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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Asian-Indian Americans & TV representation

Photo:  Aziz Ansari from NBC's "Parks & Recreation"

According to the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau, the Asian Indian population in the United States in 2007 was 2,570,000 people..  this represents less than 1% of the total US population of 300+ million people.. yet currently on the 2010-11 Fall TV schedule, eight shows have at least one Asian Indian in the cast:

The Office- NBC
Parks & Recreation - NBC
Outsourced- NBC
Covert Affairs- USA
Detroit 1-8-7 ABC
Rules of Engagement- CBS
The Big Bang Theory- CBS
The Good Wife- CBS

Why is such a small demographic group represented so much on American TV?

1)  "Indians along with other Asians, have one of the highest educational qualifications of all ethnic groups in the US... Almost 40% of all Indians in the United States have a master’s, doctorate or other professional degree, which is five times the national average" -Wikipedia

2)  According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Indian American men had "the highest year-round, full-time median earnings ($51,094)", while Indian American women had a medium income of $35,173...  Indian Americans own 50% of all economy lodges and 35% of all hotels in the United States, which have a combined market value of almost $40 billion. In 2002, there were over 223,000 Asian Indian-owned firms in the U.S., employing more than 610,000 workers, and generating more than $88 billion in revenue" -Wikipedia

In summary- it makes economic sense.  Because Indian Americans generally have higher paying and secure jobs, it means they also have more discretionary income to spend than other ethnic and racial groups-- and that makes for happy advertisers and happy TV networks.

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