The richest immigrants in Silicon Valley

Why are Indians flourishing in Santa Clara County? Could it be because extraordinary diversity is like mother's milk?

By Andrew Leonard
November 19, 2007 11:25PM (UTC)
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"Indians Most Affluent, Educated, in Silicon Valley" reads the headline on

The headline on the San Jose Mercury News story that originally broke the news was a little different: "Valley's faces of diversity: Census offers snapshots of 4 immigrant groups." The Merc looked at populations of four different groups in Santa Clara County: Mexicans, Vietnamese, Chinese and Indians. Of those four groups, Indians have proven best able to land the American dream: They boasted the highest median household income -- $81,000 -- and owned the most valuable homes -- $860,000.


The irresistible quote, which ExpressIndia repeated in full, and so must How the World Works, comes from Kailash Joshi, described as "a prominent Indian entrepreneur in Silicon Valley," who "thinks Indians flourish in the United States not just because of their commitment to education, but because their native country prepared them for America's ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity, and its aggressive market economy."

"By that, I mean India has 21 national languages. Every religion in the world lives in India," Joshi said.

"We are very competitive. We come from a very diverse upbringing, so coming to the U.S. is a very easy move. We understand the U.S. like the palm of our hand."

Neither ExpressIndia nor the San Jose Mercury News mentioned how many Indians live in Santa Clara County, but the Merc included a helpful link to the raw Census data, there for anyone with Excel to crunch to their geeky heart's delight.

There are 101,551 Indian immigrants living in the county, as compared to 155,597 Chinese, 382,777 Mexicans and 110,869 Vietnamese. That's 750,794 people out of a total of 1,731,281 residents.


That's some serious diversity.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Globalization How The World Works Immigration India Silicon Valley