Burmese American Community Institute
The Burmese Population in The U.S. Reaches Over 226,000, College Going Rate Increasing
Published on Saturday, August 1, 2015 by

The Burmese Population in The U.S. Reaches Over 226,000, College Going Rate Increasing


INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 1, 2015 – A Burmese American Community Institute (BACI) study confirmed the continued growth of the Burmese population in the United States and the rising number of Burmese high school graduates who are now attending U.S. colleges and universities.

Thirty-three Indianapolis-area Burmese high school scholars—conducted under the adult academic research supervisors—who participated in the Institute’s Upward College Summer Program investigated issues and challenges facing ethnic communities from Burma now living in Indiana. The researchers presented their findings to community stakeholders on six different research topics that also included policy recommendations.

The findings of the study show that 146,026 Burmese refugees (up 13,795 from a total of 132,231 in 2014) have been admitted to the United States since 2000. Of the 226,000 total number of Burmese in the United States, an estimated 80,000 and 20,000 reside in California and Indiana respectively, and approximately 14,000 are making Indianapolis their new home. Of those in Indianapolis, 85 percent of the refugees from Burma are of Chin ethnicity.

The researchers found the number of primary Burmese refugees resettled in Indiana since 2000  was 11,082. This data indicates that 45 percent of the total number of Burmese in Indiana are either secondary migrants from other U.S. cities, entered Indiana prior to 2000, or were born in the state. The new statistics were unveiled at the Institute’s Research Presentation Day in conjunction with the 4th Annual College and Youth Summit held at the University of Indianapolis, where more than 200 dignitaries, academics, and community members attended.

“We continue to be grateful and appreciative of the American tradition of welcoming refugees from around the world and the U.S. government’s legal and policy arrangement for their long term protection,” said Elaisa Vahnie, executive director of the Institute. “At the same time, we remain committed to assisting the newcomers to become economically self-sufficient and integrated into society by investing in people and education so that they are productive and contributing citizens of our shared society. These are areas where we have been focusing, and we will continue to do so by collaboratively working with our partners.”

Another major finding indicates the dramatic increase in the rate among Burmese high school graduates in Central Indiana who are now attending college. The data indicates that 43 percent of the students were attending universities in 2012; 57 percent in 2013; 72 percent in 2014; and among the 2015 graduates, 83 percent are planning to attend college in the future, of them 70 percent enroll for this fall. The number of Burmese high school graduates increased from 114 in 2014 to 158 in 2015.

“We are pleased to see the continued rising number of students who are planning to attend college,” said Lian Ceu, director of the Institute’s Upward College Program. The number of Burmese students remaining in college during three academic years between 2012-2014 was 90 percent.

Other study areas included community reproductive health, equal employment opportunities among the Burmese population, and culture and community integration between the incoming and receiving communities.

“As much as we are delighted by the level of positive impacts that our services and advocacy continue to bring upon our shared community, we are committed to working with our partners towards achieving our common goals of building a strong and integrated community in Indiana and in the U.S.,” said Dr. Ro Dinga, Chairman of BACI.

The Burmese American Community Institute is a non-profit organization founded in 2011 that provides educational and vocational support to the Burmese community in greater Indianapolis. The BACI supports community members regionally, nationally, and globally through strategic partnerships and advocacy.

Contact: Burmese American Community Institute.


Researchers at the Burmese American Community Institute Summer Scholars Program 2015

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