Knowledge bonding: Indian top source of engineers, scientists for US


Expanding its global footprint, the Indian diaspora has been making remarkable progress in various professions, especially in the field of science and technology. According to a report, India sends the largest number of engineers and scientists to the US. It has sent around 950,000 scientists and engineers to the US, making it the largest immigrant group in these fields.

The report was prepared by the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES).  The number of scientists and engineers residing in the US rose from 21.6 million to 29 million from 2003 to 2013.  “In 2013, a total of 950,000 immigrant scientists and engineers were born in India, representing a nearly 85 per cent increase from 2003,” the report said. 

There has been a significant growth in the number of immigrant scientists and engineers, increasing from 3.4 million to 5.2 million in 10 years.  According to the report, in 2013, among all 5.2 million immigrant scientists and engineers in the US, 57 per cent were born in Asia. The other group of immigrants comprised 20 per cent from North America (excluding the US), Central America, the Caribbean or South America,  16 per cent in Europe, six per cent in Africa and less than one per cent in Oceania.   “Among the Asian countries, India continued to be the top country of birth for immigrant scientist and engineers in the United States,” the report said. 

Analysing the growth of immigrants in engineering and other related fields, the report observed  that immigrants increased from 16 per cent of the science and engineering workforce to 18 per cent, while 63 per cent of US immigrant scientists and engineers were naturalised citizens, 22 per cent were permanent residents and 15 per cent temporary visa holders.

Making a comparative study between the educational background of immigrants from India and US born citizens, the report found that immigrant scientists and engineers were more likely to have earned post-baccalaureate degrees than their US-born counterparts.

Around 32 per cent of immigrant scientists reported their highest degree was a master’s (compared to 29 per cent of US-born counterparts) and 9 per cent reported it was a doctorate (compared to 4 per cent of US-born counterparts).  The most common fields of study for immigrant scientist and engineers were computer and mathematical sciences and social and related sciences. 

The areas that saw substantial immigrant employment growth from 2003 to 2013 were life scientists, computer and mathematics scientists as well as social scientists, the report said.

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