richest country in the world. Till it was occupied by a island nation of thieves, and systemically robbed for 300 years. You, in the US, did well to rid yourself of those same thieves in 1776, else you would not have much left here. However, consider the economic, health and safety status of the US in the year 1846 (around 70 years after independence, where India is right now). It wasn’t too great, despite the absence of a large population that India has. Another simplistic example – New Orleans was struck by Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago. It is still recovering from it and will take another 10 years, if not more, to possibly return to the original state (if ever). Now, imagine if it had been struck by Katrina every year for 10 years. It would take New Orleans more than 100 years to regain its composure. I know this is not the best example, but in simple terms, the easiest to explain what happened to India.

        • hernandayoleary says:

          LOL, INdia was never a rich country, it was always tremendously poor and over populated. Unlike China, there are not much worthy things beside tea and spices to come from India. India has been inhabited by the same people for 3000 years, you should all be driving flying cars. BY 1846, the USA was already the largest economy in the world and the most powerful nation it its hemisphere. And when you go to India, the nicest things were all things built by british, so stop blaming them, when they are the ones who lifted india out of the mud

  4. jjr says:

    Why so many news media have to use as criterion ethnicity among Americans every time they publish a success story?

    Did the news media forget that “America is a melting pot” and these people that for one reason or the other are successful are still Americans status quo and we should be all proud for their success ?

    I believe that a helpful and fair media policy in this instance should be that the news media cease the practice of using ethnicity as a criterion or stereotype for success or failure and instead promote American heritage standards than ethnic groups standards of any kind .

    After all, we are the population of the United States of America and not the United States of ethnic groups . Thank you.

    • Soki says:

      Indian American are Americans; they are part of our society. I guess maybe they were perceiving as Indian instead of American.

  5. Xaaji Dhagax says:

    Is there any survey done on African Americans, American Natives, Black African immigrants, Arab Americans, Latinos and Jewish Americans? .. Or these group’s contributions to American societies are insignificant?

    • Joe says:

      No-one is suggesting that anyone is insignificant, just that Americans of Indian origin (at least this generation,) is successful. However, the focus on this does prop up elementary thinking – that ethnicity somehow defines the individual. Culture might help here and there, but as an example, being Indian doesn’t make one a success.

      The habits of people who are successful might help, but their genes don’t.

  6. Joe says:

    Despite what the fans of eternal apology might tell you, the fact that some Indian-Americans (for example) are successful and some aren’t plainly proves that each person DOES do this on their own. If one is smart and ambitious, it worth watching what a successful person does and try to learn from it.

    Ethnicity isn’t actually relevant.

  7. Louisp says:

    This goes to show to other wannabe immigrants: have goal to learn English, assimilate into your new adopted country and keep doing this through future generations! Do not have goal of becoming a legal US resident then turn around and try to impose your own laws and traditions on your new adopted country also don’t be disgusted if you don’t succeed….IT’S YOUR OWN FAULT!