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Pakistani Americans: A Young, Educated, and Upwardly Mobile Community

The U.S. is home to more than half a million people of Pakistani origin. Pakistani Americans are upwardly mobile and increasingly involved in public service.

pakistani americans usa
There are more than half a million Pakistani Americans residing in the United States.

The United States is home to more than half a million people of Pakistani origin. While immigrants from what is now Pakistan made their way to the United States as early as the 1890s, the vast majority of Pakistani Americans established their presence in the U.S. after the passage of the 1965 U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Act.

Demographics of the Pakistani American Community

In 2019, the United States was home to more than 550,000 Pakistani Americans, according to the Pew Research Center.

The Pakistani American population is young, with a median age of 31 years.

Pakistani Americans, on average, are prosperous. The median annual household income for Pakistanis in the U.S. is $78,000 — right around the average for all Asians ($80,000) and higher than the overall U.S. median household income of roughly $70,000. Pakistani Americans are upwardly mobile. U.S.-born Pakistanis have a higher median household annual income of $90,000.

The overwhelming majority of Pakistani Americans — 75% — are proficient in English. That rate is much higher among U.S.-born Pakistanis, with 93% of those born in the United States being proficient in English.

Sixty-three percent of Pakistani Americans born abroad have lived in the U.S. for more than ten years.

Pakistani Americans are twice as likely as the average American to hold a postgraduate degree. Twenty-six percent of Pakistanis in the U.S. have a postgraduate degree, compared to 24% of all Asians and 13% of all Americans.

The largest Pakistani American population is in the New York metro area, which is roughly 100,000 in size. Houston, Washington, and Chicago also have large Pakistani populations, each coming in at just under 40,000.

Prominent Pakistani Americans

Pakistani Americans are disproportionately represented among the ranks of medical health professionals, small business owners, and technology industry engineers. But they are also increasingly represented across all walks of life, including the performing arts and public service.

Pakistani Americans appointed or elected to public office include Atif Qarni, former Virginia secretary of education; Sunbul Siddiqui, major of Cambridge, Massachusetts; Sadaf Jaffer, New Jersey state assemblywoman; and Suleman Lalani, a member of the Texas House of Representatives.

In 2004, Captain Humayun Khan was killed serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal. His father, Khizr Khan, addressed the Democratic National Convention in 2016 and condemned Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric.

In 2023, Adeed Fayaz, a New York City police officer was killed off-duty by a robber.

Prominent Pakistanis in Hollywood include Kumail Nanjiani, star of The Big Sick, and Iqbal Theba, who played Principal Figgins in the Fox series “Glee.”

Shahzia Sikander is a renowned visual artist and MacArthur Fellow whose work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and the Morgan Library.

The billionaire Shahid “Shad” Khan — the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team — was born and raised in Lahore.



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