Pakistani American


Pakistani American is any citizen or resident of the United States who has Pakistani heritage.Muslim immigrants from areas that are now part of Pakistan have been migrating to America and first entered the United States as early as the eighteenth century, working in agriculture, logging, and mining in the western states of CaliforniaOregon, and Washington. 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 USA 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.

Ethnic classification

Pakistani Americans are currently classified as Asian Americans by the United States Census Bureau. Ethnically, they fit the definition of South Asian American, Pakistanis are an ethnically diverse people with ancestries from many countries such as India, Afghanistan, Iran, Arabia, and so forth. Though Pakistan is in essence a multi-ethnic and multilingual state, its people are either predominantly Indo-European and Indo-Iranian both ethnically and linguistically. Pakistan has ethnic and cultural diversity in its nation.


In the US segregation during the 1960s Pakistanis (along with all other Asians) counted as colored people or when there were only facilities or areas or items for white people and black people then Pakistanis were counted as "other" with akk other Asians


The New York City Metropolitan Area is home to by far the largest Pakistani population in the United States.
Paterson, New Jersey, within the New York City Metropolitan Area, is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Pakistani as well as otherMuslim immigrants.

The U.S. Census Bureau in 2010 estimated that there were 363,699 U.S. residents of Pakistani descent living in the United States. The Census Bureau, however, excluded those living in institutions, college dormitories, and other group quarters. 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. Pakistan is the 12th highest ranked source country for immigration into the United States.

The top 10 states of residence for the foreign-born of Pakistani origin, 2006 and top 10 metro areas of residence for the foreign-born of Pakistani origin, 2006. Out of a total population of 271,428:

States and metro areas of residence
State % of US Pakistanis Metropolitan area % of US Pakistanis
Flag of New York.svg New York 22.1 New York, NY-NJ 25.1
Flag of California.svg California 13.1 Houston-Brazoria, TX 7.4
Flag of Texas.svg Texas 12.4 Chicago-Gary-Lake, IL-IN 7.4
Flag of Illinois.svg Illinois 7.6 Washington, DC-MD-VA 6.3
Flag of New Jersey.svg New Jersey 7.2 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Orange County, CA 3.8
Flag of Virginia.svg Virginia 5.3 Dallas-Fort Worth, TX 3.6
Flag of Florida.svg Florida 4.6 Philadelphia, PA-NJ 2.9
Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Pennsylvania 3.4 San Francisco-Oakland-Vallejo, CA 2.3
Flag of Maryland.svg Maryland 2.8 Detroit, MI 2.1
Flag of Michigan.svg Michigan 2.8 Atlanta, GA 1.8
Other states 18.8 Other metropolitan areas 37.3
Total 100 Total 100

50% of Pakistani Americans have origins in the Punjab Province of Pakistan. About 30% are Muhajirs and the rest are made up of other ethnic Groups from Pakistan, including PashtunsBalochis and Sindhis. The most systematic study of the demography of Pakistanis in America is found in Prof. Adil Najam's book which estimates a total of around 500,000

Pakistanis in the United States hold the largest concentrations in the states of New York and New Jersey, each with around 100,000 Pakistani-Americans.

New York City Metropolitan Area

The Greater New York City Combined Statistical Area, consisting of New York CityLong Island, and adjacent areas within New York State, as well as nearby areas within the states of New Jersey (extending to Trenton), Connecticut (extending to Bridgeport), and including Pike County, Pennsylvania, comprises by far the largest Pakistani American population of any metropolitan area in the United States, receiving the highest legal permanent resident Pakistani immigrant population]].[2] Within the greater metropolitan area, New York City itself hosts the largest concentration of Pakistani Americans of any U.S. city proper, with a population of approximately 34,000 as of the United States 2000 Census, primarily in the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. These numbers made Pakistani Americans the fifth largest Asian American group in New York City. As of 2006, this number had increased to 50,000 people of Pakistani descent said to be living in New York City. This figure additionally rises to 70,000 when illegal immigrants are also included. Pakistan International Airlines serves John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens.


It is estimated the number of Pakistanis in California number around 150,000. Large numbers also reside in Southern California in particular Los Angeles and the County areas of Orange CountyRiverside,San BernardinoVentura and San Diego. Silicon Valley is home to large numbers of highly educated and skilled workers from Pakistan most of whom work in the information technology sector. From 1990 - 2000 the Pakistani population in the San Francisco Bay Area increased to 6,119 which is an increase of 76%.


Estimates suggest that there are 100,000 Pakistanis residing in Chicago and in particular Devon Avenue which has a street named after the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Pakistani-born population spread in the United States, 2000


There is a large Pakistani population in Texas with estimates numbered around 100,000. They are concentrated around three main cities of AustinDallas and Houston (in the three County areas of HarrisSpring and Fort Bend). They are also located in PlanoRichardsonCarrolltonArlingtonIrvingHurstEuless, and BedfordThe community is made up of professionals involved in medicine, I.T., engineering, large businesses involved in textiles, manufacturing, real estate, management and also smaller ones such as travel agencies, motels, restaurants, convenience stores and gas stations.

[edit]Other cities

Newly arrived Pakistani immigrants mostly settle in cities like New York CityPaterson, New Jersey; as well as Los AngelesHoustonBostonSan Diego,San FranciscoChicago, and Detroit; like other South Asians, Pakistanis settle in major urban areas, particularly the East and West coast cities of New York City and Los Angeles. The Pakistani American community are also prevalent in ArizonaArkansasClevelandColoradoConnecticutLouisiana,MassachusettsMichiganNevadaNew EnglandNew MexicoOklahomaOregonSeattleVirginiaWashington, D.C.Wisconsin and Utah. 

Towns and cities in America with the highest percentage of Pakistani ancestry include Madison Park, NJ (5.7%), Herricks, NY (4.1% ),  Boonton, NJ (4%),  Lincolnia, VA (3%), Stafford, TX (2%) and Avenel, NJ (2%).


For a more comprehensive list: Epodunk - Pakistani Ancestry by  place and Cities with the most residents born in Pakistan

Many Pakistanis can be found in the city of St.Louis, Missouri and it's suburbs such as: Ballwin, Chesterfield, Ellisville, Manchester Etc.


Most Pakistani Americans are Muslims. Religion figures prominently in the life of Pakistani American families, and the Quran and the teachings of Muhammad serve as the guidelines that Pakistani Muslims are supposed to follow throughout their lives.

The majority of Pakistanis belong to the Sunni sect of Islam, although there is a significant representation of the Shi'ite sect. In smaller towns in America where there may not be mosques within easy access, Pakistani Americans make trips to attend the nearest one on major religious holidays and occasions.Pakistani Americans worship at mosques alongside other Muslims who might trace their ancestry to all parts of the Islamic world; there are generally no separate Pakistani American mosques.


Pakistani Americans also participate in and contribute to the larger Islamic community, which includes Arab AmericansIranian AmericanTurkish AmericanAfrican AmericansIndonesian Americans,Malaysian AmericansSouth Asian Americans, and many more ethnic backgrounds in America. They are part of the larger community's efforts to educate the country about the ideals of Islam and the teachings of Mohammed (PBUH) . Pakistani Americans have played important roles in the association the Muslim Students of America (MSA), which caters to the needs of Islamic students across the United States.

Although most Pakistani Americans are Muslims, there are also HindusChristians, and Zoroastrians within the community. Pakistani Christians, like Asian Christians, worship at churches all over the country and share in the religious life of the dominant Christian culture in America. Pakistani Hindus mainly share in the religious life of numerous Hindus (including large number of American converts) from various nationalities. Pakistani Hindus are mostly from Karachi. In recent times, Pakistani Zoroastrians (called Parsis) have come to the United States mainly from the cities of Lahore and Karachi. Apart from fellow Pakistanis, they also congregate with fellow Zoroastrian co-religionists from Iran.

Other Pakistanis in the United States might practice: Buddhism, Sikhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Jainism, etc.


Like the terms "Asian American" or "South Asian American", the term "Pakistani American" is also an umbrella label applying to a variety of views, values, lifestyles, and appearances. Although Pakistani Americans retain a high ethnic identity, they are known to assimilate into American culture while at the same time keeping the culture of their ancestors. Pakistani Americans are known to assimilate more easily than many other immigrant groups because they have fewer language barriers (English is widely spoken in Pakistan among professional classes), more educational credentials (immigrants are disproportionately well educated among Pakistanis), and come from a similarly diverse, relatively tolerant, and multi-ethnic society. Pakistani Americans are well represented in the fields of medicine, engineering, finance and information technology. Pakistani Americans have brought Pakistani cuisine to the United States, and Pakistani cuisine has been established as one of the most popular cuisines in the country with hundreds of Pakistani restaurants in each major city and several similar eateries in smaller cities and towns. There are many Pakistani markets and stores in United States. Some of the largest Pakistani markets are in New York CityCentral New JerseyWashington, D.C.Chicago, and Houston



Pakistani Americans often retain their native languages. Some examples of these are Punjabi and Urdu. As English is an officially recognized language in Pakistan and is taught in schools throughout the country many immigrants coming to the United States generally have a good grasp of the English language.

Many Pakistanis in the United States speak some of Pakistan's various regional languages such as: Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, Pashto, and Farsi

Economics and Education

The Pakistani American community today lives in a comfortable middle-class, upper-middle-class and wealthy-class lifestyles. Many Pakistani Americans follow the residence pattern set by others that when they increase their wealth, they are able to own their own businesses; including restaurants, groceries, clothing and appliance stores, newspaper booths, and travel agencies. It is common to include members of the extended and immediate family in the business. The Pakistani American community is said to be philanthropic, research shows that in the year 2002 the community gave close to US$ 1 Billion in philanthropic activities (including value of volunteered time). An increasing number of Pakistani Americans work in the medical field. The Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA), has been meeting in various locations across the United States for the past 30 years. There are more than 15,000 doctors practicing medicine in America who are from Pakistani decent. Pakistan is the fourth highest source of IMG doctors in the U.S. and they are chiefly concentrated in New YorkCaliforniaFloridaNew Jersey and Illinois. Pakistan is also the fourth highest source of foreign dentists licensed in the United States. US congressmen and congresswomen have lauded the contributions of Pakistani medical professionals to the country's healthcare system. Pakistani Americans tend to follow the residence pattern set by other Americans, in that they move to more affluent suburbs as their prosperity and wealth increases. Members of the 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 the larger 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 levels of Pakistani-Americans on welfare and public assistance.  According to the 2000 census the mean household income in the United States in 2002 was $57,852 annually, whereas for Asian households, which includes Pakistanis this was $70,047.  A separate study conducted by the American Community Survey in 2005, showed the mean and median incomes for Pakistani male full-time workers were US$59,310 and US$42,718 - respectively compared to the average male American full-time workers' mean and median incomes of US$56,724 and US$41,965 - respectively. There is also incidence of poverty in the Pakistani community and in particular around new immigrants that migrated from less privileged backgrounds. These migrants tend to take low-paying jobs involving manual or unskilled labor and tend to live in large cities where such jobs are readily available and in particular New York, where as of the 2000 census, poverty rates for Pakistanis in relation to the total New York population were higher overall, with 9,417 (28%) of Pakistanis living in poverty, which is greater than the general New York City poverty rate of 21%. Compared with those immigrants that arrived from 1965 who were either professionals or students and considered to be middle- and upper-class backgrounds, the newer migrants tended to be worse off economically.


Compared to other heritage groups in the United States, Pakistani Americans tend to be better educated with 87.4% being at least a high school graduate  and 60.9% holding a bachelors degree or higher professional degree. Dr. Mehtab Karim, at the Pew Research Center found that 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.


Shahid Khan is a Pakistani American billionaire businessman who is owner of an auto-parts company and the NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars. As of 2012, he was estimated to have a net worth exceeding $2.5 billion and is featured on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans, on which he ranks 179. Overall on the Forbes list of billionaires, he is the 491st richest person in the world.


The table shows the areas of work that Pakistanis are employed in and compares the persons that are born in the U.S., those born in Pakistan and those that are American nationals:

Occupational characteristics
     % Managerial - business/financial-related occupations  % Professional related occupations  % Self-employed
FB1 Men 15.1 29.6 17.1
FB1 Women 8.8 32.0 9.6
NB2 Men 10.0 33.3 9.9
NB2 Women 15.6 50.7 7.2
NB3 Men 17.7 18.0 14.0
NB3 Women 11.9 26.7 8.2

Note: FB1 = Pakistani born, NB2 = American born Pakistani and NB3 = All American nationals

The New York Times estimated that there were 109,300 workers born in Pakistan in all occupations in the US in 2007. With the top 10 occupations in ascending order being; sales-related, managers and administrators, drivers and transportation workers, doctors, accountants and other financial specialists, computer software developers, scientists and quantitative analysts, engineers and architects, clerical and administrative staff, and teachers.