|Regions with significant populations|
|Majority: Sunni Islam|
Minority: Christianity, Shia Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism
|Related ethnic groups|
Bangladeshi Americans (Bengali: বাংলাদেশী মার্কিনী) are Americans of Bangladeshi descent. The majority of Bangladeshi Americans are Bengalis and form the largest group of Bengali Americans. Bangladeshi immigrants have arrived in the United States in large numbers since the early 1970s to become among the fastest growing ethnic communities since that decade. New York City; Paterson, New Jersey; Atlantic City, New Jersey; as well as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago, Florida, Dallas, Houston, Charlotte, Austin and Hamtramck, Michigan are home to notable Bangladeshi communities.
Immigrants from present-day Bangladesh have been in the United States since at least the 1880s.
Bangladeshis have been migrating to the port cities of the United States since 1974 when 154 Bangladeshi arrived in United States leaving behind the hard economic and political times of the still developing Bangladesh who got independence from Pakistan in 1971. Most were workers on the various ships docking from Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Immigration to the United States from Bangladesh grew slowly but steadily from the 1970s–80s. Over ten thousand Bangladeshis have immigrated to the United States annually. Many of the migrants settled in urban areas such as New York City Paterson, New Jersey, and Atlantic City as well as Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, and Detroit. In New York, it was estimated that 15,000 Bangladeshis resided in the city in the early 1980s. During the late 1970s, some Bangladeshis moved from New York City to Detroit, and Atlantic City for jobs. Homes to prominent communities of other Muslim Americans, in search of better work opportunities and an affordable cost of living, but most have since returned from Detroit to New York and to New Jersey, in hope of starting a new community and a peaceful life . The Los Angeles Bangladesh Association was created in 1971, and there were 500 members of the Texas Bangladesh Association in 1997. In Atlantic City Bangladeshis created a association. The Bangladeshi population in Dallas was 5,000 people in 1997, which was large enough to hold the Baishakhi Mela event. Baishakhi Mela events have been held in major American cities such as New York City, Paterson in New Jersey, Atlantic City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, as the Bangladeshi population continues to increase in these cities. Many of these Bangladeshis were taxicab drivers, while others had white-collar occupations. In Atlantic City s some got into casinos.
As of 1980, most Bangladeshi immigrants are between 10 and 39 years old. Sixty-two percent are men, the imbalance being due to employment opportunity differences and custom that discourages the emigration of single women. Approximately 50% of men and 60% of women are married upon arrival to the United States.
New York City is home to the largest Bangladeshi community in the United States, receiving by far the highest legal permanent resident Bangladeshi immigrant population. The Bangladeshi-born immigrant population has become one of the fastest growing in New York City, counting over 74,000 by 2011 alone. The city's Bangladeshi community is spread out in the Jackson Heights neighbourhood within the New York City borough of Queens. 74th Street has most of the Bangladeshi grocery stores and clothing stores in Jackson Heights. The Bangladesh Plaza hosts numerous Bangladeshi businesses and cultural events. Recently, one part of Jackson Heights has become the open platform of all sorts of protests and activism. The neighbouring communities of Jackson Heights, Woodside, and Elmhurst in Queens also similarly have become attractive areas to live for Bangladeshi Americans.
Since the 1970s, thousands of Bangladeshis were able to legally migrate to the USA through the Diversity Visa Program/ lottery. Many initiated a migration to Jamaica, Queens. Continuous movement of Bangladeshis to Jamaica and Jackson Heights, Queens has made some neighbourhoods extensively Bangladeshi. Centering on 169 street and Hillside Avenue, the neighbourhood has become a popular zone due to the large number of restaurants and groceries. Sagar Restaurant, Gharoa, Deshi Shaad, Kabir's Bakery, and other stores in Queens are attractions for the Bangladeshi communities all over New York City. The largest numbers of Bangladeshi Americans now live in Jamaica, Jackson Heights, Hollis, and Briarwood in Queens. Bangladeshi enclaves in Queens and Brooklyn have been increasing as Bangladeshis in NYC continue to grow rapidly. Bangladeshis form one of the fastest growing Asian ethnic groups in NYC as new enclaves in areas such as City Line and Ozone Park have sprung up. Wealthier Bangladeshis have been moving to Long Island, New York City, as a particular reason for popular settlement in the area is the pharmaceutical companies existing on Long Island; there are quite a large number of Bangladeshi-owned pharmaceutical companies in Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island employing many people of Bangladeshi origin. However, there have been cases where Bangladeshis living in New York City moved out, specifically to places such as Buffalo and Hamtramck in Michigan, mainly due to low living costs. New York statistics:
Bangladeshi neighbourhoods in NYC include Jamaica, Jamaica Hills, Briarwood, Jackson Heights, Woodside, Elmhurst, Hollis, Queens Village, Hunters Point, Long Island City, East Harlem, Bayside, Hillcrest, West Maspeth and Astoria in Queens; Kensington and City Line in Brooklyn. Parkchester and Castle Hill in The Bronx is also home to an increasing Bangladeshi population Other, smaller Little Bangladesh communities can be found in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Detroit, and Los Angeles.
Paterson, New Jersey, in the New York City metropolitan area, is home to a significant Bangladeshi American community. Many Bangladeshi grocery stores and clothing stores are locating in the emerging Little Bangladesh on Union Avenue and the surrounding streets in Paterson, as well as a branch of the Sonali Exchange Company Inc., a subsidiary of Sonali Bank, the largest state-owned financial institution in Bangladesh. Masjid Al-Ferdous is also located on Union Avenue, which accommodates Paterson's rapidly growing Bangladeshi pedestrian population in Paterson. Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman was ultimately certified as the winner of the 2012 city council race in the Second Ward, making him northern New Jersey's first Bangladeshi-American elected official. On 11 October 2014, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Shohid Minar Monument in West Side Park in Paterson took place, paying tribute to people killed in Pakistan in 1952 while protesting that country's policies that banned Bangladeshis from speaking their Bangla (বাংলা) language, and replicating those monuments that exist in Bangladesh, according to the World Glam Organization, the Bangladeshi cultural group working on the Paterson project. The Shohid Minar was completed and unveiled in 2015. This project reflected the increasing influence of Paterson's growing Bangladeshi community, as reported in The Record.
In 2014, identified by factfinder census, when Americans per capita income was divided by ethnic groups Bangladeshi Americans were revealed to have a per capita income of only $18,027, below the American average of $25,825.
According to a news article from the website Mashable released in 2015, it stated that reported that 26% of the Bangladeshi American community lived under the poverty line. This is much higher than the USA average of 16% according to data released by the Economic Policy Institute in 2011.
In a 2013, NPR discussion with a member of the Economic Policy Institute and co-author of the book The Myth of the Model Minority Rosalind Chou who is also a professor of sociology. One of them stated that "When you break it down by specific ethnic groups, the Hmong, the Bangladeshi, they have poverty rates that rival the African-American poverty rate."
The 2000 census undertaken by the Census Bureau listed 57,412 people identifying themselves as having Bangladeshi origin. Almost 40% of Bangladeshis over the age of 25 had at least a bachelor's degree as compared to less than 25% of the United States population.
Bangladeshi Americans retain a strong ethnic identity but are known to assimilate into American culture while at the same time keeping the culture of their ancestors. Bangladeshi Americans are well represented in the fields of medicine, engineering, business, finance and information technology. Bangladeshi Americans have brought Bengali cuisine to the United States, and Bengali cuisine has been established as one of the most popular cuisines in the country with hundreds of Bengali restaurants in each major city and several similar eateries in smaller cities and towns. There are many Bangladeshi markets and stores in the United States. Some of the largest are in New York City, Paterson, New Jersey, Central New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Atlantic City, and Los Angeles.
Bangladeshi Americans often retain their native language Bengali and run many programs to nourish their mother tongue. However, many also speak Bengali dialects or other languages related to Bengali, the most common being Sylheti which is spoken by people from the Sylhet Division in Bangladesh, and Chatgaya which is spoken by Bangladeshis from Chittagong.
The vast majority of Bangladeshi American Muslims nominally subscribe to Sunni Islam. In smaller towns in America, Bangladeshi Americans will pray at home and make trips to attend their mosque or temple during major holidays. In major cities, Bangladeshi Americans who are Muslim hold religious services in their own mosques. In New York, these mosques include such as the Jamaica Muslim Center, also known as Masjid al Mamoor, located in Jamaica, New York, Darus Salam Masjid and Darul Uloom located in Jamaica, Baitul Gaffar and Richmond Hill Jame Masjid located in Richmond Hill, Fultoli Jame Masjid in Briarwood, Parkchester Jame Masjid in Parkchester, Bronx, Masjid al Taqwa in Atlantic City and others in the tri-state area.
There are also a number of major Hindu temples in the United States where Bangladeshi Americans play an important part in the leadership of their congregations. Many Bangladeshi Americans also continue a long tradition of humanism and identify as non-religious, secularist, atheist, agnostic and/or gnostic.
Before the colonization of India by Great Britain, popular religions across the Bengal region included Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. By the time of the Partition of India, most Bengalis classified themselves with Islam in East Bengal (now Bangladesh) and with Hinduism in West Bengal (now in India). Today, Islamic religion figures prominently in the cultures of the Bangladeshi diaspora.
Salman Khan founder of Khan Academy and MIT graduate
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