Pakistani Americans are Americans whose ancestry originates from Pakistan or Pakistanis who migrated to and reside in the United States. The term may also refer to people who hold dual Pakistani and U.S. Citizenship. Educational attainment level and household income are much higher in the Pakistani-American diaspora in comparison to the general U.S. population
Immigrants from areas that are now part of Pakistan had been migrating to America as early as the eighteenth century, working in agriculture, logging, and mining in the western states of California, Oregon, and Washington.n The passage of the Luce–Celler Act of 1946 allowed these immigrants to acquire U.S. citizenship through naturalization. Between 1947 and 1965, only 2,500 Pakistani immigrants entered the United States; most of them were students who chose to settle in the United States after graduating from American universities, according to reports from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. This marked the beginning of a distinct 'Pakistani' community in America. However, after President Lyndon Johnson signed the INS Act of 1965 into law, eliminating per-country immigration quotas and introducing immigration on the basis of professional experience and education, the number of Pakistanis immigrating to the United States increased dramatically. By 1990, the U.S. Census bureau indicated that there were about 100,000 Pakistani Americans in the United States and by 2005 their population had grown to 210,000.
Pakistani Americans are classified as Asian Americans by the United States Census Bureau. Geographically, they are South Asian American and are widely related to various ethnic groups including Indian Americans.
Some studies estimate the size of the Pakistani community to be much higher and in 2005 research by the Pakistani embassy in the US found that the population numbered more than 700,000 people. The gap in numbers maybe a result of the U.S. census to count only Pakistani immigrants and exclude those born in the United States between Pakistani parents and those that are second/third generation Americans of Pakistani descent, another reason is that some surveys group Pakistanis with other Asians thereby distorting the true number because Pakistanis have to write in their ethnicity on the Census form rather than checking one of the other major Asian ethnicity listed, making them prone to under counting. Pakistan is the 12th highest ranked source country for immigration into the United States.
Members of the Pakistani community believe in the symbolic importance of owning homes; accordingly, Pakistani Americans tend to save money and make other monetary sacrifices earlier on in order to purchase their own homes as soon as possible. Members of the family and sometimes the closer community tend to take care of each other, and to assist in times of economic need. Hence, it would be more common to turn to a community member for economic assistance rather than to a government agency. This leads to relatively low use of welfare and public assistance by Pakistani-Americans. The Pakistani American community generally lives in a comfortable middle-class, upper-middle-class and upper-class lifestyles.[ Many Pakistani Americans follow the residence pattern set by other immigrants to the United States that when they increase their wealth, they are able to own or franchise small businesses; including restaurants, groceries and convenience stores, clothing and appliance stores, petrol and gas stations and travel agencies. It is common to include members of the extended and immediate family in the business.
According to American Fact finder, Pakistani Americans are high achievers academically and tend to be better educated as compared to other heritage groups in the United States with 87.4% being at least high school graduates and 60.9% holding a bachelor's degree or higher professional degree. According to new reports 29.5% of Pakistanis completed four years of college, 22.5% completed a Master's in a professional degree while 1.6% acquired a doctorate degree, this compared with the American national average of 17.6%, 20% and 1.1% respectively.
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