American Hindus are one of the most vibrant communities in the USA and are loved by all Americans for their hard work, entrepreneurial skills and prosperity. In addition, they are considered as positive contributors to the economy by all sections of American society. They are job creators, law abiding citizens and educationists. Their contribution in medicine is unparalleled, as per American physician association one out of eight patients are seen by an American Hindu doctor. American Hindus are seen as CEOs of major corporations and also NASA scientists. More than half of all Americans know that Yoga has its roots in Hinduism.
The vast majority of American Hindus are immigrants from the Indian subcontinent (mainly India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, and Pakistan), some from Afghanistan, and Southeast Asia (mainly Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, specifically Bali and Java), the Caribbean (mainly Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, and Jamaica), Oceania (mainly Japan, Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand), Africa (mainly Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Southern Africa, and Eastern African), Europe (mainly United Kingdom, Netherlands, and France), and other Latin American countries and their descendants.
Most Native Americans also follow a culture which is similar to Hinduism and they find great inspiration in Bhagavad Gita. According to the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies newsletter published March 2017, Hindus were the largest minority religion in 102 counties out of the 3143 counties in the country. If we actually calculate the numbers then it makes up almost 6.5 million rough estimates not including native Americans and Yoga communities. If we add the yoga community who consider Hinduism as their origin, then this number swells even more. Even by rough estimate American Hindus make up more than 10% of the population. All Yoga lovers who know the history of Yoga, know for sure that the God of Yoga is Krishna or Yogeshwar and the best teacher and master of all Yogis is Adi Yogi or Shiva.
Latest Converts to Hinduism include Hollywood actress Julia Roberts, actor Russell Brand, etc. Will Smith, Bruce Willis are all very pro Hindu and believe in Hindu spiritual culture. American Hindus have the highest rates of educational attainment and highest rate of household income among all religious communities, and the lowest divorce rates. 48% of American Hindus hold a postgraduate degree. According to a study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life in 2012, 48% of American Hindus have a household income of $100,000 or more, and 70% make at least $75,000.
Many statistics on American Hindu community are regularly manipulated by Christian evangelical & Islamic think tanks and Hindu studies departments of various universities. For them, Hinduism represents a counter spiritual viewpoint. Their myopic view from their own religion perspective, covers their intellect in analyzing Hinduism properly. Therefore, it is more so required that American Hindus begin to take ownership of any representation of their culture. The American universities appoint Christian pastors as deans for Hindu studies, which is morally not right. American Hindus have to begin to take control of the narrative on Hindu culture. The western media influenced by Evangelicals has tried to divide Hindus in their own whimsical ways without actually discussing with the serious practitioners of Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma. Therein lies their fault in manipulating the numbers of hindus to show themselves greater. Every single media house of repute is influenced by them. Obviously the number of hindus look very small. Even if we take a rough estimate of the number of people who actually believe in reincarnation, meditation and Yoga, the number of Hindus looks very large in the USA. Hinduism is the only religion of the planet where a person can be an atheist as well as a Hindu. If we roughly estimate a count of people worshipping nature then this count even goes higher, but western academician influenced media and Universities will question that. American Hindus have to reject their reports. Many ex-Muslims and also other Muslims also religiously identify with Hinduism, even those people are regularly excluded purposely.
Sanatana Dharma is colloquially known as Hinduism. In terms of demography, Sanatana Dharma has even more followers than Hinduism. Many Indic religions such as Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Hinduism and many others share their roots in Sanatana Dharma. As far as the Dharmic population goes, We are actually looking at a much larger population in the USA. This is the time for all these communities to represent themselves in the upcoming elections in November 2020 and also in Census as American Hindu to get them more forcefully accepted in mainstream active society and politics.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are personal to the author