Many immigrant success stories come from this part of India. For instance, both Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Adobe Systems CEO Shantanu Narayen, hail from Hyderabad. Starry-eyed youngsters from the region chase the American Dream so desperately that the state even houses a temple famed to help people secure work visas in the West.
Even outside the nine-to-five software jobs, second-generation Telugu families are making a mark. Nina Davuluri, who became the first Indian-American to be crowned Miss America in 2013, has roots in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. She is the daughter of Telugu-speaking doctors who migrated to the US in the 1980s. Telugu students have repeatedly won spelling bee competitions, including the top spot at the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee.
There is a dark side to all this, too.
A slew of Telugu workers in the US has been shot dead in various incidents, from hate crimes to robbery attempts. On the other hand, assimilation attempts are also prevalent. Community associations such as the California-based University of Silicon Andhra offer dance and music schools to impart traditional culture and arts. Even some mainstream college campuses are dedicating resources to explore the community’s heritage.
In the face of the US becoming home for more and more Indian immigrants, Telugu is only one of the many languages from the country gaining popularity.
The grip of Indian languages
Others, such as Bengali and Tamil speakers, have smaller populations of around 350,000 and 280,000 respectively, but they were still among the fastest-growing ones. The former logged a 57% increase while the latter, 55%.
Telugu may have grown at a higher pace but Hindi remains the most widely spoken Indian language in the US. Though, at 863,000, it is dwarfed by the 41 million speakers of Spanish.
In absolute numbers, people speaking Hindi at home increased the third-most between 2010 and 2017, after Chinese and Arabic.
Overall, 21.8% of the US population speaks a foreign language at home, CIS said. In the country’s five largest cities, this share goes up steeply to nearly half of the residents.
India, ironically, is home to about four times more English speakers than the US.