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A journey across the black waters: Female migration from India to the United States

Bidisha Nag, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Almost half of the fast-growing population of Asian Indians in the United States are adult women. Nevertheless, little has been written about Indian women who have migrated within the last few decades. This neglect of women is common in migration literature, where women are often regarded as followers who have less independence and freedom than men. ^ This Internet-based voluntary survey conducted among 800 Asian Indian women, followed by a small scale personal survey among 25 more Indian women revealed overlooked facts about their education levels, their reasons for migrating to the United States, and their current occupation. ^ Compared to the entire Asian Indian population, women who migrate from India are highly educated, many having bachelors or masters degrees at the time of migration from India to the United States. Now, in the United States, 40 per cent of the Indian women hold a masters degree and another 20 per cent have completed a doctorate. Twenty seven percent are employed in professional services and 13 percent in information technology, but, almost a third of these highly educated migrants are homemakers or work in the informal sector. A large proportion also pursue higher studies even though they indicated migrating for marriage. This surprising information that highly educated women work in the home or in the informal sector encouraged the researcher to seek for additional explanation. Further surveying revealed that immigration regulations play a major role in the lives of these women. Many of them are legally not permitted to work, and to bypass the regulations women pursue higher studies as an alternative financial benefit. ^

Subject Area

Geography|Women's Studies

Recommended Citation

Nag, Bidisha, "A journey across the black waters: Female migration from India to the United States" (2005). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3176796.