Growth in Indian-American Population Spurs Popularity of Cricket in United States

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Baseball has long been considered America’s pastime. But another team sport played with a bat and ball is appearing in increasing evidence on playing fields in the United States. Cricket is an older, more universally popular sport, and its growth in the United States can be attributed in large part to the larger numbers of South Asians who have immigrated to this country.

Cricket can be traced back to 16th century England, where the first reference to the game was made in a 1598 court case, which spoke of a “creckett” match played in Guildford, Surrey in 1550. The first recorded match took place in Kent in 1646. As the game evolved into a competition of two 11-player, bat-and-ball teams arrayed against each other on a field, attempting to score runs through a series of innings, the sport’s popularity spread to many of England’s colonies, including Australia, New Zealand, the West Indies, South Africa and India.

As Indian immigration to the United States has grown — there are now about 2.81 million Americans of Indian ancestry — cricket clubs in the United States have proliferated. On a geographic basis, major cricket clubs are found throughout the country, but year-round competition is clustered in Florida, Texas and California due to the warmer weather found in those states.

Cricket is played by women as well as men, and there are now 12 women’s cricket clubs alone in the United States.

Cricket is also played at colleges and universities in the United States. In those venues, the ethnic diversity of the game’s players is on full display. And because students from cricket-passionate countries are in strong evidence on American campuses — Indians, for example, are now the second-largest foreign student group in the United States — there is an ample supply of collegiate participants and fans for the sport.

The large number of Indians studying at American colleges and universities translates into a highly educated community — 40 percent of Indians in the United States have a master’s degree, doctorate or other professional degree, five times the national average. That fact, in turn, contributes to the U.S. Census Bureau’s finding that Indian Americans have the highest household income of all ethnic groups in the United States.

The wealthier the household income, the more disposable income a family has to spend on leisure activities, including sporting events. And with Indian-American household income leading the nation, the exclamation “play ball” could someday be heard on playing fields devoted to cricket as often as those to baseball.

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Allure of U.S. Real Estate Attracts Indian Buyers

By | Immigration Policy, News & Press | No Comments

The acquisition of gold, and especially gold jewelry, has traditionally been the favored means by which Indians invest their discretionary income. But recent statistics demonstrate that for Indian citizens with the resources to do so, the purchase of American real estate has become the new golden opportunity for investment and savings.

Gold has long been the safe haven of choice for Indians looking for a place to park their cash and a way to avoid the uncertainties that swings in the stock market or currency fluctuations have presented. In recent years, investment in the United States, particularly in real estate, has appealed to foreign buyers looking for a similarly conservative, yet profitable, option. And as the bottom dropped out of many real estate markets in the United States during the recent recession, current purchase prices are very appealing.

A more price-compelling U.S. real estate market has been reflected in the number of foreign buyers, Indians included, who have closed escrow for property in this country. A National Association of Realtors survey estimated that from April 2013 to March of this year, total sales to buyers from abroad stood at $92.2 billion, which represents a 35 percent increase over the previous year. As a result, foreign buyers now constitute 7 percent of all existing-home sales.

Among existing-home sales closed by foreign buyers, China accounted for the largest share of international buyers at 24 percent, followed by Canada at 15 percent, with India and the United Kingdom tied for third with a 6 percent share of the total each. Indian buyers spent $5.8 billion in the U.S. real estate market over the last measured year, up from $3.9 billion over the 12-month period before it.

The figures cited do not distinguish between immigrant buyers and international buyers of U.S. real estate who retain their foreign domiciles. While many international buyers invest in U.S. real estate due to political instability or a restrictive business environment in their home countries, Indian buyers more frequently invest with a longer-term or more practical perspective in mind.

Middle-aged Indians with children current comprise the largest demographic looking to purchase property in this country. Indian families most often invest in residential housing, either multi-unit buildings or single-family dwellings.

With the significant number of students from India who are studying stateside, the investment scenario becomes all the more compelling: families secure living quarters for their children while they are at college or, subsequent to graduation, working in America, and thereafter, either rent out the unit or retain it as a residence if the family chooses to immigrate to the United States.

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