India tops Asia in sending scientists, engineers to US

India continued its trend of being the top country of birth from Asia for immigrant scientists and engineers in US, with 950,000 out of the continent's total 2.96 million, according to a new report.

PTI| Updated: Jan 14, 2016, 16:23 PM IST

Washington: India continued its trend of being the top country of birth from Asia for immigrant scientists and engineers in US, with 950,000 out of the continent's total 2.96 million, according to a new report.

From 2003 to 2013, the number of scientists and engineers residing in the US rose from 21.6 million to 29 million.

This 10-year increase included significant growth in the number of immigrant scientists and engineers, from 3.4 million to 5.2 million, the researchers said. Of the immigrant scientists and engineers in the US in 2013, 57 per cent were born in Asia, 16 per cent were born in Europe, 6 per cent were born in Africa, 20 per cent were born in North America (excluding the US), Central America, the Caribbean, or South America, and less than 1 per cent were born in Oceania. Among Asian countries, India continued its trend of being the top country of birth for immigrant scientists and engineers, with 950,000 out of Asia's total 2.96 million.

India's 2013 figure represented an 85 per cent increase from 2003, according to the report from the US National Science Foundation's National Centre for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES).

Immigrants went from making up 16 per cent of the science and engineering workforce to 18 per cent, the report said. In 2013, 63 per cent of US immigrant scientists and engineers were naturalised citizens, while 22 per cent were permanent residents and 15 per cent were temporary visa holders. Also since 2003, the number of scientists and engineers from the Philippines increased 53 per cent and the number from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, increased 34 per cent.

The report found that immigrant scientists and engineers were more likely to have earned post-baccalaureate degrees than their US-born counterparts. In 2013, 32 per cent of immigrant scientists reported their highest degree was a master's (compared to 29 per cent of US-born counterparts) and 9 per cent reported it was a doctorate (compared to 4 per cent of US-born counterparts).

The most common fields of study for immigrant scientist and engineers in 2013 were engineering, computer and mathematical sciences and social and related sciences. Over 80 per cent of immigrant scientists and engineers were employed in 2013, the same percentage as their US-born counterparts.

Among the immigrants in the science and engineering workforce, the largest share (18 per cent) worked in computer and mathematical sciences, while the second-largest share (8 per cent) worked in engineering.

Three occupations - life scientist, computer and mathematics scientist and social and related scientist - saw substantial immigrant employment growth from 2003 to 2013.