Nepalese Americans

Nepalese Americans
Total population
(140,319[1] as of 2015 (ancestry or ethnic origin)
120,886 (Nepali-born, 2015)[2])
Regions with significant populations
Related ethnic groups

Nepalese Americans or Nepali Americans are Americans whose ethnic origins lie fully or partially in any part of Nepal. Their migration to the United States began in the 20th century, and they have been able to establish themselves as Americans in this new land. The history of immigration to America from Nepal is short in comparison to other ethnic groups.

The words "Nepali" and "Nepalis" are more commonly used by Nepalese Americans and are gaining widespread popularity in English usage as opposed to Nepalese, which is an Anglicized version. Major ethnic groups of Nepalese Americans consists of Paharis, Madhesis and Tharus.


Nepalese Americans seem to have begun migrating to the United States from early 20th century. The first Nepalese to enter the United States were classified as "other Asian". Immigration records show that between 1881 and 1890 1,910 "other Asians" were admitted to the United States. However, Nepal did not open its borders until 1950, and most Nepalis who left the country during that time primarily went to India to study. Nepalese Americans were first classified as a separate ethnic group in 1974, when 56 Nepalese had immigrated to the United States. The number of immigrants from Nepal remained below 100 per year through 1992.[6]

According to the 1990 U.S. Census, there were 2,616 Americans with Nepalese ancestry. Fewer than 100 Nepalese immigrants become U.S. citizens each year, but the number of Nepalese who become legal residents has grown steadily from 78 in 1987 to 431 in 1996. The Nepalese community experienced a significant growth in population during the 2000s. The poor political and economic conditions caused by the Nepalese Civil War markedly increased emigration from Nepal. Significant communities of Nepalese Americans exist in large metropolitan areas such as New York City, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Gainesville, Florida, Portland, Oregon, and Saint Paul, Minnesota. Sizable numbers also live in various cities of California, such as Artesia (1.2% Nepalese American) and Sonoma (0.6%).[4][7][8]

Communities in the United States

As of 2010, the largest communities of Nepalese were in the following cities:[9]

Bhutanese American (group of people of Nepali origin)

Bhutanese refugees are the group of people of Nepali origin who were expelled from Bhutan and temporarily settled in various refugee camps in eastern parts of Nepal. Started since 2008 many of them are now being resettled in different parts of the world including U.S (75,000), Canada (5,673), Australia (4,734), Denmark (759), The Netherlands (326), New Zealand (856), Norway (550) and the United Kingdom (358). As of Aug 2015 83,053 Bhutanese refugees have been re-settled in USA and many more are under process.[10][11]

Ethnic Nepalese are also known as “Lhotshampa or Lhotsampa" (Nepali: ल्होत्साम्पा) in Bhutan, which mean “Southerner" in Dzongkha. Their ancestors migrated to Bhutan from Nepal in the 17th century. And in the 1990s, more than 100,000 of them – one-sixth of the country’s population – were trucked out of Bhutan as part of its “one-nation-one people” policy, effectively an exercise in ethnic cleansing.[12] They were considered "illegal immigrants" by the government of Bhutan because they did not share common culture of the majority Tibetan origin.[13]

Cultural celebrations

From the mid-1980s, the Nepalese community in the United States began to develop a series of social, cultural and charitable networks, which include the celebration of certain religious and cultural moments as Udhauli Ubhauli, Losar, Dasain, Tihar, Chhath and the Nepali New Year. They also participated in local cultural events such as Pacific Rogers and Park Fest interfaith community festivals.[14]

Notable Americans of Nepali descent

List of Nepalese Organizations in the USA (listed alphabetically by state)

Nepalese American Nurses Association

List of Bhutanese (of Nepali Origin) Organizations in the USA (listed alphabetically by state)

See also


  1. "ASIAN ALONE OR IN COMBINATION WITH ONE OR MORE OTHER RACES, AND WITH ONE OR MORE ASIAN CATEGORIES FOR SELECTED GROUPS". United States Census Bureau. United States Department of Commerce. 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  2. "Place of Birth for the Foreign-born Population in the United States, Universe: Foreign-born population excluding population born at sea, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. 2015. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  3. 1 2 "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2010 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2011-07-03.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "PCT1: Total Population". 2010 Census. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  5. Dhungel, Ramesh K. (1999). "Nepalese Immigrants in the United States of America" (PDF). Contributions to Nepalese Studies. CNAS/TU. 26 (1): 119–134. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  6. Miller, Olivia. "Nepalese Americans". Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America. Gale.
  7. "Nepalese Americans - History, Modern era, The first nepalese in america". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  8. Moore, Derek. Sonoma grows more diverse, The Press Democrat, March 25, 2011.
  9. "PCT1: TOTAL POPULATION". factfinder2.census,gov. 2010 Census. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  10. "Over 100,000 Bhutanese resettled worldwide". setopati. Retrieved 8 Aug 2015.
  11. "85,000 Bhutanese resettled". Bhutan News Service. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  12. "New to America, Bhutanese refugees face suicide crisis". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  13. "Domain pending ICANN verification.". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  14. Encyclopedia of Chicago: Nepalese. Wrote by Gregory Price Grieve.

External links

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