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Nepali Americans or Nepalese 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.

Nepali Americans
Total population
Regions with significant populations
American EnglishNepali EnglishNepali(Largest) • Nepal BhasaBhojpuriMaithili(second largest) • LimbuGurungTamang • Other Languages of Nepal
Related ethnic groups

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


Nepalese Americans began migrating to the United States from early 20th century. The first Nepalese immigrants 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 people had immigrated to the United States. The number of immigrants from Nepal remained below 100 per year through 1992.[3]

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 Texas, 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][5]

Communities in the United StatesEdit

As of 2010, the largest communities of Nepalese were in the following cities:[6]

Ethnic Nepali Bhutanese AmericanEdit

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 (96,581), Canada (5,673), Australia (4,734), Denmark (759), The Netherlands (326), New Zealand (856), Norway (550) and the United Kingdom (358). [7]

Cultural celebrationsEdit

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.[8]

Community and economic issuesEdit


According to information collected by the Pew Research Center in 2015, 23.9% of all Nepali Americans live below the poverty line, higher than the 15.1% of Americans that live below the poverty line.[9]

Median household incomeEdit

Nepalese Americans have an average median household income of $43,500.[9]

Per capita incomeEdit

In 2014, identified by factfinder census, when Americans per capita income was divided by ethnic groups Nepali Americans were revealed to be the lowest earning ethnic group per capita in the USA with a per capita income of $17,839 below the American average of $25,825.[10]

Notable peopleEdit

  • Kiran Chetry, news anchor
  • Daya Vaidya, actress
  • Prabal Gurung, fashion designer
  • Parag Pathak , Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Lujendra Ojha, scientist
  • Karishma Manandhar, film actress
  • Gautama V. Vajracharya, Sanskritist
  • Bodhraj Acharya, Scientist
  • See alsoEdit


    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. 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
    2. ^ 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.
    3. ^ Miller, Olivia. "Nepalese Americans". Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America. Gale.
    4. ^ "Nepalese Americans - History, Modern era, The first nepalese in america". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
    5. ^ Moore, Derek. Sonoma grows more diverse, The Press Democrat, March 25, 2011.
    6. ^ "PCT1: TOTAL POPULATION". Factfinder2.census,gov. 2010 Census. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
    7. ^ "85,000 Bhutanese resettled". Bhutan News Service. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
    8. ^ Grieve, Gregory Price (17 August 2018). "Nepalese". Chicago History Museum and the Newberry Library. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
    9. ^ a b "Nepalese in the U.S. Fact Sheet". 8 September 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
    10. ^ "Median houseland income in the past 12 months (in 2014 inflation-adjusted dollars)". American Community Survey. United States Census Bureau. 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2015.

    External linksEdit