According to the 2000 census, there are over 1.6 million people of Asian-Indian origin in the United States. Asian Indians began immigrating to the U.S. as early as the 16th century along with traders from countries like China, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines.

Since those early days, Asian Indians have immigrated to the United States in waves though the pace of the immigration has been regulated by various changes in the immigration rules in the past four centuries. In the last two decades, large numbers of young and highlyeducated Asian Indians have immigrated to the US to work in the high-technology industry. Due to family reunification laws, the numbers of Asian Indian older adults who followed their offspring to this country has also risen.

Between 1980 and 1990, the population of Asian Indians in the US increased by 125%. In the 1990 Census data, there were approximately 23,000 Asian Indian older adults over the age of 65; 83% are foreign born and 51% do not speak English very well. (Divan, 2003) Only 12%, however are classified as linguistically isolated (without an adult who speaks English in the household—the smallest of any Asian ethnic group.

There are now two groups of Asian Indian older adults:

  • those who came to the US in the late 1960s and early 1970s
  • those who came much later

Asian Indians constitute 18% of the Asians alone residing in US as of the year 2004, second to the Chinese community and around 4.5% of them are 65 years or older ( ).