Tamil Americans

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Tamil Americans
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Tamil Americans (தமிழ் அமெரிக்கர்கள்) are Americans who are of Tamil ethnic origin, mostly from India and Sri Lanka and other diasporic centers such as Canada and the United Kingdom.[2]


In the second half of the 20th century, Tamils from India migrated as skilled professionals to the United States, Canada, Europe, and Southeast Asia. The Tamil American population numbers over 195,685 individuals,[3] and the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America functions as an umbrella organization for the growing community.[4]

Central New Jersey is home to the largest population concentration of Tamils. Sizeable populations of Indian American Tamils have also settled in New York City, and New Jersey and New York house separate Tamil Sangams.[5] The Washington, D.C. metropolitan area on the East Coast as well as Silicon Valley on the West Coast also have Tamil associations.[6]

The New York City and Los Angeles metropolitan areas are home to the largest concentrations of Tamil-speaking Sri Lankan Americans.[7][8][9] New York City's Staten Island alone is estimated to be home to more than 5,000 Sri Lankan Americans,[10] one of the largest Sri Lankan populations outside Sri Lanka itself,[11] and a significant proportion of whom speak Tamil.

The New York City Metropolitan Area, including Central New Jersey, as well as Long Island and Staten Island in New York, is home to the largest Tamil American (தமிழ் அமெரிக்கர்கள்) population.


The Tamil community in the United States is largely bilingual. Tamil is taught in weekly classes in many Hindu temples and by associations such as the American Tamil Academy in South Brunswick, Tamil Jersey School in Jersey City, New Jersey,[12]

The written form of the language is highly formal and quite distinct from the spoken form. A few universities, such as the University of Chicago and the University of California Berkeley, have graduate programs in the language.[13]


The Tamil community is largely connected to the Hindu community, along with other groups from South India. In most Hindu temples in the United States, the prayers are in Sanskrit. However, in North Brunswick, New Jersey, the "Tamil Temple" ("Tamil Annai Thirukkoyil") conducts all the prayers in the Tamil language. The Hindu Temple in Houston, Texas, is dedicated to Meenakshi, a manifestation of the goddess Parvati. There is also an active Christian minority.[14]

Notable people

  • Ashok Amritraj - film producer
  • Thomas Anantharaman - computer statistician
  • Aziz Ansari - actor and stand-up comedian
  • Shiva Ayyadurai - scientist
  • Sunkrish Bala - actor
  • Krishna Bharat - computer scientist and founder of Google News
  • Jay Chandrasekhar - actor and director
  • Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar - astrophysicist
  • Ananda Coomaraswamy - philosopher
  • Kamala Harris - senator representing California
  • Maya Harris - lawyer, public policy advocate, and television commentator
  • Vijay Iyer - pianist
  • Clarence Jey - record producer and songwriter
  • Poorna Jagannathan - actress and producer
  • Mindy Kaling - actress
  • Sukanya Krishnan - news anchor
  • Padma Lakshmi - entrepreneur, model, and chef
  • G. V. Loganathan - professor and a victim of the Virginia Tech massacre
  • C. Mohan - computer scientist
  • Mary Anne Mohanraj - writer
  • Sendhil Mullainathan - economist, Harvard professor
  • Indra Nooyi - CEO of PepsiCo Incorporated
  • Arogyaswami Paulraj - wireless researcher, winner of Marconi Prize
  • Sundar Pichai - CEO of Google
  • C.K. Prahalad - late world-renowned management guru
  • Raghuram Rajan - economist, winner of Fischer Black Prize
  • Raj Rajaratnam - founder of Galleon Group
  • V. S. Ramachandran - physician, neuroscientist, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego
  • Venkatraman Ramakrishnan - structural biologist
  • Sendhil Ramamurthy - actor
  • Maya Shankar - scientist
  • Ram Shriram - billionaire venture capitalist
  • Siva Sivananthan- academic, scientist, businessman and Director of the Microphysics Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago
  • M. Night Shyamalan - film director
  • Hari Sreenivasan - broadcast journalist
  • Sri Srinivasan - United States circuit judge
  • Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah - social anthropologist
  • Savita Vaidhyanathan - politician, former mayor of Cupertino
  • Sudhir Venkatesh - sociologist and urban ethnographer
  • S. R. Srinivasa Varadhan - mathematician
  • Visvanathan Rudrakumaran -Prime Minister of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam
  • References

    1. ^ "Commuting Times, Median Rents and Language other than English Use in the Home on the Rise". December 7, 2017. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
    2. ^ Vasudha Narayanan, "Tamils" in David Levinson and Melvin Ember, eds. American immigrant cultures: builders of a nation (1997). pp. 874-79
    3. ^ US Census 2006-2008 American Community Survey See Row# 125
    4. ^ "ABOUT FETNA". Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
    5. ^ New Jersey Tamil Sangam
    6. ^ Bay Area Tamil Manram Archived 2010-10-27 at the Wayback Machine.
    7. ^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2012 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
    8. ^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2011 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
    9. ^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2010 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
    10. ^ Kirk Semple (2013-06-08). "Sri Lankans have gathered on Staten Island,..." The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
    11. ^ "Why Staten Island?". Little Sri Lanka. Retrieved 2015-07-25.
    12. ^ See "School offers Tamil language classes" Sentinel Sept. 4, 2014 ]
    13. ^ Vasudha Narayanan, "Tamils" in David Levinson and Melvin Ember, eds. American immigrant cultures: builders of a nation (1997). p. 878.
    14. ^ Narayanan, "Tamils," p. 877.

    Further reading

    • Fuller, C. J. & Haripriya Narasimhan (2014). Tamil Brahmans: The Making of a Middle-Class Caste. University of Chicago Press.
    • Narayanan, Vasudha, "Tamils" in David Levinson and Melvin Ember, eds. (1997). American immigrant cultures: builders of a nation. Simon & Schuster Macmillan. pp. 874–79.
    • Underwood, Kelsey Clark (1986). Negotiating Tamil Identity in India and the United States. PhD thesis, University of California, Berkeley.
    • Underwood, Kelsey Clark. "Image and Identity: Tamil Migration to the United States." Papers Kroeber Anthropological Society (1986): 65+

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