How many Nepalese are in the USA? You Need to Know

How many Nepalese are in the USA? We know you have also the same question on your mind that’s why you came here. Before jump to how many Nepalese, you need to know the history of the Nepalese community in the USA.

History of Nepalese in the USA

 The history of Nepalese in the USA is not much longer in comparison to other ethnic groups of the world in the USA.

 The migration to the USA from Nepal only started from the 20th Century, and they have been able to establish themselves as Americans.

Nepal has started its diplomatic relations with the US in 1947 and in 1959, the US embassy in Nepal was opened.

Mostly the immigration from Nepal to the USA is on a student’s visa and people who have won the Diversity Visa lottery. The rate of immigrants from Nepal to the USA was very low which was 70 to 75 per year only till the late 80s.

The Nepalese population in the USA experienced significant growth due to the civil war in Nepal during the 2000s. Since then there has been growth in immigration from Nepal to the USA.

Who was the first person to visit the US from Nepal?

According to the US embassy in Nepal, Gen. Krishna Rana, Nepal’s Minister in London. His successor, Gen. Shinga Rana, also visited the United States late in 1945.

In the summer of 1946, a Nepalese mission, headed by Commanding General Baber Rana, spent several weeks in the United States as guests of the State and War Departments. They were in Washington from July 25 to August 1.

How many Nepalese are in the USA?

In the USA, till 1974, Nepalese were considered as “Other Asians” but in 1974, they were considered as a separate ethnic group when 56 Nepalese had immigrated to the USA.

 Till 1992, the number of immigrants from Nepal in the USA remained below 100 per year and in the Census of 1990, there were only 2,616 Nepalese Americans.

 The Diversity Visa lottery program has also been a major factor for the increase in the Nepalese population in America. Every year more than three thousand Nepalese are selected for the DV program.  

“The average rate of immigration from Nepal to the USA is 4000 every year”.

  • Diversity Visa

Here is the data of the Nepalese immigrant’s number who entered the USA through a DV lottery visa from 2008 to 2018.

Year (A.D.) Immigrant Numbers
2008 2,073
2009 1,615
2010 1,936
2011 2,017
2012 1,953
2013 3,377
2014 3,504
2015 3,370
2016 3,247
2017 3,477
2018 4,097*
Total 30,666
* – This number is just selected for 2018.

Source: travel dot state dot gov.

  • Nepalese Student

Nepali students studying in US universities are the fastest growing international student population studying at colleges and universities in the United States. According to the Institute of International Education’s report, 11,607 Nepalese Students entered the US to study in 2016/17.

Year 2015/16 2016/17
Nepalese Student 9,662 11,602

Source: International Education and the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.


How Many Nepalese are in the USA? – Latest Research

According to the South Asian Resource center and Setopati’s research, 3,15,980 Nepalese are living in the USA. This 2017’s research was based on Census Bureau, Homeland security, State Department, CDC, World Bank, Migration Policy Institute, International Education Exchange, Track immigration, NCCL and UNHCR’s from 2010 to 2016’s data collection.

Nepalese Population in the USA
Image source: SetoPati/Global

“According to latest research 3,15,980 Nepalese are living in the USA”.

Bhutanese Nepalese

Bhutanese Nepalese Americans are the Americans who were migrated from Nepal as a political refugee from Bhutan.

 The Bhutanese Refugee crisis was called one of the protracted and neglected refugee crises in the world by Amnesty International.

 Between 1990 and 1993, more than 108,000 Nepali speaking Bhutanese were exiled from the country due to the “One Nation, One People” policy in the 1980s, which was almost one-sixth of the total population of the country, Bhutan.

 This caused the devastating situation for those Nepali speaking Bhutanese. The whole generation was stateless after the act of Government of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

 They all fled to Nepal as refugees and stayed there in camps. With the help of UNHCR and other supporting countries like the USA, Canada, Australia, Denmark, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom, this resettled them in their countries. Almost 85% of Bhutanese were resettled in the USA. 

According to UNHCR’s 2015 report, 84,800 Bhutanese Nepalese are living in the US. 

Year 2015
Bhutanese Nepalese in the US 84,800

“Bhutanese Nepalese are one of the top reason to grow Nepalese community in the US”.

Some Facts about Nepalese American

According to the Pew Research Center:

  • The religion of most of the Nepalese American is Hinduism and Buddhism.
  • 9% of all Nepalese Americans are below the poverty line which is higher than the average 16% of all Americans.
  • The significant population of Nepalese Americans exists in major cities like New York, Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington DC, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Florida, Denver, etc.
  • The Per Capita Income of average Nepali ethnic people in comparison with all ethnic groups of America, it was found to be the fifth-lowest.
  • The education attainment of Nepalese American students is higher than all Americans.

Large Nepalese community living in these cities: 

  • New York City
  • Washington DC
  • Texas
  • California
  • Virginia
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Colorado

Related: Cheapest Ways to Send Money to Nepal


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