- Burmese American
Infobox Ethnic group
group = Burmese American
poptime = 30,000
California, New York, Indiana, Virginia, Maryland, Illinois
langs = English, Burmese
Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism
Burmese Americans, or Myanmarese Americans, are Americans of Burmese descent. The term encompasses people of all ethnic backgrounds with ancestry in the present-day
Myanmar(formerly Burma). [citebook|title=Asian Americans: Vulnerable Populations, Model Interventions, and Clarifying Agendas|author= Lin Zhan|year= 2003|publisher=Jones & Bartlett|id=ISBN 0763722413] Burmese Americans are a subgroup of Asian Americans.
History in the United States
A large percentage of
expatriatesfrom Myanmar arrived in the United States between the late 1960s and mid 1980s. Many Burmese--primarily of Anglo-Burmese, Indian and Chinese origins--began to emigrate abroad after Gen. Ne Winestablished military rule in 1962. Some of the Burmese immigrated to the United States after the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965abolished the previously existing quota on Asian immigrants. [ [http://www.historicaldocuments.com/ImmigrationActof1965.htm Historical Documents and Speeches - The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 ] ] A second influx occurred during the late 1980s and early 1990s after the national uprising in 1988. Many Burmese (including the indigenous Burmese) left Burma in large numbers in search of better opportunities.
The Burmese in far smaller numbers continue to immigrate to the United States today mainly through family sponsorships and the "green card lottery". Thousands of Burmese each year apply to a Diversity Visa Program (colloquially known as "OP" in Burmese), a lottery-based program that grants random visas to people wishing to reside in the United States.
According to the 2000
U.S. Census, 16,720 persons of Burmese descent resided in the United States. That number is estimated to have risen to at least 50,000 today because of the large number of Burmese people seeking political asylum. The actual number, however, may be even larger. (Note that a significant number of Burmese Chinese and Burmese Indians who immigrated to the United States for socio-economicfactors tend to identify themselves as Chinese or South Asianrather than Burmese. Additionally, the Anglo-Burmese and Anglo-Indians from Burma, mostly now settled in Southern California and Georgia, usually classify themselves as 'other' for racial purposes.)Fact|date=February 2007
Various Burmese exile groups have set up shop in the United States. One prominent group is the "
National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma" (.
Most Burmese Americans live in metropolitan areas with large immigrant populations. The Big Four metropolitan areas with sizable Burmese populations are
Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, and Washington D.C.Other areas of significance include Florida, Illinois, and Indianawhere many Burmese refugees have resided.
* Los Angeles —
San Gabriel Valley, especially San Gabrieland Rosemead
Bay Area— San Francisco, California, and San Jose, California
New York City— Queens, Brooklyn, and Northern New Jersey
Washington D.C.— Northern Virginiaand Maryland
Fort Wayne, Indiana
As most Burmese are
Buddhists, many Burmese Buddhist monasteries, most of which also serve as community centers, have sprouted across most major cities in the United States. A few ethnic Mon and Rakhinemonasteries serve their respective ethnic populations. Burmese Christian churches consisting mainly of ethnic Karen, Chin, Kachin, and even Anglo-Burmese congregations can also be found in large metropolitan areas.
English is the primary language for most Burmese Americans, albeit with varying levels of fluency depending on the level of education and the years lived in the country. Burmese is still widely spoken or understood as most Burmese Americans are recent immigrants or first generation children of those immigrants. Still, the command of spoken Burmese among the American-born Burmese is basic to poor, and that of written Burmese is close to none. Some older Burmese of Chinese origin speak Chinese (typically, Mandarin,
Minnan, or Cantonese); likewise some of South-Asian origin speak some Indic language (usually Hindi/ Urdu).
Notable Burmese Americans
Demographics of Myanmar
National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma
Canadian Friends of Burma
US Campaign for Burma
Free Burma Coalition
* [http://www.historicaldocuments.com/ImmigrationActof1965.htm The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965]
* [http://www.bapsusa.org/ Burmese American Professionals Society]
* [http://www.myanmar.org.uk/shwe/ Burmese-American's own companies in USA]
* [http://www.badasf.org/ Burmese American Democratic Alliance]
* [http://www.burmesewomen.org/pages/1/index.htm Burmese American Women's Alliance]
* [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-context=dt&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF3_U&-CONTEXT=dt&-mt_name=DEC_2000_SF3_U_PCT019&-tree_id=403&-redoLog=true&-all_geo_types=N&-geo_id=01000US&-search_results=01000US&-format=&-_lang=en US Census 2000 foreign born population by country]
* [http://www.ieds.blogspot.com/ Unconventional Commentaries on Karen people of Burma]
* [http://www.mandalaygazette.com/ The first Burmese Language News Paper in United States]
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