|23,316 Americans of Bhutanese descent or ethnic origin (2013 American Community Survey) |
71,000 Bhutanese refugees in USA (according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in USA in 2013)
|Regions with significant populations|
• Portland (Oregon)
|Buddhism • Hinduism|
|Related ethnic groups|
Bhutanese Americans are Americans of Bhutanese descent. According to the 2010 census there are 19,439 Americans of Bhutanese descent. However, many Bhutanese came to the U.S. from Nepal as political refugees from that country and they surpass, according to some estimates, 70,000 people.
According to the 2010 census there are 19,439 Bhutanese-Americans. However, many Bhutanese came to the U.S. from Nepal as political refugees from that country. These political refugees formed, according to estimates of June 20, 2010, a population of 27,926 people in United States. Many Bhutanese Americans are of Hindu religion. The others are Kiratas, Buddhists and Christians.
Many of the Bhutanese living in the United States were actually ethnic minorities of Nepalese descent. This was because, between the late 80s and early 90s, thousands of Bhutanese were driven out of Bhutan, as they were considered by the government of that country as "illegal immigrants" because they did not share the Tibetan origin with the majority of the population of the country. Despite this, however, these Bhutanese came from families who had been living in Bhutan for more than two centuries. The government's goal was to maintain the Tibetan ethnic purity of most of the population. Thus, since 1990, more than 105,000 ethnically Nepali Bhutanese refugees temporarily migrated to neighboring Nepal, from where their ancestors came, establishing in refugee camps in the east of the country. However, after 15 years living in exile in the neighboring country, many of them have migrated to the U.S., Europe and Australia. This emigration to the United States is due, at least in large part, to a program coordinated by the U.S. State Department and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Of the 60,000 Bhutanese - Nepali refugees that U.S. has offered to resettle in the country, according to BBC News on June 20, 2010, had already 27,926 lived in USA. However, in Oct. 2013, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that around 71,000 Bhutanese refugees living in the U.S.
According to the International Organization for Migration, the Bhutanese refugees are sent to places such as New York City, Chicago, Syracuse (New York), and St. Louis (Missouri). The refugees are also sent to states such as Texas, Arizona, Maryland and Oregon. The community is being helped by The Hindu Temple of Minnesota, along with Lutheran and Catholic social organizations who give them materials and moral support.
Community and Social Issues
A trouble in the community is the high rate of suicide. In 2008, more than 30 Bhutanese refugees, shortly after resettlement in United States, committed suicide. From 2009 to 2012, 16 more suicides among the Bhutanese community had occurred. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal in 2013, 7 more Bhutanese refugees had committed suicide.
According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for every 100,000 Bhutanese refugees, 24.4 commit suicide, almost double the rate of 12.4 for the general population of The United States. It was also stated that this estimate was much higher than the estimated annual global suicide rate for all persons in the world at 16 per 100,000 people.
According to data released in 2017 by the Pew Research Center, 33.3% of the Bhutanese American community lived under the poverty line. This is more than twice the USA poverty average of 16% according to data released by the Economic Policy Institute in 2011.
Many sources have indicated that 21% of all Bhutanese Americans suffer from depression which is nearly 3 times the rate of the general American which stands at 6.7%. It has been observed that other mental illnesses are also prevalent among the community such as anxiety and PTSD.
Lack of education
According to the same date released by the Pew Research Center, the Bhutanese community has one of the lowest educational attainment level in the entire U.S. with only 9% of all Bhutanese Americans 25 years old and older have at least a bachelor's degree.
The Bhutanese American Association of Houston (BaaH) and the Association of Bhutanese in America (ABA) are two examples of Bhutanese-American organizations. The Bhutanese American Association of Houston has an ESL program which provides elderly people in the community with the resources to learn English. In addition, ESL students are taken to various places of parks and recreation to facilitate adaptation to the city. The Association of Bhutanese in America aims to establish relationships between U.S. Bhutanese and Bhutanese in Bhutan and elsewhere, as well as establish a platform that favors their relationship with the community and their country of origin.
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