Book explores growth, success of America’s Indian population

A small portion of Americans who make up the top earning households in the country have gained notoriety as “the one percent.” But according to a new book, another lesser known one percent of the population has made a major impact in certain occupations and as entrepreneurs, becoming the most well-educated and highest-earning group among all immigrants in the United States.

“The Other One Percent: Indians in America” is a new book about people of Indian descent—Indian-born and American-born—in the United States. It is co-written by Devesh Kapur, a professor of political science in the School of Arts & Sciences (SAS), the Madan Lal Sobti Professor for the Study of Contemporary India, and director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India.

“For the past 12-odd years, my research has sought to understand how international migration and diasporas are shaping the political economy of development,” Kapur says.

“The Other One Percent” is a follow-up to Kapur’s book, “Diaspora, Democracy and Development: The Impact of International Migration from India on India,” for which he earned a 2012 ENMISA Distinguished Book Award from the International Studies Association.

While “Diaspora, Democracy and Development” examined the impact of emigration of Indians from India, Kapur says “The Other One Percent” is in a sense its mirror image, researching the impact of immigration of Indians to the United States.

The data-driven book describes the impact people of Indian origin have had in various fields, most notably information technology, engineering education, and in the health sector, as well as in entrepreneurship, especially in the hospitality sector and high-tech start-ups. 

“The Other One Percent” shows how global changes in technology and trade, and policy changes in both India and the United States have led Indians to achieve great success in America. Issues of Indian immigrant diversity, languages, occupations, settlements, generational differences, and politics are also covered in the book.

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, Kapur will join one of his co-authors, Sanjoy Chakravorty of Temple University, for a book launch and panel discussion from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the World Forum of Perry World House, 3803 Locust Walk. They will sign copies of their book at a reception to follow. Both events are free and open to the public.

Rogers Smith, associate dean for the social sciences at SAS and the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science, will moderate. The panelists will be Carolyn Adams, a geography and urban studies professor at Temple University, and Michael Jones-Correa, a professor of political science at Penn.

Registration is required to attend. The deadline to register is Friday, Oct. 28.

Register at

Devesh Kapur