Socioeconomic Status – US

Socioeconomic Status of Asian Indians in the US 

  • As a result of its restricted immigration policy, only highly educated professionals from India were allowed to immigrate to the United States, until recently.
  • Among the 2.5 million Asian Indians in the US, 87% have completed high school, 70% have completed 4 years of college, and 34% are professionals.1 These professionals include 20,000 scientists with PhDs, 40,000 engineers, and 50,000 physicians, including 4,000 cardiologists.2
  • About one in fifty Asian Indians in the US is a physician and one in five hundred is a cardiologist. About 5% of all doctors and 10% of medical students are also Indians.
  • Asian Indians enjoy a high socio-economic status (median income of $91,000 ─ $41,000 above the median for the US population) and nearly half of them are life-long vegetarians, two factors generally considered “protective” against CAD (coronary artery disease).3
  • The US is a rich country where the rich continues to grow. The top one percent accounts for 35% of its wealth and takes home 21% of  the  income. An individual with an income less than $11161 or a family of four earning less than $21756 is was considered poor in 2009
  • The Asian Indian physicians in the US are not only aware of the major coronary risk factors but appear to have made maximum modification of lifestyle to reduce their risk of CAD.4 Yet, they have the highest rates of CAD among all Americans (Asian Indian Paradox). 


1. Enas EA, Jacob S. Coronary artery disease in Indians in the USA. In: Sethi K, ed. Coronary artery disease in Indians – A Global Perspective. Mumbai: Cardiological Society of India; 1998:32-43.

2. Enas EA, Mehta J. Malignant coronary artery disease in young Asian Indians: thoughts on pathogenesis, prevention, and therapy. Coronary Artery Disease in Asian Indians (CADI) Study. Clinical cardiology. Mar 1995;18(3):131-135.

3. Palaniappan  L P, Araneta MR, Assimes TL, et al. Call to action: cardiovascular disease in Asian Americans: a science advisory from the American Heart Association. Circulation. Sep 21 2010;122(12):1242-1252.

4. Yagalla MV, Hoerr SL, Song WO, Enas E, Garg A. Relationship of diet, abdominal obesity, and physical activity to plasma lipoprotein levels in Asian Indian physicians residing in the United States. J Am Diet Assoc. 1996;96(3):257-261.

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