Sikhs are living the American Dream, says groundbreaking research

The result shows a majority of the community lives in California and New York. It also describes them as an immigrant community that has not only traversed the US but has achieved the American Dream: educated, employed, prosperous and politically active

First of its kind: National Sikh Campaign research report ‘SIKHS IN THE UNITED STATES – A PROFILE OF WHO WE ARE’
By Asia Samachar Team | US |

A groundbreaking research report on Sikhs in the United States (US) shows that a majority of the community lives in California and New York.

The research, a first of its kind with certain obvious limitations, also described the half-million strong community as an immigrant community that has not only traversed the US but has achieved the American Dream: educated, employed, prosperous and politically active.

These are among the findings of the “Sikhs in the United States: A Profile of Who We Are” research released by the National Sikh Campaign (NSC), a subsidiary of Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE). Go here to read the 8-page report.

Despite being present in the US for 150 years ago, the report noted that there was a lack of data on their demographic.

“This gap is indicative of the larger dearth of awareness of the religion, including studies that have shown two-thirds of Americans do not know who Sikhs are, how they look, or what the Sikh religion is.

“The lack of information around the Sikh American community in the United States has two troubling consequences: discrimination and misunderstanding, which hinders our ability to address them,” the report added.

The low awareness and understanding of Sikh American demographics could also lead to the underreporting of hate crimes by governmental agencies.

Geography-wise data scooped up by the research show that Sikh Americans mainly live in California (35%) and New York (21%) — showing more than half of the sample residing in those two states alone, as well as clustered populations around mid-Atlantic and southern metropolitan areas.

New Jersey, Florida and Washington round out the top five states with the most Sikhs, respectively, while Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, Alaska and Vermont are states with the least number of Sikhs, respectively.

From the sample, the report said it was found that Sikh Americans have higher levels of educational attainment than the average American—with a majority having received a college degree.

It noted 76% of the individuals have higher than “some college” education or higher, and around 53% of individuals have a college degree or higher, compared with 40% of Americans.

On the limitations of the research, the report was based on a sample included 104,421 individuals with the last names Singh or Kaur, pulled from tools and voter registration profiles provided by BlueLabs, an analytics, data, and technology company, and data vendor TargetSmart.

The report noted that the sample was significantly limited due to the fact it excluded many members of the Sikh community by only looking at individuals with the last names Singh and Kaur, adding that it was ‘by no means statistically significant or conclusive in an academic sense’.

Still, the report can play a crucial role in a number of fronts.

“It is critical to understand that this first-of-its kind research is a humble attempt at learning about the Sikh American community. By simply showing where people with popular Sikh surnames are located as well as their socioeconomic and political background, we are capable of painting a previously non-existent picture of who Sikh Americans are from a demographic data perspective,” according to the report.

It added that the goal of the research was to begin a much needed conversation around Sikhism in the US, not only for the larger American public but also within the Sikh American community itself.

“The immense value of a data-driven approach to fighting discrimination, bias and animosity toward a group on account of their physical characteristics, cultural background, skin color or religion, will only become more apparent as research continues,” it said.

The report was authored by Nikhita Luthra and Shawn Singh Ghuman and edited by Sumeet Kaur.



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