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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.
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.
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%). Gradually, this community has been integrating into the mainstream politics. The first Nepalese American Harry Bhandari won the State Delegate race in Maryland in 2018 defeating an incumbent and has become the first minority to win any election in the history of the majority white district.
As of 2010, the largest communities of Nepalese were in the following cities:
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).
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.
According to information collected by the Pew Research Center in 2015, 25% of all Nepali Americans live below the poverty line, higher than the 15.1% of Americans that live below the poverty line.
Nepalese Americans have an average median household income of $42,300.
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 US with a per capita income of $18,000.